This is how the foreign policy establishment reinforces itself, and keeps applying the same failed policies over and over again: it’s lucrative to do so, the mainstream media never offers a challenge, so what’s the downside? “If you build a bridge, insurgents blow it up so the government won’t be successful. Cash subsidies to poor farmers work better.” In line with that analysis, we have been pouring billions of billions of dollars into Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention Pakistan) for years, and what do we have to show for it? The world is more on fire than ever.
This $100 million venture is foredoomed to failure, because the assembled academics will never dare examine the motives and goals of the jihad terrorists: that would lead them straight into Islam, and they will not go there. If The Thomas L. Pearson and The Pearson Family Members Foundation really wants to understand global conflicts, they can fork over $12.26 for a copy of my book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to ISIS, and use the remaining $99,999,987.74 to do some real good in this world.
“U. of C. gets $100 million donation to study global conflict,” by Dahleen Glanton, Chicago Tribune, September 30, 2015 (thanks to Mike):
The University of Chicago has received a $100 million gift to open a first-of-its-kind global institute using data-based research to address violent conflicts in countries that have become breeding grounds for terrorist groups, officials announced Wednesday.
The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts will be part of the university’s Harris School of Public Policy and will include the Pearson Global Forum, an annual gathering of international policymakers who will exchange ideas and work on solutions.
The institute, slated to open in fall 2016, will be funded through a $100 million gift from The Thomas L. Pearson and The Pearson Family Members Foundation, a Delaware nonprofit that focuses on global issues. It is tied for the second-largest donation in university history, officials said.
“The study of global conflicts is a field ripe for groundbreaking research approaches, and the Pearson Institute will seek to inform more effective policy solutions for resolving violent conflicts to make a lasting impact around the world,” U. of C. President Robert Zimmer said in a statement….
“The university is making an investment in what arguably is the greatest foreign policy challenge of our time,” said Daniel Diermeier, dean of the university’s Harris School of Public Policy. “Our ambition is that these types of policy discussions and research, and the education that goes with it, take place in Chicago.”
The new institute comes as the U.S. and Europe are dealing with increasing threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has wreaked havoc in the Middle East while threatening international security. The U.S. is also trying to curb drug cartel operations in Mexico.
Organizers anticipate the institute and forum will be useful in developing strategies that can prevent or resolve conflicts such as those in Syria and Iraq, where war and political turmoil have contributed to the largest displacement of people since World War II.
Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on U.S. foreign policy, said such an institute can serve as a much-needed “halfway house” between pure academics and the State Department.
“There is no shortage of conflicts for this institute to focus on,” said Haass, who has been recognized for his efforts to promote international peace and conflict resolution. “There is a much greater need for people to think creatively about the problems caused by weak states. We need fresh thinking about what to do about a whole different category of class of conflicts that are taking place within countries rather than between them.”
The conflicts occurring today are different from those 30 to 40 years ago that were part of the Cold War, according to Diermeier. The initiatives put in place to address previous conflicts don’t apply to groups such as Islamic State or al-Qaida, he said.
“The Cuban missile crisis and the Vietnam War were between superpowers or along ideological lines. The boundaries were clear,” Diermeier said. “Now the conflicts typically involve a substate. They involve a breakdown of political order. And sometimes there are power struggles within these groups. It’s the type of conflict that does not fall into the categories we are used to.”
The institute, officials said, will use data-driven, quantitative research to develop strategies that not only have a military component but also include economic development and diplomatic strategies, Diermeier said.
The main goal of the institute, university officials said, will be to bring together international policymakers and academics to look at proven approaches and policies that can be used to prevent and resolve violent conflicts.
“The University of Chicago is well known for its rigorous data-driven approach in many areas,” Diermeier said. “What we are doing here is taking this approach, which has been successful in economic policy, education, energy and other policy areas, to an area where it has not been applied before — violent conflict.”
That reputation was what drew the foundation to the U. of C.
“Our choice of the University of Chicago for this gift underscores our recognition of the university’s history of fostering an environment where rigorous inquiry is successfully applied to society’s toughest problems,” foundation Chairman Thomas Pearson said in a statement.
Although there are a handful of scholars at other institutions who have worked on such a process, the U. of C. will have the first institute to focus solely on using a data-driven approach to addressing global violent conflicts, officials said.
“Most universities have long ago stopped doing policy-relevant work,” Haass said. “Most of what goes on in universities is pretty irrelevant to the real world. The fact that this is based at a public policy school like Harris means it may be quite different than what goes on in modern academia.”
The institute will use contemporary social science and economics to better understand how terrorist groups work, Diermeier said. Often, such data will show the best strategy is not what might seem obvious, he said.
For example, he said, most people assume terrorists are desperate people who have nothing else, and out of that desperation join terrorist groups. But data show that terrorists are on average more educated than the rest of the population. Often, as in the case of the Sept. 11 terrorists, they have advanced degrees.
“To have the most impact, (terrorist groups) take their most highly trained operatives and put them on the most difficult mission, those that create the most damage,” Diermeier said. “If you have a policy solution that’s about increasing educational opportunities, that sounds like a good idea. But unless you also create economic opportunity at the same time, all you do is create highly educated young men who are recruited to be terrorists. It’s better to invest in economic opportunities rather than educational opportunities alone.”
Data also show that investing in infrastructure in war-torn countries such as Iraq isn’t always the best strategy either. Often, local groups opposed to the government will increase violence to discredit the government.
“If you build a bridge, insurgents blow it up so the government won’t be successful,” Diermeier said. “Cash subsidies to poor farmers work better.”…
Yes, much, much better. Just look at our wonderful successes in Afghanistan.