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The Woes of the U.S. Foreign Aid Policy

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The Woes of the U.S. Foreign Aid Policy
Tiffany Califf
Sociology of Developing Countries - SOC 300 043VA016
Professor Jayne Spence
June 12, 2011

Abstract
The U.S. foreign aid policy was put in place to help brother and sister nations in need. Over the years it has become a piggy bank that always seems to be open except to the people of the U.S. The U.S. needs to be more stringent with aid to Egypt and China. We can no longer just provide aid to every; and any country that needs it. Many critics feel as though there should be a change in the policy but do not know how to start. Simply shoveling money out the door to countries that are not willing to change is not going to solve their own problems let alone the ones that the U.S is facing. It has become difficult to decipher aid from welfare. The U.S. is giving welfare to countries and not setting a stipulation for it. It is hard to convince a developing country about free market when the U.S does not have the courage to reduce the handouts.

Foreign aid is the transfer of money, goods, and services from one country to another. The policy began during World War II to help rebuild Western Europe and help suppress the rehabilitation of the Soviet after the war. The U.S. foreign aid policy is set up to give to help other countries in need. It has two main categories, which are military and economic. The funding comes directly from the government, private organization and individuals. The current policy is failing the U.S. and needs a major overhaul to help the U.S. overcome an enormous amount of debt. The U.S. has a national debt of about 14 billion dollars. This would mean every man, woman and child owes 45,000 in their lifetime to pay the national debt. We are actually paying out money with our unborn children’s taxes. This is money that we do not have and need to limit the amounts that go out and to whom they go to. The U.S. does not have the money to provide to other nations that are not spending it wisely and also not prospering. Just as with a bank when you are getting a loan, there are criteria that you must meet and there is a repayment plan to pay the money back. We need to emulate a program in the same fashion for foreign aid. The U.S. deficit with not diminish unless there are limits to foreign aid. First, if foreign aid could prevent chaos in poorer states, then Haiti, Burundi, Rwanda, Zaire, Somalia and Sudan should all be thriving. (Bandow, 2011) The dependency on the aid began when the funds did not just go to food and medicine. When it began to build roads and hospitals that without the aid could not be maintained this is when the never ending battle started. With millions still dying from disease and malnutrition many think that foreign aid is useless and that poverty will never go away. Many of the leaders that are obtaining foreign aid are doing so by agreeing to terms and then not following them. The matter is that the U.S. is not doing anything about it. While trying to great democracy in sister nations, the U.S. just seems to be hindering the process by over feeding a program that is broken. There is also evidence that foreign aid increases government spending and reduces government revenue. (Wright 2009) While critics of aid think that aid reduces the likelihood of democratization. Egypt has been receiving foreign aid from the U.S. for decades. While they are still military run and have not resolved or even budged on the problems with Israel. The 1.5 billion that is sent annually does not get used on the people but a military that denies free speech, arbitrary imprisonment, savage repression and routine torture. The military feels that the aid allows them to rule the way they want without a say from anyone. Many believe that there will never be a partnership with Israel as long as the “free” money keeps rolling in. The military structure of Egypt is the same as it was years ago. In addition to economic stagnation and widespread poverty, the country has an ongoing civil war on its western border with Libya; its southern neighbor, Sudan, threatens Nile water security; and the army must now keep the peace domestically by managing the impending political transition. (Innocent & Bouasria 2011) The people are still in dire straits to be free from military rule, a rule that the foreign aid is keeping alive. The power that the military has will not decline and the corruption will not falter unless the aid is strictly rationed and only given when it is needed. China on the other hand is a whole other monster. China is a striving nation that can prosper on its own but still receives aid monies. “U.S. efforts to counter China’s growing influence in the developing world are a likely casualty of the budget battles dominating Washington’s politics, as chunks of the foreign aid program face the ax. (Brophy 2011) China’s economy has grown at an enormous rate that is has surpassed the U.S. Their businesses are striving and they continue to build. The global influence that China has over the U.S. is staggering and they continue to grow. As many politicians try and reduce the aid sent to China they believe that it will start an even bigger problem. The Chinese might start a war against the U.S. and want to collect on the monies that is has lent them in bonds and interest loans. The billions of dollars being sent to China are making them a powerhouse that the U.S. might not be able to compete with in the years to come. As the gap closes we as Americans should be asking ourselves if we go the short end of the bamboo stick. The big question is, “Has the policy really helped anyone”? (Linebarger & Breuning 2010) The U.S. has given trillions of dollars in foreign aid since World War II. The reason for foreign aid was to establish help and bring back sister nations from dismay. Many American people are now opposed to foreign aid and thinks it should be reduced dramatically. The foreign aid policy was a good idea at first and how it was neglected and impoverishes the American people. We may never get from under the debt we have caused and we too might need aid to just survive. The United States has to start being picky about how it distributes aid. Gone are the days when Washington can help everyone everywhere. (Norris 2010) Money cannot solve all problems and issues. Sending U.S. military soldiers to fix affairs of foreign countries is also not a wise choice. We send the soldiers into a country where the governments are bombing their own people and expect them to not be fearful for their lives that the U.S. government will protect them. The broken nations we are trying to save might not be savable.

References
Bandow, Doug (1996, November 19). We Can’t Cure All Global Ills. Retrieved June 12, 2011, from The Cato Institute Website:http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6258
Brophy, B (2011, March 25) “US foreign aid faces cuts while China’s reach grows” Retrieve June 12, 2011, http://www.malariapolicycenter.org/blog/?p=3967
Innocent, M and Bouasria, A.,(2011, April 21) “INNOCENT & BOUASRIA: End U.S. aid to Egypt” Retrieve June 12, 2011 http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/apr/21/end- us-aid-to-egypt/
Linebarger, C. D. and Breuning, M. , (2010, February 17) "Foreign Aid" Retrieve June 12, 2011, http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p414256_index.html
Norris, J (2010 September 23) “No Easy fix for U.S. Foreign Aid” Retrieve June 12, 2011 http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/09/23/no_easy_fix_for_us_foreign_aid
Wright, J. (2009, June 23), “How Foreign Aid Can Foster Democratization in Authoritarian Regimes. American Journal of Political Science”, 53: 552–571 Retrieved June 12, 2011 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00386.x/full

References: Bandow, Doug (1996, November 19). We Can’t Cure All Global Ills. Retrieved June 12, 2011, from The Cato Institute Website:http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6258 Brophy, B (2011, March 25) “US foreign aid faces cuts while China’s reach grows” Retrieve June 12, 2011, http://www.malariapolicycenter.org/blog/?p=3967 Innocent, M and Bouasria, A.,(2011, April 21) “INNOCENT & BOUASRIA: End U.S. aid to Egypt” Retrieve June 12, 2011 http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/apr/21/end- us-aid-to-egypt/ Linebarger, C. D. and Breuning, M. , (2010, February 17) "Foreign Aid"  Retrieve June 12, 2011, http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p414256_index.html Norris, J (2010 September 23) “No Easy fix for U.S. Foreign Aid” Retrieve June 12, 2011 http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/09/23/no_easy_fix_for_us_foreign_aid Wright, J. (2009, June 23), “How Foreign Aid Can Foster Democratization in Authoritarian Regimes. American Journal of Political Science”, 53: 552–571 Retrieved June 12, 2011 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00386.x/full

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