Monday, 5 March 2012

Are U.S. taxpayers funding research which helps African dictators to stay in power?

Are U.S. taxpayers funding research that will help African dictators cling to power?

That should, of course, not be the case, but take a look at what the Strauss Center Program on Climate Change and African Political Stability (funded by the U.S. Department of Defense´s Minerva Initiative) says in its Policy Brief NO 3:

In poor, fragile states—like many of those in Africa—
climate shocks and swift-onset meteorological hazards
can pose severe threats to domestic security by
compromising a state’s monopoly of force within its
borders. In the absence of effective humanitarian relief,
the destruction of infrastructure and interruption of
services can trigger such desperation that the populace
resorts to stealing or rioting to secure necessities. These
risks to state control are compounded if citizens exploit
the absence of a security presence to loot for personal
gain. Moreover, disasters may provide focal points
around which government opponents may rally.

Extreme weather events also represent important security
concerns for external actors, with militaries frequently
deployed to provide humanitarian relief.
This diversion
of military resources represents an opportunity cost by
preventing troops and equipment from being deployed
for other purposes.

Link to the Policy Brief on this page.

With that kind of research funding, maybe it is not so surprising that the Minerva Initiative website has this to say:

Funding outlook for Minerva: While the Fiscal Year 2012 appropriations bill cut $7M of Minerva funding intended to go toward new research from the recent BAA, the Minerva program staff remains optimistic that some proposals can still be funded and continues to investigate other ways to bring in support. All funding decisions from the 2011 competition will be announced in Spring 2012.

No comments: