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The Effects of War and Peace on Foreign Aid in Nicaragua (Essay Sample)

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Assignment 1: The Effects of War and Peace on Foreign Aid
Due Week 4 and worth 200 points
Use the Internet to research one (1) developing nation of your choice. Your research should include an examination of the effects that war and peace have on the distribution of foreign aid, as well as the material covered by the Webtext and lectures in Weeks 1 through 3.
Write a three to four (3-4) page research paper in which you:
Assess the positive and negative effects that peace and war, respectively, have on the distribution of foreign aid in the developing country that you have selected. Support your response with concrete examples of each of the results that you have cited.
Analyze the specific actions that the leadership of the selected country has taken, through the use of its foreign aid from donor nations and international lending institutions, to relieve the severe problems caused by warfare.
Discuss whether or not the extension of foreign aid has successfully reduced poverty and the incidence of warfare in the selected country. Support your response with examples.
Use at least five (5) quality academic resources in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia, blogs, and other nonacademic websites do not qualify as academic resources. Approval of resources is at the instructor's discretion. Resources must also be within the last seven (7) years.
Key Concepts
Most of the world’s modern conflicts are civil wars, or “intrastate conflicts.”
The greatest risk of civil conflict is slow or stagnant economic growth.
In a civil war countries lose “twice over”: once because the country’s resources are diverted from positive ends (such as road building or health care spending), and again because they are diverted toward violence.
Poor countries with abundant natural resources often suffer from a higher risk of civil war because the potential for riches makes fighting more attractive to would-be rebels.
Though a quick glimpse at the news strongly suggests otherwise, the world today may actually be more peaceful than it’s been in a long time. As of 2013 there are 33 ongoing armed conflicts in the world; at the end of the Cold War, just a few decades earlier, there were over 50 conflicts raging across the globe. And, according to Uppsala University’s Conflict Data Program (UCDP), one of the world's most reliable war-tracking organizations, “Conflicts claiming more than 1,000 lives…have declined by more than 50 percent, from 15 in the early 1990s to seven in 2013.”1
Warfare itself has also changed. Most of the world’s current conflicts are no longer between different countries, but within them. 24 of the 33 modern conflicts are considered “intrastate conflicts," a term for “political violence that takes place between armed groups representing the state, and one or more non-state groups.”2 In short, they are civil wars. The nationalistic, alliance-driven warfare that defined the 20th-century has largely given way to internal battles.
Most of the current fighting is taking place in the developing world. As the main reading in this chapter, “Breaking the Conflict Trap,” explains, this is because “the key root cause of conflict is the failure of economic development.” It follows, then, that the world’s poorest countries have a higher risk of conflict than wealthier ones. A lack of money makes it difficult to create and fund the critical institutions that keep violence in check such as a functioning army and police force, criminal justice system, and a durable political system. Also, citizens in poor countries have less to lose from upheaval, and thus are often more susceptible to recruitment by rebel groups that promise a better future, however unlikely.
There is an additional factor at play. In a cruel twist of fate, it turns out that poor countries that have abundant natural resources are actually more likely to experience conflict than poor countries that don’t. This seems counterintuitive, but it makes sense if you think it through. In developed, well-functioning countries, natural resources provide an economic boost in the form of jobs, increased tax revenue, and expanded national wealth. In nations that are poor or have weak governments, however, natural resources may be more curse than blessing. Because it’s much easier to take control of the resources, there is a much higher likelihood that aspiring rebel groups will attempt to do just that. Resources such as oil, “blood diamonds,” and even illegal drugs can be harvested relatively easily, and, of course, have a willing market to sell to around the world. When they are sold, these resources can generate money to fund violent causes like rebellions (or even just drug gangs).
Control of natural resources, then, is critical for rebel groups, because it enables them to finance their agenda (whether political, criminal, or otherwise). Even more importantly, natural resources help rebel groups recruit rebel soldiers, who are nearly always impoverished young men. For these men, rebellion offers an economic opportunity and power they have been denied in their regular lives.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a major risk factor for civil war...is civil war. In other research, Paul Collier—the lead author of “Breaking the Conflict Trap”—calculated that it takes countries emerging from civil war an average of ten years to return their economic growth to its prewar level.3 Given this correlation between economic growth (or lack thereof) and civil war risk, this is yet another reason to avoid war.
The dilemma poor countries find themselves in could be described as a catch-22: it takes money and security to build institutions and create economic growth, but a lack of economic growth and institutions make this building so difficult. Development experts call this negative, self-reinforcing cycle “the conflict trap.” Without some sort of intervention or peacemaking strategy, unstable countries lurch from disaster to disaster, worse for the wear after every fresh outbreak of hostilities.
The conflict trap is the main focus of this chapter. The works in the chapter take a look at some of the causes and consequences of war, as well as war's effect on development.
Some of the findings in "Breaking the Conflict Trap," such as the fact that civil war negatively affects a country’s economy, seem pretty obvious. Others, such as the discovery that most civil war-related deaths are due to disease—not actual fighting—are perhaps less so. Surprising or not, however, the impacts of civil war are almost always negative. It’s little wonder, then, that the report characterizes civil war as “development in reverse.”
When referencing the selected resources, please use the following format:
Webtext Format:
Name of the author. Name of title. Retrieved from website url.
Example:
Soomo. Understanding Development [Webtext]. Retrieved from http://www(dot)webtexts(dot)com/courses/9218-cathey.
Key Concepts
Development policies and practices are shaped by three main forces: governments, organizations, and individuals.
“Developing country” status has generally been determined by economic measures such as gross national income per capita; however, the definition is evolving, and some observers take multiple indicators of well-being into account to decide if a country is developed or developing.
The vast majority of the world’s poor live in the Global South.
Nearly half of the world’s population lives in poverty, as defined by living on $2.50 a day or less; within this group, around 1.2 billion live on $1.25 or less.
Outside our borders, the world seems to be in chaos. A bombing in Iraq, an earthquake in Haiti, or a famine in Ethiopia—all are familiar scenes from a depressing narrative we’ve come to know all too well. The story is so recognizable, in fact, we could be forgiven for believing there isn’t much else “over there” apart from misfortune. There are occasional bright spots—perhaps a peaceful election in Afghanistan, or the unveiling of a high-speed railway in China—but usually foreign events tempting enough to attract news attention are related to some sort of tragedy.
It’s true that many are suffering, and the alarming statistics can’t be denied. The world’s poorest citizens, a group that includes around 1.2 billion people, live on less than $1.25 a day, according to United Nations estimates.1 Another 1.8 billion people are considered “moderately poor,” meaning that they survive on between $1.25 and $2.50 a day.2 Taken together, almost one-half of humanity is impoverished.
This half lives in countries that make up the developing world. Located primarily in the regions of the world south of the United States and Europe—an area referred to as the Global South—the developing world provides much of the fodder for the depressing stories we see on the evening news. The term developing is used to differentiate these countries (sometimes called "less developed countries," or LDCs) from the “developed” world, the much smaller area of the globe where the world’s wealthiest citizens live. (It's also worth mentioning that the Global South is increasingly used as a synonym for the developing world, which itself replaced the term "Third World.")
There may be cultural and political differences between developing and developed countries, but their starkest disparity is economic. Lack of money can have profound effects on a society. For example, malnutrition—a condition that results from not eating enough food or not eating food with enough nutrients—overwhelmingly afflicts the developing world. The condition, which is estimated to be a factor in nearly half of all deaths among children under five years of age,3 is a consequence of poverty. As a 2012 Food and Agriculture Organization report explains, “It is obvious that higher levels of per capita income help to reduce the proportion of the population who suffer from insufficient food energy intake.”4 For the developing world’s most vulnerable residents, a lack of access to basic necessities such as clean water, food, and health care are a normal part of life.
Yet, there’s more to this old story. While there is deprivation, there is also adaptability, innovation, and, increasingly, problem-solving. The developing world, which includes over a hundred countries scattered over multiple continents, has enormous variety—in climate, culture, and even level of development. The literacy rates of some developing countries are nearly on par with developed countries; others have constitutions that James Madison would recognize. Facts about the developing world will often surprise you. (Here’s a quick one: after Hollywood, the world’s two biggest film industries are in India—“Bollywood”—and Nigeria—“Nollywood.”) Like so many other things, when it comes to realities in the developing world, it’s complicated.

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Content:

THE EFFECTS OF WAR AND PEACE ON FOREIGN AID IN NICARAGUA
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Introduction
The state of any society is usually a delicate balance between war and peace. War is often characterized by almost all the negative extremities, such as vicious violence, deaths, social discord as well as uncharacteristic aggression. Peace is the opposite of war; it is the absence of hostilities and harmony. From a global perspective, the presence or absence of peace or war determines the presence and distribution of foreign assistance, particularly in the developing nations. War and peace have had various impacts as to how foreign aid is distributed in Nicaragua, as is going to be discussed in this paper. Additionally, the response by the Nicaraguan government is also going to be addressed.
Foreign Aid
Foreign aid is the assistance given to a nation, from international organizations, such as the United Nations. It is usually geared towards assisting countries that have been affected by either an epidemic or conflict. Foreign aid includes all the help, from food, technical and financial assistance that these nations receive. It should, however, be noted that foreign aid is purely a voluntary and philanthropic gesture. As a result, the country being assisted is under no obligation to perform anything in return (Shah, 2014).The concept behind foreign aid is that when people have got some wealth, they are less likely to engage in conflict. The same applies to people who have got some resources at their disposal.
Nicaragua is a Central American nation that is still in the process of recovery from a bloody civil war which took place in the 80s. The war left more than 90,000 people dead and another300, 000 people displaced. The war came to an end after a peaceful compromise, which led to a change in leadership as well as an overhaul of the political system (Birdsall et.al. 2006).It is ranked as a low-income nation due to the devastating impact of the war on its economy, which totally collapsed in the 80s.
Pros and Cons of Foreign Aid
From the basic understanding of it, foreign aid is meant to assist affected populations within a country. This is a great gesture from the nations helping out. However, there is the other side of it. When the nations in need become used to the foreign aid, they become addicted. Their governments become complacent and even stop doing what they are mandated to do. As a result, such governments fail on economic reforms that would help their people to come out of their perennial pred...
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