Increasing the Extortionist’s Appetite

Ever since U.S. forces tracked down and killed Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, where he had been hiding almost in plain sight for several years, relations with Pakistan have been, one might say, awkward.

The latest indication of a chill in the relationship is that the United States has suspended $800 million in military aid. That’s a large sum, but it’s less than half of a total of $2 billion of military assistance the United States provides to Pakistan per year.

Peter Drucker often emphasized the importance of staying nimble in response to the subtleties and complexities of a changing world. When it came to the topic of military aid, however, Drucker was uncharacteristically categorical. Military aid, he believed, has been a waste of money since the days of Ancient Greece.

Image source: Pink Sherbert Photography

[EXPAND More] “If one were to rank the policies of the Megastate in order of futility, military aid would surely be at the top of the things that have never worked, and therefore first on the list of things to abandon,” Drucker wrote in Post-Capitalist Society.  “To support a country that is under attack by a powerful enemy is one thing. To give military aid to ‘friendly’ regimes is quite another. This is extortion money, and it only increases the extortionist’s appetite.”

This wasn’t just a matter of principle. It was a matter of bad results. “Military aid does not create reliable allies,” Drucker warned. “In all probability the aid recipients will turn against the aid giver—as Iran and Iraq turned against the United States and as Afghanistan turned against the Soviet Union.”

The giver isn’t the only one who suffers in such an arrangement, either. “Military aid forces the recipient to misdirect its vision, its resources, its energies toward military ends, and to neglect everything else,” Drucker said. “Again and again, it has created military dictators. And far too many of them then became international terrorists.”

But wouldn’t it be bad for a lot of people if the United States ceased to give its allies military aid?  Answered Drucker: “The only people likely to be hurt if military aid is abandoned are the defense contractors.”

What do you think? Is military aid always a misuse of money?  [/EXPAND]