Commentary Magazine


Don’t Flood Libya with Aid

It’s no secret that once Washington identifies problems, its knee-jerk solution is simply to throw money at problems: Poverty, education, health care, etc. And it’s no secret to the American people that throwing money at problems never works.

The same is true in foreign policy. Nowhere has this been truer than in post-war reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the name of reconstruction and development, the Pentagon, State Department, and USAID flooded both Afghanistan and Iraq with money–spurring not progress, but massive corruption. Terrorism may make headlines, but corruption has a far more corrosive effect on society. Aid and assistance can actually do more harm than good.

The State Department and USAID may want to prove their relevance, but they should also do what’s right: Send the diplomats back, but keep aid to a minimum. Libya is a rich country. Let it use its own resources, not waste ours at the expense not only of our own treasury, but also of any hope Libya will have to reconstruct smoothly.

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