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Opinions: Foreign Aid; Congressman’s Global War On Abortion

Foreign Aid Does More Harm Than Good

The idea that wealthy countries have a moral obligation to provide aid to poor nations “persists in the face of overwhelming evidence that such ‘aid’ does the world’s poor more harm than good,” Marian Tupy, a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute in London, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

“Africa is filled with dilapidated airports and empty factories that were built at great expense by donor countries but failed to reduce African poverty. World Bank data shows that Africa received almost 12 times as much aid per person as India between 1975 and 2005,” Tupy writes. “Yet over the same period, India grew at an average annual rate of 3.5%, while Africa shrunk at a rate of 0.16% per year. In fact, at least five aid-recipient countries in Africa were poorer in 2009 than they were in 1960. India shows that economic liberalization and democracy is much more effective at creating prosperity than international charity,” according to Tupy. He proceeds to argue that foreign aid has “undermined democratization in Africa” and that it has also “retarded democratic evolution by enabling dictators to repress opposition.”

“While it may occasionally make a positive difference in individual lives, aid harms economic growth and democratization and, in the long run, makes African societies less, not more, prosperous. By cutting aid, the West could not only save their taxpayers some money, but also benefit the victims of their supposed support: ordinary Africans,” Tupy concludes (3/31).

Fully Funded International Affairs Budget Is Essential

“Just this week, nearly 70 of my fellow retired 3 and 4-star general and flag officers called on Congress to boost our civilian tools in order to keep Americans safe and protect the gains made by our brave troops. As a proud co-signer of that letter, I joined my colleagues to say, ‘Development and diplomacy keep us safer by addressing threats in the most dangerous corners of the world and by preventing conflicts before they occur,'” Admiral James Loy (Ret.), a co-chairman of the National Security Advisory Council of U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, writes in a post on The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” Loy refutes a previous column by Dick Morris, who argues that foreign aid should be cut.

“Mr. Morris seems to argue for devastating cuts to our national security and economic prosperity because that might give one party political advantage. He disregards the broad, bipartisan consensus, ranging from military leaders to the business community to faith-based and non-governmental organizations, that the International Affairs Budget is more than a bargaining chip: it is an effective, efficient investment in our safety and economic growth,” according to Loy (3/30).

Rep. Smith’s Problematic Trip To Kenya

In a Huffington Post opinion piece, Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, takes issue with Rep. Chris Smith’s (R-N.J.) recent trip to Kenya. “Not content to rest after failed attempts to redefine rape in domestic legislation, he dipped his hand into taxpayer money so he could travel to Kenya to condemn the country’s new constitution and lobby against abortion access in life-saving situations,” Sippel writes. Smith “used his position as a U.S. Congressman to star in his own show: self-appointed leader in the call for an abortion-free world – regardless of how many women would die or suffer as a result.”

“Some 350,000 women die each year from preventable, pregnancy related causes, with approximately 47,000 deaths attributed to unsafe abortion. A staunch opponent of family planning and safe, legal abortion – interventions that would help prevent maternal deaths – Smith has no regard for a woman’s right to health and to life. While he now sprinkles his speeches with references to saving women from abortion, it is clear he has absolutely no interest in also saving them from life-threatening pregnancies,” according to Sippel. She concludes that his constituents “might rightly ask why Kenyans’ decisions are subject to Rep. Smith’s taxpayer-funded critiques. It appears Rep. Smith has lost his way in his war on women and his colleagues in the House and advocacy groups should take note. This ‘human rights champion,’ in fact, has no clothes” (3/30).

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