Poor Kyrgyzstan

A snapshot of how well-intended but misguided development assistance has failed one of America's new Central Asian partners.

Issue: Summer 2002

During the 19th century it became increasingly clear to Western
economists (and at least some statesmen) that genuine wealth did not
come from the exploitation of colonial resources and markets, but
from increased production made possible by education, technological
innovation, specialization and trade. In time, this recognition
raised the revolutionary idea that wealthy, advanced nations had an
enlightened self-interest in helping poorer nations to thrive
materially. This idea, which in due course was assimilated into the
Wilsonian pantheon of political virtue that makes up democratic peace
theory, has taken on special significance since September 11 of last
year. Now nation-building, and the sine qua non of economic
development that is the precondition for it, are recognized almost
universally as security issues. Unfortunately, we do not do these
things well.

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