Terrorism and Trade: A Reply to Professor Bhala
49 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2011 Last revised: 13 Nov 2011
Date Written: 2011
Raj Bhala argues that the Doha Round is “a failed counter-insurgency operation.” This paper examines and criticizes that claim. The first part examines the traditional “peace through trade” thesis that traces back to the Enlightenment, and discusses contemporary formulations and evaluations of that broad thesis. The second part focuses on Bhala’s related “counter-terrorism through trade” thesis. Three questions are raised: first, what exactly is Bhala claiming?, second, is Bhala’s thesis a solution in search of a problem?, and most importantly, third, does poverty cause (Islamist) terrorism? In connection with the third question, the paper surveys the current social science literature on the subject. It concludes that there is a broad consensus across disciplines that the link between poverty and terrorism is unproven and perhaps non-existent. Thus, Bhala’s defense of Doha fails. While there may be strong arguments in equity or efficiency for adopting Doha, it is a mistake to advocate it as effective counter-terrorist policy.
Keywords: international trade, terrorism, globaliization, counter-terrorism, Doha Round
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