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The Importance of Foreign Aid

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In 2017, South Sudan experienced famine, “an extreme scarcity of food” (ConcernUSA, 2018). The United States foreign aid sent 265 million dollars of assistance, including aid and emergency food and water; saving many lives. Foreign aid can be food, water, money, protection, or medical help that is provided to another country. The United States Foreign aid policy started on September 4, 1961, after the Foreign Assistance Act was passed by President Kennedy. Since then, many countries worldwide have been receiving aid from the United States though economic and military fundings. Though millions of Americans oppose our country for helping others, the United States should continue to focus on providing for other countries. There are many studies that show the benefits of helping other countries and putting them before the United States.

To begin with, helping other countries can be beneficial to the United States. There will be more countries to trade with and more allies to join arms with. Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft, is a supporter of America’s decision of investment and aid of less developed countries. Bill wrote that “countries with large middle-class populations are less likely to go to war, more capable of preventing global epidemics and more likely to buy American goods and services” (2017). Bill explains that providing aid to developing countries will increase the middle-class population and have a more stable and wealthy globe. Furthermore, there will be fewer conflicts among foreign countries with each other. Bill also stated, ‘The point is not that aid directly makes poor people richer. It’s that aid helps create a foundation for growth’ (2017). This quote highlights providing aid to foreign countries can push for further independent economic development. Through more developed countries the worldwide economy will overall be increased and will benefit everyone including America’s own economy.

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Since 1961, America has provided aid to over 200 foreign countries. According to James McBride, the Deputy Editor with a Masters Degree from Georgetown University of Foreign Service, “Total spending was roughly $49 billion in 2016, the last full fiscal year analyzed. This accounts for about 1.2 percent of the federal budget” (2018). From this quote, If $49 billion is only 1.2% of our federal budget America is in good standing and should be focusing more on others to help them develop. Further on, Top countries that received aid from the U.S. in 2016 were Iraq for $5.3 billion, Afghanistan for $5.1 billion, Israel for $3.1 billion, Egypt for $1.2 billion, and Jordan for also $1.2 billion (McBride, 2018). These countries deal with constant war and terrorism, so they should use the money they receive to improve their military, deal with terrorists, improve living conditions, and hand out more rations.

Foreign aid is very beneficial to the entire world. It can stop epidemics and keep countries safe. According to James O’Hare, “The Trump administration is calling for a $1.1 billion cut to HIV-treatment programs in Sub-Saharan Africa and a $524 million cut to providing contraception to developing nations”(Global Citizen, 2017). This quote insists, cutting fundings to treatments of diseases can cause there to be more breakouts and further spreading. This will cause it to be even harder to contain and eliminate causing it to cost more if kept untreated. With more diseased people there will be fewer workers and unemployment rates will increase leading to the total income of a country to decrease. O’Hare goes further to explain, “Global Fund estimates that every $100 million saves about 133,000 lives. AmfAR, meanwhile, calculates the funding cuts could cost more than a million lives and orphan more than 300,000 children, the Times reports” (Global Citizen, 2017). In other words, the more funding that is cut the more people will die. Another example of how cutting fundings is a bad idea is from Joe McCarthy, “Meanwhile, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) infect more people each year than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined, and they kill 170,000 people annually. US foreign aid has paid for 1.6 billion treatments over the past decade, helping more than 743 million people”(Global Citizen, 2017). These events that America has participated in has saved many lives and has improved the United States’ reputation. Not helping and removing fundings of in these situations will cause an uprise from foreign countries and the United States citizens leading to the tarnishment of its reputation.

America’s reputation will be endangered if certain actions are not taken. According to Joe McCarthy, “Through programs to promote women’s rights, economic development, food independence, health, infrastructure, and much more, the US has developed a reputation as a generous country” (Global Citizen, 2017). This insists the United States has a good reputation and will be kept if bad decisions are not made such as reducing fundings of foreign countries and health/medical help. Having a good reputation will cause more countries to trust the U.S. and will be more willing to trade. A prime example of America’s reputation being upheld according to McCarthy, “Following the 2011 tsunami in Japan, the US provided substantial aid to the country, and 85% of Japanese citizens polled said they had a favorable opinion of the US, a nearly 20% jump from before the disaster” (GlobalCitizen, 2017). Japanese citizens are recognizing America as a helpful nation and are not hold a grudge against the US. Japan also provides materials, shelter, and financial support to the United States Army that is stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Having a high standard and correct decision making will maintain and improve the United States reputation to have more people trust and trade with.

President Donald Trump and many others have a unique standing on the situation of foreign aid. President Trump believes only countries that are ‘good’ to the United States shall receive aid. According to Carlos and Karoun from The Washington Post, “The Trump administration is considering taking back more than $3 billion in foreign aid that Congress already approved” (2018). Taking back promised aid will tarnish the reputation of the U.S. as the countries that were supposed to receive aid will lose trust. Further on those countries’ economy will begin to fall. 3 examples of countries that were threatened to lose aid are Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador (CNN Politics, 2018). These countries planned to use aid they would have received to improve education, improve security, and improve living conditions.

Foreign aid is an important part of America’s success and needs to be kept for the sake of other countries and the United States. Through foreign aid, both countries receiving aid and America benefit. America gains more trade opportunity and allies. Foreign countries receive money they need to fix their problems and thrive. Through many studies, there are many useful outcomes from foreign aid. As America is already thriving, they should help others develop and become self-sufficient.

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