Open letter to Gayle Smith

Under the Obama Administration, foreign policy has been driven by national security and concern over domestic opinion polls. Humanitarian issues, democratization, development, and resolving armed conflicts get on the agenda only when the Pentagon and CIA have had their say. That is glaringly obvious in Africa and the Middle East. You more than anyone should know that a security policy that relies overwhelmingly on military and intelligence instruments and has no wider economic and political strategy is doomed to fail, and to wreak havoc in doing so.

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Can there be a Democratic Developmental Peace?

My main points are that peace needs money. More particularly, the way in which peace is financed determines the nature of that peace. Sustainable peace requires the right kind of money. I am not talking about financing peace processes—which are invariably good value for money, even if the day-to-day expenses of hosting delegates in hotels might appear to be extravagant—but rather the financing of the post-peace dispensation.

There has been much attention to how natural resources can be a curse rather than a blessing, and can drive conflict. There is less attention on how rental revenues, including natural resources along with aid and security cooperation rents, shape the prospects for peace. Nonetheless, there is a certain model for peacemaking that has become dominant in Africa, and that model has built-in assumptions about the nature of how peace will be financed.

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