Should the US financially aid foreign nations?
- Humanitarian Assistance makes up the largest financial obligation of United States foreign aid, totaling $14.96 billion. The following sectors are Health ($12.54B), Economic Development ($12.18B), and Program Support ($3.91B).
- Brookings asserted that the United States provides more foreign aid than any other country, however, that assistance is a smaller proportion of its gross national product (GNP) than most other well-off nations.
- In 2020, Afghanistan, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt received the most economic aid from the United States. Regions in Sub-Saharan Africa receive more health and population funding, while the Middle East is supported with military aid.
- Democrats favor engaging in an active role in world affairs 13% more than Republicans, as reported by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. However, overall American support of foreign assistance has declined to 60%, which is the lowest since 2014.
The US is the largest economy in the world and benefits from trading with other nations that also have thriving economies. Countries that are productive and stable all work together to fuel the global economy and trade system, which benefits everyone involved.
When countries destabilize, the entire global economic system feels the shock. When we fail to give aid, people die, and nations become unstable. This can lead to a refugee crisis that impacts our country negatively through illegal immigration, strife, and other costly humanitarian issues. If left unaddressed, this can lead to famine and war. It is in our national security interest to promote the well-being of people worldwide. When citizens worldwide have everything they need through the provision of a well-equipped local government, peace and stability reigns; it doesn’t matter how the government received that provision, if by the US or from some other nation’s support.
Giving aid also ensures other countries have an overall favorable opinion of the US. This makes them less likely to form alliances with competing foreign powers that may have interests different from ours. Furthermore, it is a necessary ethical and moral act. If we have the means, we should act to help. As a country that prides itself on our democracy and justice, we should also be a beacon of those values to the world.
As we saw with COVID-19 and the emergence of disease variants, we are all connected, and what affects one nation affects all nations. We all share this planet, and whether we recognize it or not, we are all connected. When we help others, we are helping ourselves.
The United States, in 2021, had set aside $38 billion for foreign aid. To put that number in perspective, according to the Federal Highway Commission, in 2017, it would have cost around $26 billion to replace all of the structurally deficient bridges within the United States. Another relevant statistic, determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, figures that it would cost around $20 billion to solve homelessness in the USA. Faced with such figures, one must rightly ask, should US tax dollars be spent on solving other nations’ issues, or should that money be spent solving the problems directly facing Americans today?
Now, while it could be stated that the most productive country in the world has a duty to help other struggling nations, it would be naive to assume that the US government gives out aid with altruistic intentions. Instead, the US government uses such aid to force political issues, such as when the Obama administration used foreign aid to push an LGBTQ agenda worldwide. Foreign aid also forces the United States to involve itself in numerous foreign affairs, such as the Camp David Accords, which requires the US to grant a certain amount of military aid to Egypt and Israel. Not only does this action result in forced US involvement in the region, but it also raises tensions in the area by creating a mini-arms race funded directly by US tax dollars.
Because foreign aid, which is used as a political tool that forces US involvement in foreign affairs while increasing regional tensions, would be better spent on American citizens. The US should not financially aid foreign nations when we have mounting issues to tackle at home.