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Aid, investment, and job creation don't necessarily bring peace to conflict zones. In fact, aid often fuels violence. Policymakers need smarter development programs to minimize such unintended side effects.
The United States' current approach to counterinsurgency centers on protecting the population, with a special emphasis on political and economic development. But does that development-based strategy work? In a study using data on reconstruction spending and violence in Iraq, the provision of certain government services does lead to a reduction in violence.
The development of the field of terrorism studies has, in recent years, appeared to outpace the development of actual terrorism. Now may be the era of diminishing marginal returns.