As Afghanistan enters its harsh winter season, a massive humanitarian disaster appears increasingly likely. Facing food shortages, rising prices, and a breakdown in public services, millions of ordinary Afghans need immediate assistance as their country veers toward economic collapse.
CGD Policy Blogs
Here’s an easy five-point plan for the leadership of a country which has emerged from civil war and dire poverty over recent decades and now wants to destroy itself.
Giving up the “Statebuilding” Ghost: Lessons from Afghanistan for Foreign Assistance in Fragile States
The end of America’s twenty-year war in Afghanistan will change many paradigms that have dominated US foreign policy for decades. President Biden’s recent assertion that military interventions are not the solution to humanitarian crises is a good place to start. Just as urgent is the need to revisit the notion that foreign assistance can build a state.
Afghanistan’s history is blighted by the actions of foreigners. The near-neighbours have plenty on their consciences; others further afield do too, including the British a century ago, the Russians in the 1980s, and the US-led NATO coalition over the last 20 years. So who wants what now?
Drawing on work done jointly with CGD, New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC) just released a paper by Marc Jacquand that makes the case for better IFI-UN coordination in fragile states to better identify macroeconomic and political vulnerabilities, anticipate the tipping points that can arise from their interaction, and structure preventive support accordingly. In this blog, we discuss some of the key issues that the CIC paper—and our joint work—raise and plot a course for future research and analysis.
MCC’s experience offers useful lessons for the State Department and other GFA implementing agencies.
Bella Bird of the World Bank, Sharmarke Farah of the government of Somalia, and Jonathan Papoulidis of World Vision join me to discuss the potential of country platforms for aid coordination—specifically the history and progress of Somalia's platform, the importance of country ownership, and how to make the best use of lessons learned.
Twenty-five years ago, travel writer and journalist Robert Kaplan wrote an article for The Atlantic, headlined “The Coming Anarchy.” It was an apocalyptic account of Kaplan’s visit to West Africa and his dark vision that much of the world would end up looking like war-torn Sierra Leone. Kaplan suggested recently that he thought “The Coming Anarchy” had stood the test of time. I disagree, and think the fact that Kaplan was wrong matters: global jeremiads are a force for isolationism. I discussed why with The Atlantic’s Matthew Peterson on a new podcast.
The world, as they say, is moving “beyond aid.” As true as that may be in aggregate, however, the trend doesn’t apply evenly across groups of countries. While fairly significant data gaps prevent a complete and unbiased picture, the available data show that ODA remains a comparatively prominent source of external financing for fragile states.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize, awarded last week to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, calls attention to sexual violence during war and civil conflicts—a horror too often unstated and wished away. There’s another largely hidden horror the world needs to reckon with: the toll that civil conflicts, some so local that they rarely make the news, takes on children.