Analysis: “Foreign Aid Advances U.S. Security, Prosperity, and Global Leadership”
The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) published a piece on Monday asserting that foreign aid “plays an indispensable role in furthering America’s strategic, economic, and moral objectives throughout the world.” FPI reports that the sequester would slash the U.S.’s international affairs budget by up to 5.3% in FY 2013, and that “some lawmakers have even proposed eliminating development programs.”
The piece argues that “foreign aid promotes national security by helping to fight the causes of terrorism, stabilize weak states, and promote regional-level security and global stability.” It quotes General John Allen, who said, “The soft power of USAID and the development community can deliver strategic effects and outcomes for decades, affecting generations.” Citing South Korea and Columbia, FPI finds that aid “promotes prosperity and self-reliance by encouraging economic development and private enterprise” and increases markets for U.S. businesses. Lastly, FPI holds that aid “advances America’s moral values and humanitarian interests by saving lives, fighting poverty and hunger, combating infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, promoting education, and bolstering democratic institutions.” FPI concludes that foreign aid is a strategic investment, not bribery or charity.
Asserting that “the goal of results-driven foreign assistance is to help America’s partners become self-reliant,” FPI credits the U.S. with taking steps to provide aid more transparently and effectively. FPI touts the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which only partners with nations meeting objective criteria, as “a powerful example of an innovative approach to foreign assistance.” FPI cautions that “eliminating foreign assistance to troubled states—such as Egypt, Libya, and Pakistan—would be counterproductive,” and argues that eliminating aid overall would not “solve America’s fiscal imbalances. Rather, it would severely restrict America’s ability to respond to global security challenges.” FPI concludes that “while U.S. lawmakers must examine every dollar spent…they should recognize that the returns from the nation’s foreign assistance programs are far more than their costs.”