Public Choice Abroad

Part of Jim Henley's accounting of how he got Iraq so right is that he recognized that Hayek doesn't stop at the water's edge:

I could see the self-interest of the officials pushing for war - how war would benefit their political party, their department within the government, enhance their own status at the expense of rivals. Libertarianism made it clear how absurd the idealistic case was. Supposedly, wise, firm and just American guidance would usher Iraq into a new era of liberalism and comity. But none of that was going to work unless real American officials embedded in American political institutions were unusually selfless and astute, with a lofty and omniscient devotion to Iraqi welfare. And, you know, they weren’t going to be that.

In my view, these considerations remain a huge challenge for counterinsurgency optimists looking forward in Iraq.