The March/April edition of Foreign Policy is the "The War Issue" where most of the articles are on, erm, war.
What is striking is that there is no reference to international development in any of the pieces (note to Susan Glasser).
The most interesting article was about Patrick Ball "a statistician who has spent his life lifting the fog of war". Accurate data are one of the big casualties of war, we know. But this article is interesting because Ball argues that, yes, we need true data and accurate numbers, but we also need representative numbers--whether the data accurately reflect events--and we focus too much on the former and not the latter. We need to know more about what we don't know. We need to link more what happens in a database with what happens in the real world.
We got a glimpse last week of what happens in the real world of war and conflict through ICAI's report on DFID's work in Afghanistan (pdf). DFID overall gets an Amber/Red ("the programme meets some of the criteria for effectiveness and value for money but is not performing well. Significant improvements should be made"). Most of the report focuses on leakage (a fuzzy word which can cover inaccurate targeting of resources, inefficient distribution, diversion into other activities, legal or otherwise). It is very good that the report is hard hitting, but it would have been good to have the impact discussion go beyond leakage.
My colleagues Jeremy Allouche and Jeremy Lind are leading some work on how do and should development and security combine in contexts that are fragile, conflictual and violent. A couple of weeks ago they organised a workshop on this subject. I prepared the table here to help me situate my thinking in this area. I share it with you not because I think it is so wonderful, but because it struck me that most of us probably operate in-or think in--only one of the cells in the table--the very upper right cell--non fragile contexts and developmental states.
Of course much of the real world is in the other cells.