Foreign Aid as a tool for Foreign Policy

Last Updated: 22 Jun 2020
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Foreign aid is defined as voluntary transfer of resources from one country to another country, at times as leverage to cohorts the receiving country do what the donor country wants. But it may be given as a signal of diplomatic approval, or to strengthen a military ally, to reward a government for behavior desired by the country giving the aid, to extend the donor's cultural influence, or to gain political strength here at home as abroad. According to the USAID website, foreign aid is given through eight different types of monetary assistance.

These eight different forms of assistance are agriculture, democracy and governance, economic growth and trade, environment, education and training, global health, global partnerships, and humanitarian assistance. From 1980 to 2008, U. S. total foreign assistance has increased from 9. 69 billion to just over 49 billion in 2008. From the 49 billion spent in 2008 alone, close to 15. 5 billion was spent on military aid while the rest was divided between economic assistance in fields such as agriculture, international development, and other economic growth and trade programs.

The largest recipients of the two foreign aid subdivisions, military and economic aid, went respectively to the regions of the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. The country in the Middle East with the highest recipient of aid was Afghanistan, with close to 9 of the 49 billion dollars of aid in the 2008 year alone (USAID, 2013. ) As we can see a lot of our tax payer’s money goes abroad to countries many American cannot find on a world map, but we need to help these countries for the safety of our people, at least in the eyes of every politicians in office.

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American liberals, as described by Bob Burnett of the Huffington Post, fall between two primary types of camps that determine their views of U. S. Foreign Aid. Idealists and realist camps, focus on the need for international humanitarian aid which is similar to our own domestic welfare on a national level (Burnett, 2006. ) They tend to favor foreign aid as a means to educate and develop relationships through cooperation and financial funding. Other far left liberal groups discourage military spending while encouraging to increase social programs internationally.

They believe that poverty stricken countries in need of assistance otherwise known as “Third World” countries are indebted to other countries which lead to their current status as reported on the Green Party Platform (GPP, 2000. ) As a primary focus to foreign aid and success to developing nations is the assistance to increase food production, availability to clean drinking water, reduction of infant mortality, and improvements toward health by means of the green revolution.

Lastly, they utilize terms of humanitarian aid as to be consistent with their egalitarian values. In recent discussion to reform the current foreign aid policy, Democratic representative Howard Berman introduces a reform proposal “Global Partnership Act of 2012” to replace the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act. This policy would restore budget functions towards the USAID and develop new funding mechanisms focused on innovation, microenterprise development, and rapid humanitarian response, and reduce violence against women (Mungcal, 2012. In addition, this policy would focus on reduction of global poverty, accelerated economic growth, agricultural innovation, advancement in health, combating diseases, global education strategy, gender equality, assistance to persons that have been affected by conflict or disaster, and monitoring/investing towards sustaining upward success and control of financing through government regulations (HR, 2012. )

Thus, they create a more specific rational belief to solve foreign issues utilizing our government system to regulate. When observing the implementers of the USAID they have nearly 2,000 experienced employees (USAID, 2013. Other proposals by liberals represented by the Green Party express international solidarity maintaining peace and security through a global green deal. This particular deal will concentrate finances on universal education, food, sanitation and purified water, health care, and family services for every person on Earth. This particular proposal “Fund Global Basic Human Needs” would gain funding by retiring the military from our economy and closing all overseas military bases In addition, eliminate the CIA, NSA, and all other covert Warfare in order to reallocate funding towards aid.

Lastly, this platform would eliminate debt from poverty stricken countries thus creating emphasizing their egalitarian beliefs (GPP, 2000. ) Another foreign aid announced by President Barack Obama is the Global Health Initiative that would continue to develop from the pre-existing program by President Bush, President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief. This continued improving program will expand to other countries instead of only Africa, it would encourage prevention, care, and treatment while strengthening government partnership and invest in research internationally to maximize outcomes (UNAIDS, 2009. In addition, they seek to reduce higher statistics of disease contraction and mortality of women and children while strengthening global health partnerships. Based upon the ideological spectrum of liberal beliefs, through their core value of rationalism they exhibit faith in human reason to solve complex problems that cause poverty in third world countries. By creating regulations, education about health and finances, and encouraging progress towards mutual goals through the Global Partnership Act of 2012, liberals believe that underprivileged countries will progressively develop towards sustainability based upon human rationale.

As an egalitarian belief, liberals from the Green Party believe and promote human equality by their party platform of universal health care for every person on the planet which indicates equal treatment by means of education, health, and services. They promote internationalism by means of equal treatments towards other countries and foreign aid reform of the PEPFAR towards all countries instead of the countries within the African continent. Moreover, liberals seek change as soon as possible which led to the speedy approval of PEPFAR and Africa’s request for assistance in regards to immediate medical attention and assistance.

Therefore, the liberals utilize the government as a strong feature to decide and guide towards our faith in solving socioeconomic problems internationally while attempting to cultivate foreign governments with their ideology. Lastly, they value their belief of individual liberties and encourage the development of foreign countries so that their citizens will be treated fairly and just by their government. When approaching foreign aid as a contemporary American conservative, they utilize the term foreign policy as opposed to aid as a reference of government action rather than a community decision.

They seem to favor foreign policy by means of military and health care; however, the primary goal is to develop relationships with foreign countries to prevent conflicts. Although they discuss creating trade agreements and forming partnerships, they seem to be strategizing in terms of security and protection for America. In regards to funding, conservatives don’t seem to favor the idea of increasing tax spending towards foreign aid and seek to reform due to their subjective views on failed results.

Therefore, they view investment towards a flawed foreign policy will lead to more spending in military forces to protect America from unstable countries. Moreover, I feel that conservatives have a strong belief in nationalism and would want to share this system by encouraging other undeveloped countries to conform to our system. As a conservative perspective towards foreign aid, our government allocates tax payers funding towards the Millennium Challenge Corporation or MCC which would utilize a procedural form of selecting certain countries by means of performance while being evaluated by a board and executed by 300 employees (MCC, 2013. The criteria would be based upon whether or not they can compete with other countries in regards to Gross National Income of low or middle class sustaining, improving their quality and performance as a country, or graduating with a year If there are no signs of improvement or potential, they would not be eligible for the next year and be left to their own elements. The form of criteria emphasizes a value of elitism on the competitive national level. Basically, if a certain country is not deemed successful due to lack of intellect, strength of its citizens, or ability to overcome poverty then we decline assistance.

In another perspective, we can view our system of criteria and success based on the survival of the fittest which is a value of inequality. In addition, the goals of the MCC are to leave the responsibility of the foreign government to facilitate their own success towards growth in health and agriculture, create partnerships, and property rights (MCC 2013. ) We basically leave their government in the faith of the invisible hand to guide their success rather than micro managing their success by means of government.

Lastly we encourage property and individual right through the investment policy to reduce poverty. As discussed by James Roberts a researcher for International Trade and Economics, “MCC's selectivity and associated seal of approval creates powerful incentives for developing countries to uphold democratic and free-market principles, invest responsibly in their citizens, and transition their economies from developing to emerging markets” (Roberts, 2013. ) He encourages a core value of faith in non-human institutions by means of a free market rather than government controlled.

In addition, the MCC encourages national accountability towards developing democratic reform and trade policies thus validating their values within nationalism. In a recent proposed foreign aid budget, Josh Riggin reports, “The long-term budget announced on Tuesday by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan would cut the budget for international affairs and foreign assistance by 29 percent in 2012 and 44 percent by 2016 while increasing the defense budget by 14 percent over the same timeframe” (Rogin, 2011. Basically, he would be increasing the current spending bill on defense of 22 billion to 583 billion for national defense and security while decreasing national affairs from 37 billion to 22 billion.

This validates the characteristic of the need to increase spending on defense or authority and stability with conservatives. Moreover, the decrease in foreign aid would be left at the hands of faith in non-human institutions. In a report by U. S. World News, Evan Moore and Patrick Christy claim “Aid is hard power. It is a weapon the United States uses to strengthen allies [and partners] and, thus, ourselves. (Moore & Christy, 2013. ) In this statement, they value a sense of authority, stability, and order in regards to security with military. However, due to sequestration to cut foreign aid, conservatives believe that it will avoid assistance towards promoting national security and create instability in weak states as well as on a global level. Basically, foreign aid directed towards developing a country will hinder strategic investment with allies in military which is the primary goal. As a statement towards nationalism, Gary Connor publisher of Palestine.

Herald-Press, he claims that the U. S spends billions of tax payers’ money every year on foreign aid while we continue to be underfunded on a national level primarily with disaster relief, education, and border security (Connor, 2013. ) His conservative belief opposes internationalism while focusing on America as the priority versus developing countries that may not be contributing to our society. In addition, he emphasizes a sense of elitism in the aspect of the funding that was gained by tax payers should be used towards the tax payers despite the harsh reality underdeveloped countries.

As a primary characteristic of a conservative, their primary worries in regards to the foreign aid policy are the unintended consequences. As reported by Thomas Eddlem contributor to The New American publication, “US foreign aid programs often funded autocratic regimes that have committed human rights abuses and stand against democratic principles” (Eddlem, 2013. ) In other words, American funding towards foreign aid has become the financing for their government to oppress and control opposing voices. Another report claims American aid to Egypt purchases in the last 30 years towards their regime that performs torture and brutality.

The challenge to foreign aid is whether or not we have implemented proper authorities to ensure foreign aid given by America’s tax payers are being utilized effectively. Due to the conservatives lack of confidence in the government’s ability to create progressive results using the tax payers money, conservatives state that “Billions of American dollars from faith-based and other charitable, academic, and humanitarian groups go to the needy overseas every year and have far better results than government ODA” (Roberts, 2013. Although conservatives may seem reluctant to push towards foreign aid, their support through religious charity groups emphasizes a faith in non-human institutions. Contemporary American moderates would approach foreign aid in a collaborative value between conservatives and liberals; however, they would primarily compromise their beliefs to coincide with the current status quo.

They would probably continue keep a balance of spending to aid foreign countries by means of finances and health assistance, but to primarily remain conscious as to prevent from leaning towards focus on the government for all assistance and seeking private donations as well. In addition, they would probably continue the traditional USAID form of foreign aid and balance with the new updated approach of the MCC or to combine both of these programs.

In recent alternative propositions by the Foreign Service Despatches and Periodic Reports on U. S. Foreign Policy by Dobransky, he considers multiple alternatives in the views of moderates. The first policy would be to maintain U. S. foreign aid by continuing to utilize USAID and the recent version MCC. In the perspective of Americans, both forms of aid have been approved and criticized openly by multiple parties; however, they are both still being utilized and approved by congress as the usual form of application (Dobransky, 2011. The second alternative would be to merge both programs of the USAID and MCC which would primarily cause shared mass information to the public and be able to whittle down flaws and target areas of success to increase efficacy. Moreover, there would be one organization as opposed to two leading groups that oppose each other’s’ views despite a common goal. A proposition brought on by the Green Party that would encourage a global deal to fund towards education, food, and other basic needs to every human on this planet by means of American tax payers.

Sounds like a truly selfless proposal; however, the majority of Americans would not want to place all resources and hard earned money to the rest of the world. This would probably exhaust America’s budget and would be impossible to ensure that every single person is receiving the same exact treatment. In addition, America would not want to sacrifice closing overseas military bases which would place our country in a higher and much vulnerable state due to weak security. When evaluating the MCC policy, they emphasize a rich value in elitism by means of leaving these countries to their own device.

If we are investing in these particular countries by means of our tax payer’s money, we would want to see positive results by means of guidance and American political perspective to decrease poverty and social ills rather than finance countries then leave them to figure out how to succeed. In addition, with the amount billions of dollars spent to aid other countries we can afford to increase representatives of the limited 300 employees of MCC in order to properly work side by side with invested countries.

Politicians in America use Foreign Aid as a weapon to achieve what they want from other countries, but they do not really see the real problems that this help causes in poor countries, or at least they act as they do not see it. For example Foreign Aid causes major corruption and even more poverty. The governments in poor countries do not really care about the people and they are not design like the government in the United States. If we follow the history of Foreign Aid, we can see that every time we help a country, we always end up fighting that country at one point or another.

Foreign Aid should be limited and the US should hold the countries that received aid accountable for how they use it. Millions of dollars are lost in fraudulent contracts and misuse by the receiving governments, we do not have a saying in how these governments can use our hard earn money. For the US government to continue having the approval of the people in foreign aid help, it needs to fix the requirements for who qualifies to receive foreign aid, and also when to use foreign aid as a tool for foreign policy.

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Foreign Aid as a tool for Foreign Policy. (2017, Jun 06). Retrieved from

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