NYT DEBATE: Can Flood Aid Weaken the Taliban in Pakistan?
Or is it more likely that extremist groups will capitalize on the chaos created by the disaster?
Laura Freschi’s answer: aid doesn’t help with the Taliban, but give anyway.
The idea that flood aid will change Pakistani perceptions about the U.S. in a lasting and meaningful way is both unproven and based on simplistic, even condescending assumptions about the beneficiaries of America’s aid.
There may well be cases in which U.S. disaster aid could be used to promote security objectives, but we don’t know enough to say that it will now in Pakistan. And if ever there was a time for U.S. aid to demonstrate that it is not always and everywhere only about U.S. strategic interests, this would be a good time. As the floods continue to endanger lives and livelihoods in Pakistan, the U.S. should give quickly, fairly and generously. Not because we want something in exchange, but because it’s the right thing to do.