Recalibrating the War on Terror by Enhancing Development Practices in the Middle East


This research paper suggests that the cart has been placed before the horse, that democratization and open markets in the Middle East are more likely the result of effective development than the catalyst for it. The war on terror has been justified by the United States as an effective means of reducing the possibility of terrorist attacks. This paper analyzes the validity of those justifications by reviewing the linkage between democracy and economic growth and that between democracy and peace.

The paper begins by hypothesizing that the war on terror and forced democratization of the Middle East are leading to increased terrorist attacks against foreign targets. The analysis suggests that effective development programs in non-democratically oriented countries, such as those in the Middle East, tend to promote democratization and that when the reverse procedure is applied through the use of force, the result is often destructive both for long-term development prospects and for peaceful relations with the intervener.

The central research question this paper intends to answer is whether U.S. efforts at forced democratization in Iraq and Afghanistan are a central cause of increased terrorist activity against foreign targets and, if so, whether a more effective strategy would be to enhance development procedures that tend to foster democratic values and facilitate long-term, sustainable democratic growth.


Economics | International Law | Law and Economics | Law and Politics | Law and Society

Date of this Version

November 2005