What if we dropped money not bombs on the Middle East? How would that change the political dynamics in the region? How would that effect the war on terror?
Okay, I’m not literally suggesting we drop cash out of airplanes, although that might not be a bad idea. And would certainly be better than more bombs. But I am suggesting we give free money to the populations of the most war torn part of the world. Frankly it is the least we could do at this point.
But let’s back up a moment and approach this from another angle. What is our endgame in our current foreign policy? What is the end game of our current war on terror?
Ever notice that terrorist and extremist organizations only come into existence and thrive in places of extreme poverty. It’s kind of like the motto of biology: the germ is nothing the environment is everything. But we might instead say: The terrorist meme is nothing the environment is everything. Or we might say that terrorism is a rational and expected response, given basic human psychology.
People from developed countries don’t just decided to throw away their prospects in life to become a suicide bomber or join a terrorist organization. Only the most disenfranchised and the poorest of the poor do that. Or some educated persons on behalf of the poorest of the poor. The obvious answer to terrorism is not violence but stable social, political, and economic institutions in which all persons have a decent opportunity for success in life.
The Middle East is currently one gigantic swath of terrible violence and political and economic instability. I won’t bore you with the details because you probably are familiar with them.
Brief history lesson: The United States has been interfering and manipulating Middle East politics for the last 50 years or so to try and rig the region in such a way that it best benefits the United States without any concern for the people of the Middle East.
Current News Update: U.S. Middle East foreign policy a disastrous failure. (Big surprise given brief history lesson listed above.)
So, how do we change course on our foreign policy. We should probably start by actually giving a damn about the people there. So, we stop just thinking about how we can get oil as inexpensively as possible (Christ, we need to stop burning that goddamn stuff anyways.) and start thinking about how to help the people of the region.
And this is where the whole dropping money thing comes into play. I was serious about that. Well, not about dropping it out of planes but giving it away.
The developed world needs to provide an income subsidy to the poorest in the undeveloped world. Income subsidy = cash. Money that they can spend however they want. We can probably find a more efficient way of doing this than dropping it out of a plane, but whatever works. Income subsidies do work. They actually work better than other welfare programs. Do the research.
We’re not quite ready for a global basic income. But we could start with something akin to a global income subsidy for the poorest of the poor who live on a dollar or two a day
What is our alternative? We just saw it play out in Gaza. The alternative is we become Israel to the entire world. Well, we try at least. Israel can’t even make it work in one tiny little place, so how the hell are we going to win a global “war on terror.” You can’t win a war of oppression. You can’t oppress a people forever. They will resist. If they don’t have armies to resist with they will turn to terrorism.
Ironically some people think that Israel’s actions are justified given the United States conduct. The Israeli occupation of Gaza is a reductio ad absurdum against our current foreign policies. Israel’s crimes against humanity are an indictment of the United States for crimes against humanity. Gaza should be a lesson to the U.S. We must change course.
So, what would happen if we dropped money not bombs on the Middle East? We’d win the war on terror!
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