September 2008: The Politics of NGOs and Aid Assistance

Introduction to the Month's Focal PieceAnnotation of

“The New Colonialists” by Michael A. Cohen, Maria Figueroa Küpçü, and Parag Khanna. Foreign Policy . July/August 2008.

~ The Editors

William F. FeliceSaving Lives: A First Step Toward Freedom Not Dependence
by William F. Felice

"Unfortunately, Cohen, Küpçü, and Khanna fall into this revisionist quagmire by conflating colonialism solely with dependency, ignoring the most vicious and brutal components to the over 450 years of colonial domination...somehow today it is OK to talk about empire, imperialism and colonialism as if these were almost neutral terms."

Todd LandmanNothing "Colonial" About It: Service Delivery and Accountability
by Todd Landman

"The argument in 'The New Colonialists' is highly negative, inaccurate in its use of the term 'colonial,' grossly over-simplified, and does not reflect the growing attempts to provide the kind of accountability mechanisms for which they advocate."

James PattisonCosmopolitanism and Rationalizing Tendencies
by James Pattison

"We should not let the pejorative language of colonialism lead us to forget that what matters is securing people's basic needs, and not let dependency provide us with another convenient rationalization for why we don't do anything wrong when we choose not to help those less fortunate than ourselves."

Brent J. SteeleIn with the Old, out with the New
by Brent J. Steele

"The problem with this thesis is that the authors do not seem to entertain the possibility that the nation-state is itself an (old) colonial construct, and that even the longing for the 'strong' structures of the nation-state in these at-risk areas represents, at least implicitly, a somewhat outdated way of thinking."

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