Foreign Aid has been a major issue in the world’s political system for years. With some believing that the aid should decrease or stop and others pushing for it to stay or increase, nobody seems to win. With the help of the readings, it became clear that foreign aid should be increased in most countries because it grows developing countries by providing medical care, food, and political structure when they could not originally acquire it.
When looking at why the U.S. should increase its foreign aid efforts, many things stand out. One basic way to tell if foreign aid has worked is by looking at countries that have received it in the past. Countries such as South Africa and Chile, which in the past were developing, have changed from third world to second world states due to foreign aid and have been greatly impacted by it. (Dichter 5) This shows that, in the past, foreign aid has been used to further develop these countries, in turn doing exactly what it intended. With a recent youth bulge in developing countries, the increased population in the future will need to be equipped with skills for labor, which is something else that foreign aid can touch on by supplying capital, furthering the development of labor in third world countries. (Brookings) Another reason why the U.S. should increase foreign aid is that many high ranking retired military members wrote a letter to Congress addressing the issue of possible aid cuts, which the Trump administration called “recission”, stating that foreign aid was a very important asset to the U.S. (Radelet 4) Two years later, Trump is still attempting this cut, but both Democrats and Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee reached an agreement stating that cutting aid would be detrimental, calling his idea “wrong-headed.” (Emma 3) With both military experts and a bipartisan agreement in place, foreign aid has been deemed too important to cut, and should instead be increased. In addition to the House Foreign Affairs committee and military leaders, other Non-governmental organizations have also pressured for the dropping of this recission package. The Professional Services Council, an NGO that represents federal contractors has pushed for the dropping of a decrease in foreign aid. (Emma 4) Along with the experts agreeing that there should be no cuts, aid has helped millions of families in developing countries survive. In USAID’s “Feed the Future” program over 9 million farmers saw an increase in their incomes which transitioned into over 18 million children having a better diet. (Radelet 3) Foreign aid has saved millions from a medical standpoint too. Malaria, a deadly disease, had its mortality rate cut in half since 2000, which has resulted in 7 million lives saved, and Tuberculosis has declined 25%. (Radelet 2) Furthermore, over 11 million people have been treated for AIDS, all due to foreign aid, which has been the main reason why deaths from AIDS have been cut in half since 2005. (Radelet 2) With these prominent numbers, foreign aid given to developing countries can also help raise “growth rates per capita by one percentage point” (Radelet 3) per year. These values in total show that the aid does in fact work, so if there is more aid available then it would be used to help more underprivileged individuals with medical problems such as disease or malnutrition. There should be an increase in foreign aid because it helps nondemocratic countries transition to democracy as well. A professor from the University of California Berkely, as well as researchers from Pennsylvania State University, found that democracy flourishes after foreign aid is given to nondemocratic countries. (Radalet 3) This is not only a major win for the U.S. because it helps to develop a given country, but it is a good thing for the world because a democratic country is formed, moving away from the traditional communist ideals synonymous with underdeveloped countries. With all of this said, there are many reasons why aid to underdeveloped countries helps people. With the U.S. being such a large and relatively wealthy country, it should increase its foreign aid to help other countries get a headstart to gain traction on the world stage.
Critics of an increase in foreign aid have many claims as to why foreign aid is detrimental to society. Although there is a plethora of factual evidence in the readings, some still believe that the U.S. should decrease foreign aid. In 2017, Trump attempted to cut important parts of foreign aid, while leaving unimportant parts that had “nothing to do with development” (Dichter 9) of developing countries. Within these unimportant parts, aid to Egypt and Israel were kept, which has been proven not to work in the past. (Dichter 10) This proves that with any decrease in foreign aid prescribed by the U.S. government, there is no reason for it. Along with the Trump Administration’s plans to cut aid in 2017, another common belief is that foreign aid is that it is a scam. Although claims that the U.S. does not give its aid to the top five poorest countries are true (Malik 2), the poorest countries should not be the top recipients of foreign aid. For countries such as Mozambique, the DRC, and Haiti, some of the poorest in the world, more aid would cause diminishing returns in development, and could even end up worsening the situation for their growth. (Sumner 3) This further shows that aid should not be decreased because some small countries can not stomach larger checks, but should rather be increased so more countries can be helped. With this being said, foreign aid does not need to be increased in all countries because as shown above, very small countries can not handle a large spike in aid. A separate point that those who oppose foreign aid will make is that much of Africa’s positive growth is attributable to “homegrown” things such as cell phones. (Swanson 8) Although the widespread use of cell phones has helped African countries, relief from diseases such as AIDS and other deadly illnesses have been stopped due to foreign aid. (Radelet 2) Another example of why foreign aid should be increased, these humanitarian efforts to cure and treat diseases played a much larger role in the development of African countries than cell phones. Lastly, a major point opposers of foreign aid make is the lack of economic benefits for developing countries. Although some foreign aid is given out as “tied” aid, meaning the money given needs to be spent on goods from the donor country (Malik 2), this is not always a bad thing. With a need for goods to be purchased from the donor country, the donor country can increase exports while helping a small and less developed country, effectively making this type of aid a win-win situation for the donor. This, in turn, reduces the downsides of giving foreign aid to countries.
Overall, foreign aid is a very important thing that developing countries rely on to eventually develop into first world countries. With aid cuts being talked about, the United States should instead increase foreign aid to these struggling countries to help with development with health, economics, and political structure. Foreign Aid has been a major issue in the world’s political system for years. With some believing that the aid should decrease or stop and others pushing for it to stay or increase, nobody seems to win. With the help of the readings, it became clear that foreign aid should be increased in most countries because it grows developing countries by providing medical care, food, and political structure when they could not originally acquire it.