The Corner

Iraqi Debt Forgiveness

George Will wrote a good column against the idea of having Iraq repay us for reconstruction aid out of its oil revenue. He comes out against forgiving Iraq’s debts, however, in an aside: “It would be fun to forgive the debts contracted by a regime that ruled against the interests of the Iraqi people, money owed to nations that opposed the liberation of those people who are saddled with the debt. Fun, but improvident: Chaos in international finance would result from making the validity of nations’ debts contingent on the virtues, or continuity, of nations’ regimes.”

Any of you think there is something to this argument? I tend to think that it would be a good thing if people were less inclined to lend money to regimes such as Ba’athist Iraq–and if the people who did lend them their money had a higher chance of losing it. Andrew?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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