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Laura in NYT debate on Can Aid Buy Taliban’s Love?

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.

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One Comment

  1. Adam wrote:

    The United States should donate because it’s the right thing to do.

    Even from a realpolitik perspective however, it’s surprising that this hasn’t come up as an opportunity to develop some pro-American sentiment, which might reduce support for insurgents temporarily. Given the 2011 Afghanistan pull-out, I should think that a “spike” would be more than enough for this administration.

    Posted August 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
  • About Aid Watch

    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

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