Magazine article Foreign Policy

Dangerous Aid

Magazine article Foreign Policy

Dangerous Aid

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

SINCE 2001, THE U.S. Congress has allocated more than $20 billion in aid and reimbursements to Pakistan in the name of fighting global terrorism. And yet, when asked not long ago to rate Pakistan's counterterrorism cooperation on a scale of 1 to 10, CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell gave it a 3. Until recently, the head of al Qaeda was living just a stone's throw from a Pakistani military installation, and elements of the country's security apparatus are widely suspected of aiding militant groups. So why doesn't the money produce results? And, more importantly, is it time to begin cutting off Pakistan, as Sen. Carl Levin and others have advocated?

Maybe so. Navin Bapat, a professor of international relations at the University of North Carolina, has used game theory to create models of state behavior that suggest counterterrorism aid acts as a perverse incentive. By his logic, a government receiving aid to fight terrorist groups is less likely ever to win that fight because the funds would dry up without terrorist groups. …

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