Thursday, January 17, 2013

what works versus what looks good?

I'm a strong supporter of a large and diverse foreign aid program, both military and economic , but I hope somebody has good answers to the questions Walter Pincus raises about our apparently failed counter terrorism programs in Mali. He lists a series of efforts over the past decade to prevent what is now occurring in that troubled land. The titles of the programs sound good  --"Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership," "Pan Sahel Initiative", each with its own acronym -- and the purposes behind them were important. Money was spent and programs run -- but with what results? A military coup, triggering a cutoff of aid, and an ever more powerful insurgency.

U.S. officials need more follow through, more attention to how good sounding proposals actually work in the field, and greater willingness to change course when the promised results aren't achieved.

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