Regular readers will know that it’s a pet hate of mine that the Very Serious Persons of the international relations expert clique are perfectly willing to countenance vast sums of money for military interventions in pursuit of neoliberal Right To Protect (R2P) adventures but won’t speak up at all for civil aid to prevent far more deaths. The $2 billion the US spent on military intervention in Libya or a military intervention in Syria which would come at a cost of around $40 billion are even at best wasted opportunity costs compared with what could be done to save lives for far less in dollar terms.
WASHINGTON – April 23 – A huge gap in funding for aid projects aimed at preventing the deepening food crisis in the Sahel is threatening to leave millions of people hungry in the coming months, a coalition of aid agencies has warned today.
Action Against Hunger, Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision are aiming to provide emergency assistance to nearly 6 million people across the region but say they have so far been able to secure funding for less than a third of this essential work. Nearly US$250 million is needed by all four agencies, but only $52 million has been raised so far.
Unfortunately, reaching for the military hammer has become the default setting of U.S. foreign policy, despite the costs per saved life, even in the best of cases, being 10 or 100 times higher than less glamorous development aid to provide safe water, mitigate famines or prevent the millions of deaths to diseases like malaria. To put these aid agencies’ $200 million financial shortfall in depressing perspective: that’s the cost of only 100 troops in Afghanistan for a year, just three and a half hours of FY2012 US military spending, or the cost to EA Inc. of developing the “Star Wars: The Old Republic” game.