The Spectacle Blog

Aiding Libya

By on 10.20.11 | 8:35PM

Regarding the death of Moammar Gaddafi, I don't have all that much to add to the various points I made when the rebels took Tripoli, but it's worth discussing the aid money that will be flowing to Libya. The new Libyan government's ambassador to Washington, Ali Aujali, talked about this today with Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy:

Aujali also outlined the help that Libya was seeking from the U.S. government and the American business community in the wake of Qaddafi's death. The NTC wants U.S. assistance in training its military, protecting its borders, and setting up the foundations of the new government and civil society. He invited American companies to participate in the reconstruction of Libya...

He specifically called for U.S. medical aid for injured Libyan fighters, a proposal that senators such as John McCain (R-AZ) have also supported. Medical assistance was part of the $11 million aid package that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on her visit to Tripoli earlier this week.

This is probably a good time to remember that, relatively speaking, the United States is not that good at foreign aid. US aid programs generally perform below average in effectiveness and efficiency, according to a joint study by the Center for Global Development and the Brookings Institution noted in this space last year (in another post based on a Josh Rogin report -- I cite him pretty often, because he does really good work).

Like Secretary of State Clinton, President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Cameron pledged that aid would be forthcoming when they visited Tripoli last month. According to the CGD/Brookings study, France's aid programs are more effective than ours, and the UK's aid programs are more effective than France's. Given that, perhaps London ought to take the lead on administering NATO's aid to Libya; at the very least, US policymakers should take a cue from our allies in determining how our aid money is going to be spent.

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