US Foreign Aid Not Winning Hearts and Minds, Expert Says

Do U.S. foreign aid programs help win hearts and minds overseas? The answer is unclear at best, a former U.S. official says.

Ken Adelman, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and arms control director in the administration of the late former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, says four of the largest U.S. foreign-aid recipients today - Egypt, Israel, Pakistan, and Afghanistan - all take a dissenting stance on issues of critical significance to the U.S. government.

“The conclusion seems clear: The relationship between ‘the United States’ ability to positively influence events abroad,’ as (Harvard professor Joseph) Nye puts it, and the amount of U.S. foreign aid a country receives is unclear at best,” Adelman writes in Foreign Policy.

He adds: “For decades now, the United States has been the No. 1 foreign-aid donor – it has given the most money to poor countries – so it can’t move up any on that scale. But this hasn’t translated in making America the most popular or most influential country around the world. Quite the contrary.”

Read more about U.S. development aid.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.