Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs

 

Squeezing Iran into Submission: Why It Ain’t Gonna Happen That Way

Having studied more than 200 episodes of economic sanctions in the 20th Century, people often ask me to identify the greatest sanctions success story that my colleagues and I uncovered. My answer is usually along the lines of, hmmm, well, I can think of lots of spectacular sanctions failures—for example the 50-year long embargo against Castro’s Cuba. But there are no equally spectacular successes. There were times when sanctions were decisive in achieving foreign policy goals, but most often it was when those goals were relatively modest. 

Let’s Not Help the Philippines Like We Helped Haiti

The immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, such as that the typhoon which devastated part of the Phillipines on Friday, can bring out the best of the global community. There will come a time to discuss how we can do more to prevent the environmental changes which make such events more likely; but the immediate priority is to get water, food and shelter to people who urgently need it. 

Aid to Pakistan by the Numbers

Tomorrow (September 10th), my colleague Nancy Birdsall and I will attend an event about “Pakistan Elections and Regional Stability: How Foreign Assistance Can Help”.  There are two keynote speakers and Nancy will be speaking on the panel, which should generate a great discussion about Pakistan’s recent civilian election, US interests in the country, and the significant flows of foreign assistance the US government has authorized for economic and military assistance.    We hope it sparks renewed interest in formalizing a strategic dialogue on development, a focused discussion about how the United States and Pakistan can best work together to address Pakistan’s daunting development challenges.

Aid to Egypt by the Numbers

Since the overthrow of Egypt’s democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi earlier this month, US government officials have made painstaking efforts to avoid calling the ouster a military coup d’état.  Why the semantic sensitivity?  Because according to the FY2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act (PL 112-74), all US foreign assistance to the Egyptian government must be terminated if the military’s actions did, in fact, constitute a coup.

Cutting Development Assistance after a Coup May Be Bad Response

Cutting development assistance to a country after some negative political shock is undoubtedly a well-intentioned effort by donors to incentivize better political institutions. Aid donors do not want to be seen to support coups, which would come with reputational and political risks at home. Instead, the argument is made that donors should offer a carrot and a stick to developing countries to encourage better institutions.

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