There is a lesson we can all learn about Yemen and what has happened to this little country south of Saudi Arabia. With the recent events of the Christmas bomber and Hillary Clinton’s call for Yemen to “demonstrate that it can reduce corruption… and use foreign aid effectively,” we learn how dependency both domestically and internationally can often lead to disaster.
Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Mujawar of late claimed that Yemen has “widespread unemployment, and this is the environment in which extremism flourishes.” This tiny state depends heavily on its oil exports for revenue; however, this revenue is still insufficient to stabilize its 35% unemployment rate and the 45.2% of the country under the poverty line. Prime Minister Mujawar’s answer to fixing this problem is more aid from neighboring Arab countries.
Understanding that poverty and unemployment often lead to localized extremism, foreign dependency can only lead to more disaster. If Yemen cannot feasibly sustain itself economically, any aid that ceases from neighboring countries will only plunge Yemen back into the brink of collapse it is in now. Foreign dependency means an alteration in the local economy of the Middle East. Secretary of State Clinton was correct in saying that Yemen had to mend its problems on its own, but incorrect in using foreign aid to Yemen as an ultimatum to its success. Dependency on any institution always leads to disaster because it always comes at the price of the common people.
The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs will be holding a hearing on Yemen on February 3rd to discuss “Yemen on the Brink: Implications for U.S. Policy”. If the United States is to learn anything through policy it is to keep its business to itself. Remember when we send “aid” to Afghanistan during the Cold War?Published in