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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 8: General conclusion

Using Foreign Aid to Delegate Global Security

Jean-Paul Azam and Véronique Thelen

Extract

We conclude with some confidence that foreign aid is the key policy tool for delegating the maintenance of global security to recipient governments. This confidence has been strengthened in this book by estimating and testing this hypothesis using different econometric methods over 25 years of observations for 124 countries. Moreover, this policy tool works pretty quickly, with a tangible impact within less than a year, so that elected politicians have no reason to shy away from using it on the ground that it would be effective only in the long run. We have duly controlled for endogeneity, thus taking into account that the donors are already actively using foreign aid as a tool in the fight against terrorism at the source. In a sense, then, our results are mainly uncovering some information about the actual counterterrorism policies already in use. This is a contribution to the democratic debate, as this aspect of foreign aid was not well known at all in the Western countries at the time of writing. However, Chapter 7 has shown that there is a public good dimension in the successful implementation of this anti-terrorism strategy that might deter some governments from making as much effort as possible in the fight against terrorism at the source. Uneven success against terrorism in different countries might in fact inflict some costs on the most successful ones, as imported attacks might come from less successful ones to fill part of the vacuum so created. Hence, our results call for enhanced...

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