March/April 2010

Cato Scholars Tour for Peace, Nonintervention

Sensible policies toward Iran, North Korea, and the war on drugs

Promoting peace both at home and abroad has long been a goal of the Cato Institute, and two recent speaking tours, made possible by grants from the Ploughshares Fund and the Open Society Institute, have provided an opportunity for Cato scholars to spread this important message in person.

The first tour, sponsored by Ploughshares, featured Christopher A. Preble, director of foreign policy studies; Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies; senior fellow Doug Bandow; and associate director of foreign policy studies Justin Logan, discussing the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. The talks ranged from Cato Policy Forums and Hill Briefings to presentations at the World Affairs Council of Oregon, the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, and Texas A&M University, to name just a few of the venues. Their goal was to draw out the lessons of Iraq as they apply to Iran and North Korea. With that war as a model, Preble said that the costs of a conflict with the latter two countries would “likely be enormous.” Carpenter, in a speech in Colorado, criticized the isolation strategy being engaged in with Iran and North Korea, saying that it would create incentives for those countries to sell their nuclear technology to the highest bidder.

Carpenter and Bandow were joined on the second tour, sponsored by the Open Society Institute, by Ian Vásquez, director of the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, and Juan Carlos Hidalgo, project coordinator for Latin America. They spoke about the tragic human cost of the international war on drugs. At a speech at the World Affairs Council in Indianapolis in October, Vásquez discussed the benefits of drug legalization with close to 100 participants, including professors and students from local colleges. Vásquez and Carpenter spoke together at a Cato Institute Capitol Hill Briefing in May, and Hidalgo gave three lectures in Michigan, including one to an audience of more than 200 people at the Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College.