Over Christmas there was a spate of adverts asking people to support various aid operations in places such as Syria, Yemen and so on. Now, Whilst the plight of the poor civilians caught up in all this is heartrending (And particularly in the case of the children who can have no real concept as to why they are suffering, and Also, for whom severe malnutrition is going to affect them for the rest of their lives in a way that adults are much better at recovering from) Nevertheless, The thought that comes to me is do humanitarian efforts that support the civilian populations in these sorts of war-zones (And in particular food aid) actually help the situation? Through all of histories, Wars tend to end for one of two reasons. a) One side clearly outclasses the other and victory is swift and decisive. b) The two sides are rather more equally matched and the issue is decided through attrition. Either military attrition or simply resource attrition such as running out of food or other materials. My concern about humanitarian aid is that it tends to inhibit scenario #b as an end to the conflict if #a is not a clear option (If #a had been an option, the conflict would never have gone on for long enough for aid to be necessary) As such, while Humanitarian aid will certainly save specific individuals, the overall effect is going to be to significantly prolong conflicts that might otherwise have been resolved far more quickly with the result that far more damage is done overall to both sides of the conflict. Both economically and in respect to their individual populations. So, Is humanitarian aid something that actually helps people in the long term? Or is it actually misplaced generosity that actually makes things worse and simply prolongs and adds to the overall misery?? What say you SC?