Foreign Aid Contributes To U.S. Interests, National Security
Foreign Policy: Foreign Aid Is About U.S. Interests
Daniel Runde, William A. Schreyer chair at CSIS
“Seventy years ago this month, at Harvard’s commencement, Gen. George C. Marshall … announced a plan to aid post-war Europe with a massive aid package … The Marshall Plan, as it would come to be known, is now synonymous with ‘massive foreign aid,’ ‘vision,’ and above all, ‘success.’ … [O]ur foreign aid has never just been about merely doing good. Ever since the end of World War II, it has always also been recognized to be in our own interest. Rebuilding Europe was a project deeply linked to U.S. national security and U.S. job stability and growth. Communism was a clear and present danger to our way of life then — just as terrorism, drug-financed criminal gangs, and pandemics like Ebola are threats now. The plan hoped to stabilize European economies, improve their quality of life, and facilitate European cooperation. … Can aid be more effective? Yes. Can it be managed better? Yes. But is U.S. foreign assistance still needed? Yes. As we remember the Marshall Plan — that incredible act of enlightened self-interest — let us also recall that our charity of 70 years ago still contributes to U.S. peace and prosperity today” (6/26).