DOES FOREIGN AID REALLY WORK, OR IS IT JUST ANOTHER FORM OF BRIBERY?

Foreign Aid is the term, which refers to wealthy nations giving money, or often weaponry, to much-lesser developed countries.  In 2003, George W. Bush even had the audacity to proclaim that he would spread democracy throughout the Middle East.  What an ignorant thing to say?  That might sound “nice” to many Americans watching on TV; however, no nation, in the history of the world, has ever been changed from external forces—or resources!

The target group, of countries that might receive such aid, generally ranges from the poorer developing nations, to “frontier” nations, which have hardly even begun to industrialize.  Such countries usually have a fairly modern capital, and perhaps one or two major cities, which tend to have the usual modern conveniences.  And, these cities are where most aid dollars are squandered!  But, the vast majority of the population generally doesn’t live in the cities

The average person, in many poverty-stricken countries, mostly lives in rural areas, commonly speak only the regional languages, lack electricity, doesn’t have access to clean water for drinking and bathing, has no TV or access to the media, and flush toilets are probably an unknown luxury!  Such people are mostly illiterate, subsist on one or two dollars per day, and they lack any type of affordable transportation, other than by walking.  These rural inhabitants neither know, nor care, who is in power, in the capital.  They know that they are on their own, and their livelihood is subject to droughts and the seasonal monsoons.

Still, foreign aid is much appreciated, especially by those who receive it—the president, close associates, and the military that protects them!   The large cities are kept reasonably up to a semi-modern status, in order to show visiting government officials, and the occasional tourist, the benefits that their assistance has provided.  But, all that is just a charade to maintain the top government officials’ personal “money supply!”  Unfortunately, none of those upgrades ever seem to get out into the countryside—to the people!

Corruption is a very important source of stability for the various presidents, since they do not have the support of the people.  They realize that they may only retain power until they are overthrown or assassinated.  So, they take as much of the aid as they can, and share a part of the money with the military, which protects them while they are in office, and the rest is forwarded to offshore investment accounts!

The U. S. government must certainly understand how this game it played.  When we provide money or weapons, some of which can be bartered to non-friendly states, or terrorist organizations; but, we are definitely looking for something in return.  When George Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, he admitted that he wanted their oil.  And consider: perhaps a naval base in the South China Seas, to counteract China’s interest in controlling vital sea lanes; or an NSA monitoring installation near Russia.

Believe it or not, there are numerous examples of really successful Aid; however, but, only when it is distributed directly to the people who really need it.  Some of these programs are  funded by the U. S. State Department, which makes Trump”s budget cuts so horrendous!  Several additional examples are: micro-loans, which provide the first helping hand to people at the very bottom rung of impoverished societies; sleeping nets to combat malaria, and immunizations to fight various other diseases; and actually building water and sewer systems, thereby helping eliminate a number of diseases.

NOTE:  “A Path Appears,” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, provides examples of how you might help, or just contribute!  This same husband and wife, Pulitzer Prize winning team, also co-authored “Half the Sky”, which is on my Books That I Recommend tab.

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  1. #1 by emotan77 on June 20, 2017 - 7:02 AM

    How true, indeed, very true. Aid remains both a potent avenue of gaining stature and influence as well as genuinely assisting poorer nations. The US cannot and must not go down the path of isolationism that the Trump administration is pushing. The erosion of its eminent position in the world which was earned over decades of outreach to the world needs to be addressed.

    Thanks for this post.

    • #2 by cheekos on June 20, 2017 - 3:11 PM

      Emotan77, thanks for the comment. It is difficult for people who have never left home, or perhaps visited only Pais or London (talk about the good life), to understand the foot-powered, barter economy, which a large part of the world exists in.

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