The aid plague: How Washington exports failure

July 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

It’s become a snarky meme or “snappy comeback” that statists use to bash libertarians: “You want small government? Try moving to Somalia! Haw haw!”

Okay, now that we got our laffs in, let’s deal with actual reality. Using a failed state like Somalia to argue why the gargantuan centralized state is necessary (because the gargantuan centralized state — not a small and efficient one — is in fact what the statists are defending), is a dubious argumentative strategy. Especially seeing that Somalia had lots of help in its failure, from other states — most of all the corporate United State of Washington, D.C.

Speaking at the Cato Institute, Tom Palmer points out: “Foreign aid is one of the reasons why Somalia failed.” But it is only one of many countries that have been, in Palmer’s words, “deeply, seriously, grievously wounded” by U.S. “aid.”

U.S. foreign aid enriched the former dictator; helped him dispossess the nomadic goat-herding population and then ensnare them on the foreign welfare; then enabled him to conscript them for a war against Ethiopia.

In Mogadishu in the south, U.S. “technical assistance” cash is what armed the groups that later became warring gangs. Your money supplied the trucks with .50 caliber machine guns that were later turned against American troops. (No, it’s not just “Fast and Furious”; Washington does this all over the world.)

The U.S. military presence also savagely disrupted the redevelopment of civil society in the south. “They were unlucky enough to receive all of our assistance, which disrupted local institutions that were able to generate more order, more legality and more peace,” Palmer observed.

Just like wanton domestic welfarism, foreign welfarism and the threat of foreign military intervention prevents the relationships that form civil society from forming — or undoes existing relationships.

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