Is U.S. foreign aid meant for national security or for helping the poor?
This is the question journalist Ben Barber asked in an opinion piece for Huffington Post. He cited instances when the United States used aid to influence governments’ decisions.
The examples have been all over the news: Suspended food aid to North Korea over a failed missile launch, and blocked aid to Sri Lanka over “ignored” U.S. investigation demands on Tamil Tiger rebels. The United States also threatened to cut off aid to Egypt over the crackdown on foreign nongovernmental organizations early this year.
These actions reflect the United States’ push to put diplomacy and development together with defense. But, Barber argues, the United States needs to “rethink” what it hopes to accomplish with its aid. After all, the people who will suffer most from aid cuts are those who have no control or influence over their governments’ actions.
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