Foreign Policy Blogs

It's the economy, stupid.

According to the Senlis Council's latest report on Iraq entitled, “Angry Hearts and Angry Minds“, the international community's mark on Iraq should move away from military means and towards more humanitarian and economic efforts. “Just as we have seen the use of a military surge in Iraq, we need also to see a job surge and a democracy surge to meet the legitimate grievances of the population,” Paul Burton, the council's director of policy analysis, said. “Current attempts at bringing democracy to Iraq have taken too much of a 'top down’ approach.”

So basically, the Senlis Council (in the entirety of the report) is saying that the jobless and poverty stricken population of Iraq needs the international community's help in creating jobs, because they will be driven into the arms of extremists otherwise. There have been many arguments for subsidizing the Iraqi economy. But honestly, the argument could be made for any country where the threat of terrorism resides. You could make this argument for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The jobless, illiterate masses of rural Pakistan are a massive potential terrorists threat. Senlis Council's findings and suggestions are legitimate (especially their emphasis on finding non-military means to ameliorate the conflict), however, I’m not sure how groundbreaking they are.