Day By Day

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Roots of Violence

Over at the Middle East Forum Steven Slotsky has an interesting piece in which he argues that Western aid is to some extent responsible for the persistence of Palestinian violence.
In the midst of the effort... to bestow unprecedented sums of foreign aid on the Palestinians, there was little discussion of the unintended consequences — often deadly ones — of previous aid regimens. The recent history of foreign assistance shows a distinct correlation between aid and violence. Perhaps aid itself does not cause violence, but there is strong evidence that it contributes to a culture of corruption, government malfeasance, and terrorism that has had lethal consequences for both Israelis and Palestinians over the past decade.
Read the whole thing here.

This is the second time I have run across this argument recently. It is interesting because it turns the conventional wisdom in the IA community on its head. As long as I can remember international affairs "experts" have assured us that violence and revolutionary agitation are a direct consequence of economic deprivation and frustrated material aspirations. The proper response to violence, they argue, is to meliorate economic disparities by channeling money to the protesters. What Slotsky is arguing is not just that Danegeld is ineffective in diminishing violence, but that it might well be a primary cause of that violence.