Direct Action in the Sahel Region of Africa: Military Aid

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In 1992, the United States created an army of 30,000 troops to conduct humanitarian tasks. The mission was an overall failure, and instead of promoting peace, it began to spark war (Ploch 1). This failure brings up the controversial nature of what policy needs to be prioritized first. Two main policies that the United States implements are military aid and development assistance. The instability in the Sahel region of Africa demand military aid to be drafted before development assistance.
What is military aid and development assistance? A common misconception is that military aid will fail to serve all the interests of the citizens in the region. However, military aid comes in a variety of forms. Some of these include foreign military financing, counter-terrorism, and peacekeeping operations. Foreign military financing is a process where one country gives another resources in order to build an arsenal. This also builds the economy of the country providing supplies (West 3). Counter-terrorism is the only direct offensive strategy in military aid. This includes things like special forces raids or drone strikes. However, there are indirect ways to perform counter-terrorism, such as sharing intelligence or providing surveillance (4). Peacekeeping operations, or PKOs, provide troops and firepower from the donor country. The resulting missions are meant to protect citizens or prevent conflict, and they tend to be defensive (3). Development assistance can be defined as aid given to strengthen the economic and health care development of a certain country (5). Unfortunately, these policies do not always prove effective.
Approximately 19 million people are suffering from the famine in the Sahel (“The Sahel: Hungry” 1). Development agen...

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...rnment diverted nearly half the food sent to the starving citizens to itself and leaders in 2010 (“Should Development” 2). Military aid creates solutions to this level of corruption. Another form of military aid is officer education and training. The United States can train officials to respect citizens and human rights. This program can lead to an effective military in both combat and morals. In order for these governments to stabilize, military aid must be prioritized first (West 12).
All in all, in order for the countries in the Sahel to thrive in the future, military aid must be prioritized over development assistance. When considering that the development can be used elsewhere, the security needs to be a top priority, and the corruption of the governments in the region, clearly military aid is the only laudable option. Acting indirectly will accomplish nothing.

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