Sharpening Our Plowshares: Applying the Lessons of Counterinsurgency to Development and Humanitarian Aid

38 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2010 Last revised: 6 Sep 2010

See all articles by Solomon Major

Solomon Major

Government of the United States of America - U.S. Naval War College

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Since the 1980s, encouraging social, political and economic development and facilitating humanitarian relief have become high-priority goals for intergovernmental development agencies and American policymakers alike. This focus on developmental and humanitarian aid has only accelerated since the end of the Cold War. Wealthy nation states have been particularly active in increasing their participation in the aid industry - although they have often and increasingly operated by contracting out to aid specialist groups. For example, in keeping with America’s renewed focus on “smart power,” Secretary of State Clinton has recently argued that the US must now “elevate development as a core pillar of American power.

Humanitarian relief and successful development is not the sole preserve of the international organizations and American foreign policy organizations however. National militaries, particularly America’s, have become increasingly directly engaged in development and “engagement” and, particularly, humanitarian assistance. Further, the non-governmental sector, which has long been engaged on these issues, has seen its profile - and budgets - greatly expanded in the last several years, concomitant with a greater emphasis on humanitarian over development aid. Although less concerned with the ties that bind development and (American) defense, development, humanitarian and humanrights advocacy NGOs, unsurprisingly, hold concerns much in common with those articulated by official aid-givers. For example, World Vision, the largest American humanitarian NGO, claims that it is “dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice... working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.”

Suggested Citation

Major, Solomon, Sharpening Our Plowshares: Applying the Lessons of Counterinsurgency to Development and Humanitarian Aid (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1657482

Solomon Major (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - U.S. Naval War College ( email )

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