Opinion Pieces Highlight Benefits, Role Of U.S. Foreign Aid

Boston Globe: The ethics and practicalities of foreign aid
Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University

“…[F]oreign aid works — when we put in the honest effort and thinking to make it work. … Aid works when its main purpose is to finance supplies such as medicines and solar panels, and the staffing by local workers in public health, agronomy, hydrology, ecology, energy, and transport. U.S. government aid should be pooled with finances from other governments to support critical investments in health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure, based on professional best practices. … There is a lot of negative propaganda about foreign aid … We certainly hear an earful: Aid is wasted; aid is a huge budgetary burden; aid demeans the recipients; aid is no longer needed in the 21st century. … The simple fact is that some aid is wasted and other aid is used brilliantly. The main issue is whether the aid directly supports the work of local professionals saving lives, growing food, installing rural electricity, and teaching children, or whether the aid goes instead to foreign warlords or overpriced American companies. Our responsibility is to fund the aid that works, and when aid has been demonstrated to work, as in public health and education, to expand the assistance as it’s needed by the poorest of the poor. … [T]his is not aid at all, but justice…” (3/13).

Foreign Policy: Trump’s Cuts to USAID Would Imperil the United States
Mona Yacoubian, deputy assistant administrator in the Middle East bureau at USAID from 2014 to 2017

“President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash the U.S. foreign aid budget by 37 percent threatens to undermine U.S. national security. While touting his budget as critical ‘to keep Americans safe,’ the president’s strategy is shortsighted and fails to recognize the critical role international development assistance plays in addressing complex global security challenges. … While the soft power aspect of U.S. development assistance is important, increasingly the work performed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and others must be recognized as a strategic asset that is no less powerful than the military in confronting multifaceted challenges … The protection and promotion of U.S. national security interests has traditionally rested on the three-legged stool of defense, diplomacy, and development. In this era of complicated security challenges, development, alongside diplomacy, must retain equal footing with defense. Cutting any of these legs will severely compromise U.S. national security. As the purported master of the deal, Trump should recognize the significant value versus dollar spent on development assistance. Deep reductions in the development budget will do little to reduce the overall budget, while greatly imperiling the United States” (3/10).

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