military aid

Reader exercise: please explain “aid fungibility” to our Secretary of State

UPDATE: OK I finally define fungibility (see end of post). It involves brothels.
 

 the United States said Friday that it planned increased aid for Pakistan’s military over the next five years.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the announcement in Washington …
In announcing the aid, Mrs. Clinton did not discuss the administration’s moves to stop financing certain elements in the Pakistani Army that have killed unarmed prisoners and civilians.
On Thursday, senior administration and Congressional officials said that the Obama administration planned to cut off funds to those units.
From today’s NYT

David Rieff takes on Hillary’s “new approach” to Global Health

In a blog post for The New Republic, author David Rieff calls Hillary Clinton’s approach to development naïve, contradictory, and muddled. His post is a response to Clinton’s speech, delivered last week at SAIS, about the administration’s six-year, $63 billion Global Health Initiative.
Rieff’s critique rests on three main arguments, all of which will be familiar to Aid Watch readers.

Wishful thinking on Pakistan

From last weekend’s New York Times:
As the Obama administration continues to add to the aid package for flood-stricken Pakistan — already the largest humanitarian response from any single country — officials acknowledge that they are seeking to use the efforts to burnish the United States’ dismal image there.…
American officials say they are trying to rekindle the same good will generated five years ago when the United States military played a major role in responding to an earthquake in Kashmir in 2005 that killed 75,000 people.

Can aid win hearts and minds?

A recent Christian Science Monitor article reported that USAID is “losing hearts and minds” in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakshan province because of failed and shoddy projects, corruption, secrecy and waste.
Given how much of the US aid budget is spent trying to make the world a safer and more secure place for Americans, you might think there would be plenty of studies testing the hypothesis that aid funds can reduce terrorism or shift hostile public opinion. In fact, there is startlingly little evidence that we know how to use aid for this purpose.

Holy Bureaucratic Gibberish, Batman!

This post is by Adam Martin, a post-doctoral fellow at DRI.
On July 1 the Department of Defense rolled out two notable new projects that will undoubtedly inaugurate a new era of peace and safety for the streets of Gotham international community. Even the world’s greatest detective could not have seen this coming.

Worst in Aid: the Grand Prize

Hillary Clinton recently declared: “We are working to elevate development and integrate it more closely with defense and diplomacy in the field…The three Ds must be mutually reinforcing.”
Clinton says that the 3D approach will elevate development to the level of diplomacy and defense. Unfortunately, it could instead lower development further to an instrument employed to achieve military or political priorities. Clinton foresaw these objections: “There is a concern that integrating development means diluting it or politicizing it – giving up our long-term development goals to achieve short-term objectives.” She said reassuringly, “[t]hat is not what we mean, nor what we will do.”

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