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Category: Foreign Policy

Simple Economic Solutions to Big Problems

Simple Economic Solutions to Big Problems

“My business, Miss Taggart?” said Midas Mulligan. “My business is blood transfusion—and I’m still doing it. My job is to feed a life-fuel into the plants that are capable of growing. But ask Dr. Hendricks whether any amount of blood will save a body that refuses to function, a rotten hulk that expects to exist without effort. My blood bank is gold. Gold is a fuel that will perform wonders, but no fuel can work where there is no motor….

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How to Get America Back on Track

How to Get America Back on Track

Introduction In my last post, I discussed the unfortunate state of affairs in the United States today. From a pre-industrial agrarian economy controlled by wealthy landowners, to an era of industrialization marked by the creation of a middle class and a period of prosperity, and ultimately a post-industrial phase where the middle is systematically being hollowed out and the extremes once again dominate the landscape, the United States finds itself at a crossroads. The country can ignore the state of…

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The Convergence: America’s Long Arc of Development

The Convergence: America’s Long Arc of Development

The following is a four-part post about the phases of the economic development of nations – pre-industrial, industrial, post-industrial – and a discussion of the current state of affairs in the United States and the world. Part I: How Countries Develop For all of their differences, countries, and even civilizations, follow a similar path in their development. The timeline and specifics vary from nation to nation, but the general formula remains constant. On a high level, poor countries become rich…

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The Ethical Obligations of Writing About Poverty and Conflict

The Ethical Obligations of Writing About Poverty and Conflict

I. A Long Way Gone The other day I finished reading “A Long Way Gone”, the autobiography of Ishmael Beah, a child soldier during the country’s civil in the 1990’s. After his village was attacked by the rebel army known as the RUF (Revolutionary United Front), Beah remained in a small town called Mattru Jong, before fleeing another attack. Eventually, he made his way across the country to a village controlled by the national army, where he becomes a drug-addicted…

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The Sad Aftermath of the Nairobi Attack

The Sad Aftermath of the Nairobi Attack

Last month, terrorists from the group al Shabaab attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, killing 67 people. In the wake of the devastating event, Kenyans rallied together in a showing of national unity often missing in this deeply divided country. Outside Kenya, the world expressed its sympathy and offered support to the country. And over the last month, under the bright spotlight of media, the government has manage to squander that good will so spectacularly that it calls into question…

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Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 2

Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 2

In the last post, I gave a brief history of the events leading up to this horrible terrorist attack. Now, I want to talk about why this is happening now. If you were to Google “Somalia” anytime in the last six months, you might be surprised to see mostly positive press about the country. The Kenyan-led invasion brought a period of stability to the country. For the first time in many years, the central government controlled most of Mogadishu. The…

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Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 1

Thoughts on the Nairobi Terrorist Attack, Pt. 1

This weekend a dozen gunmen stormed the Westgate Mall in the Westlands neighborhood of Nairobi. Armed with AK-47s and grenades, they killed 70 people and injured 150 more. As I write this, a former colleague at Bridge is in the hospital and my friend Ravi is still missing. Waiting to hear any news has been painstakingly difficult as we all pray for him. I am not a particularly spiritual man, but, for the last 36 hours, I’ve been praying for…

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The Intangible Wealth of Nations

The Intangible Wealth of Nations

A few months ago, the White House released its “New Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa,” which contains four key bullets summarizing its approach.  The first, and most important, goal is one that has been a pillar of American foreign policy for decades: “Strengthening democratic institutions.”  The State Department has tried to use a variety of carrots and sticks to make this a reality, including providing incentives for implementing democratic reforms in the form of of financial and in-kind aid.  In the…

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Dambisa Moyo: Right and Wrong About China in Africa

Dambisa Moyo: Right and Wrong About China in Africa

Dambisa Moyo recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times asserting that the surge in investment by China in Africa has been a positive development for the continent.  A lot of people take issue with Moyo’s oversimplification of highly complex problems, sweeping generalizations, and lack of analytical rigor.  I tend to agree with many of her points, as I have discussed in this blog, with the exception of a few critical assertions. First, Moyo, the development economics pugilist who…

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Why Jim Kim is Right for the World Bank

Why Jim Kim is Right for the World Bank

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am a big fan of the Barack Obama’s foreign policy positions and decisions.  Specifically, I like his deference to nuanced conditions and his emphasis on achieving the objective over claiming credit.  In my neck of the woods – specifically, Libya, Somalia, and Uganda – he understands and appreciates the nuances that made previous incursions into the region unsuccessful.  I think he understands that multilateralism and mutual respect can achieve more than the…

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