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Fighting Terrorism at Source

Using Foreign Aid to Delegate Global Security

Jean-Paul Azam and Véronique Thelen

This book offers a unique and insightful econometric evaluation of the policies used to fight transnational terrorism between 1990 and 2014 using a sample of 124 countries. It proves that foreign aid plays a crucial role by inducing recipient governments to protect the donors’ political and economic interests within their sphere of influence. In contrast, US troops on the ground are counter-productive as they increase the supply of terrorist attacks from the host countries, even though this effect has been significantly reduced by the Obama administration.
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Chapter 4: Aid and military intervention in a model of delegated protection

Using Foreign Aid to Delegate Global Security

Jean-Paul Azam and Véronique Thelen


Rich countries are keen to give foreign aid to poorer ones, and in some cases, to intervene militarily in these countries. In order to capture this fundamental fact of modern international relations, we model a foreign power that gets involved in several other countries with various types of objectives in mind. On the one hand, it may spend some resources in the recipient countries with a view to promoting directly some of its own objectives. Most rich countries nowadays are thus giving foreign aid to poorer ones, whose proclaimed objective is traditionally to enhance the recipient country’s economic development and to reduce its level of poverty. A smaller number of rich countries are also involved in military interventions in foreign countries aimed at furthering certain geo-strategic objectives. In particular, some countries might be eager to protect their access to a natural resource in this way, and oil seems to be the prime example of a commodity that seems to induce this kind of behavior. In other cases, the military interventions are aimed at abating global threats, as was the case in Afghanistan against Al-Qaeda (Corbin, 2003). Sometimes, these military interventions involve a coalition of several rich countries, under the aegis of the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), or otherwise.

However, this kind of intervention is liable to trigger a hostile response in some of the recipient countries. This has been mainly emphasized by Pape (2006) regarding military interventions in the Middle East, by the United...

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