Prediction: The Pakistan Aid Situation Will Be A Wasted Opportunity For America

My own limited academic background in foreign policy was delivered to me entirely by members of the realist school of foreign policy. According to this school of thought, states act to maximize their strategic strength rather than, say, the visions enshrined in the words of their founders, the moral good espoused in their state religions, and so on. With that education in mind, let me draw a conclusion about the Pakistan flooding:

(1.) It is unclear what gets done with foreign aid in Pakistan. Police forces, federal bureaucrats and the national intelligence services like the ISI are all generally thought to be corrupt. Very corrupt. Historically, aid is in the habit of not just disappearing but

(2.) disappearing into the hands of anonymous thieves. Because Pakistan’s federal government has for so long expressed no interest in tackling corruption seriously, it is hard to say who by name the “most corrupt” police, bureaucrats, and spymasters are. That means any realist leader seeking to assert control over Pakistan by using aid as a bribe has no reliable target for said bribe. Mid- and high-level politicians often don’t last long. Bribery in Pakistan is an uncertain game.

::Thus, what seems to be a simple cases of taking advantage of a disaster is anything but. As such, Casual Factors is on the record saying no American-funded political Pakistani Phoenixes will rise from the floods. No careers will be born or saved.

I don’t mean to ruin your afternoon, that’s just how it seems to be.

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