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Addressing Misperceptions About Foreign Aid Spending Amid Primary Season Campaigning

In this post on the Council on Foreign Relation’s “The Internationalist” blog, Stewart Patrick, a senior fellow and director of the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, addresses what he calls myths about foreign aid amid this year’s primary season, writing, “GOP presidential candidates regularly bash it, echoing ‘Mr. Republican’ Robert Taft — who dismissed overseas assistance more than six decades ago as ‘pouring money down a rat hole.'” Patrick cites a number of polls measuring U.S. citizens’ attitudes toward foreign aid spending, writing, “[P]ublic opposition to providing foreign aid is one of the hoariest misconceptions in U.S. foreign policy. In fact, U.S. citizens support foreign aid, particularly when it is targeted to alleviating poverty and humanitarian suffering.” He quotes a number of GOP presidential candidates with relation to foreign aid spending and notes, “Indeed, among the remaining GOP candidates, only former Senator Rick Santorum has rejected ‘zeroing out’ foreign aid, describing it as a form of ‘pandering'” (1/25).