Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’
April 22nd, 2010 at 4:17 pm
Killing Haiti with Kindness
Posted by Print

The general rule of political economy is that issues that tug on the public’s heartstrings are the ones most likely to produce a government response mired in muddy thinking and unintended consequences (think about the rebuilding of New Orleans).

CBS News provides testimony to this maxim courtesy of a shocking report from the Caribbean: Haiti wants the food aid sent in the aftermath of its devestating earthquake to stop! Per CBS:

The public outpouring is so generous it’s interfering with the Haitian economy.

If food is free local farmers can’t sell what they grow.

Desperately poor residents who aren’t earthquake victims are moving into refugee camps for the free food and health care. But the government wants residents to be less dependent on foreign aid, not more.

The whole thing (plus video) here.

January 15th, 2010 at 3:27 pm
America’s Drift Towards Perpetual War?

In The American Conservative, Andrew Bacevich writes a thought-provoking meditation on American military outcomes since World War II.  Contra William Kristol and the neo-cons, Bacevich argues that “kinetic” (i.e. violent) power is actually much less effective than its supporters in the punditry suggest.  If anything, the career soldiers cutting their teeth in Afghanistan and Iraq on their way up the chain-of-command are likely to incorporate the limits of using force into their future strategic thinking.

Extending this thread a bit, support for Bacevich’s point may be found in this week’s disaster in Haiti.  Though the earthquake is devastating, the conditions that pre- and post-date it (lack of infrastructure and political leadership) are contributing mightily to the scale of its toll.  Like the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the earthquake brought the state and its citizens to their knees.  At some point, the pieces will be picked up, but the recent past doesn’t predict a better future for countries that produce strongmen and weak societies.