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Old 11-07-2013, 06:59 PM   #82
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 1,183
Going to take another hack at the development question. Back in the day when the Cold War raged it seemed as though America would support almost any dictator as long as he was "anti-communist." If the country had some valuable natural resources then foreign money would pour in to build infrastructure to allow the dictator to better control those resources, which he would then ensure were sold for the benefit of his western friends. And the money that flowed in to build the infrastructure flowed back out to the huge western construction companies hired to do the building. And of course there was a huge rake-off by the dictator, his extended family, and his closest friends. There would also be quite a lot of US military equipment given to the dictator so he would be better able to fight communists. Another money-making oppo for the ruling elite, and then they could use the helos, jets, guns, and small arms to stamp out any complaints by the common people (who weren't getting any benefit from all of this western largesse) by simply calling them communists. Which seemed to often be a self-fulfilling sort of thing, because really, what other political philosophy was there for them to turn to? see Jonathan Kwitny, "Endless Enemies", Congdon & Weed, 1984.

But now the USSR has fallen. The cold war is over. The west won. The situation Kwitny wrote about has fundamentally changed. But have things changed? Does the aid money now actually go toward improving the lives of the people? Or is there a new enemy to oppose all over the world, a new enemy that leads us to support corrupt dictators all over again? I'm not sure.
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