Our (the UK's) aiding of Pakistan has been much in the news lately.
A group of MPs has just told the UK government should withhold extra aid to Pakistan unless the country does more to gather taxes from its wealthier citizens. But that tax-collecting reality is just one problem with Pakistan.
The government is planning to double the amount of aid it provides to Pakistan from £267m in 2012-13 to £446m in 2014-15, making it the largest recipient of UK aid.
But what if all this aid has little to do with poverty-alleviation anyway? What if realpolitik and geopolitical concerns are really behind the whole sad show?
We mainly give aid to Pakistan because we have a long-standing and cynical "friendship" with the state. Our clever Eton-educated ambassadors and foreign experts (who have experienced about “real politics”) know that Pakistan is shit - but they tell us that it would be even shitter if the current rich Islamist elites were kicked out. That is, more extreme Islamists would take over and that would “provoke havoc in the world”.
But why not fuck both the current Islamists off and also the ones who will inevitably come next? Why not let Pakistan utterly implode?
Why should we aid corrupt military dictators who pass the money on to Islamic terrorists just to its secure a smattering of pseudo-stability and also the unreliable business deals for a few British firms?
Why fund Pakistan at all?
Why doesn’t the Pakistani state aid its own poor instead of funding terrorists all over the globe (not just in Afghanistan)? Instead of building yet more nuclear weapons? In addition, if it sorted out its own terrible tax problem it wouldn’t need aid either. That is, the rich in Pakistan pay no tax at all. Not on account of “fraud or bureaucracy” but because the Pakistani state itself does not collect it.
What’s worse is that when we aid Pakistan, we are effectively – literally! – aiding Pakistan’s funding of terrorists and its nuclear-arms programme. We are also keeping the Pakistani rich elite rich. Madness!
There is always the argument, from aid capitalists and pious leftists/liberals, that these “political concerns” are not to the matter. That is, “many Pakistanis are poor now”. They are “suffering today regardless of politics”. If “we don’t aid them now then they will suffer”. True enough, in a sense. But there is always an “emergency” in Pakistan; which means that we should aid Pakistan all the time – in perpetuity.
What if, in the long run, the short, sharp shock of our ceasing to aid Pakistani extravagance and decadence improved things for the poor in the long term? By ignoring present suffering, as it were, things may improve in the future for the poor – and in the long term. Thus a short, sharp shock may be needed in order to make the future of Pakistan better. By aiding the decadent Islamic state of Pakistan, it knows it’s onto a good thing and will continue as before. No changes. The same old self-imposed poverty-stricken Muslim state being funded and aided by the West. And thus it will continue in its state of dependence because it has no reason to change things.
Perhaps we also aid Pakistan so extensively because there are over a million people in Britain of a Pakistani heritage. Thus Pakistani aid gets votes here too! The thing is, those British Pakistani Muslims, as with Muslims worldwide, don’t give a shit about aiding all the millions of non-Muslims who are often in a far worse situation than those in Pakistan. Muslim aid charities only aid Muslims; unlike Christian Aid and most other non-Muslim charities.
Who’s for the short, sharp shock treatment being applied to Pakistan?