Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Aid’
March 8th, 2013 at 2:54 pm
Krauthammer: Kerry’s Egypt Deal Misses Point of Foreign Aid

As a supplement to my column this week criticizing John Kerry’s $250 million in economic aid to Egypt, Charles Krauthammer dings the Secretary of State for apparently sleeping through Foreign Aid 101:

We have no particular stake in Egypt’s economy. Our stake is in its politics. Yes, we would like to see a strong economy. But in a country ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood?

Our interest is in a non-Islamist, nonrepressive, nonsectarian Egypt, ruled as democratically as possible. Why should we want a vibrant economy that maintains the Brotherhood in power? Our concern is Egypt’s policies, foreign and domestic.

If we’re going to give foreign aid, it should be for political concessions — on unfettered speech, on an opposition free of repression, on alterations to the Islamist constitution, on open and fair elections.

With Egypt’s newest strongman following the same script as his predecessors by taking money and failing to reform, the only thing missing here is to remind America’s chief diplomat that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

November 13th, 2010 at 6:50 pm
Is Foreign Aid the New Colonialism?

It is if it means exporting a set of beliefs into an area ill-suited to implement them.  So says a startling (but by no means new) assertion about the real world effects of foreign aid.  In an article that fleshes out the unease some of us encounter about the efficacy of giving good money to bad people, Margaret Wente of The Globe and Mail argues that aid to Africa is being used to prolong suffering rather than end it.

Ethiopia provides one sobering example.

The starving children of Ethiopia were not the victims of drought, as most people believed at the time. They were the victims of politics. The government of the time was using famine as an instrument of war, and the rebels were more interested in defeating the government than in feeding famine victims. As William Easterly, a leading aid skeptic, puts it, “It’s not the rains, it’s the rulers.” Political famines attract the food aid industry, with the consequence that governments or rebel groups are able to feed their own armies and divert resources to buy more weapons. Humanitarian aid in conflict zones is always problematic. It helps the bad guys as well as the innocent.

Today, the children of Ethiopia are still starving, and the brutal regime that keeps them hungry continues to get funding from well-intentioned people trying to fix the wrong problem.  It’s not the rains, it’s the rulers.  Unless the rule of law protects the property and dignity of individuals, all that the philanthropy in the world will do is empower the strong at the expense of the weak.

May 26th, 2010 at 12:33 pm
Will Obama Blame Bush for America’s Popularity?

It’s become a bit of a cliché in the Obama Administration to blame George W. Bush for…well, just about everything wrong with the country.  Job numbers are down because of the previous administration’s mismanagement of the economy.  The deficit is exploding because Bush & Co. started two allegedly needless wars.  Even the Gulf Oil Spill catastrophe is being laid at the feet of alleged coziness between Bush Era regulators and BP management.  If nothing else, the Obama White House knows how to trace problems occurring on its watch to other people.

Will it do the same with success?  According to Gallup polls of foreign nations, America is most popular in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The fact that President Obama’s ancestry touches the region doesn’t explain fully the reason.

So you might be asking yourself, “why Africa?”

It’s a good question, one our friends over at Gallup have given some consideration in past surveys. Since 2008, Sub-Saharan Africa may be the one region of the world where the United States has reaped the highest benefits of what has been termed “The Obama Effect.” Being of Kenyan descent, Obama enjoys high approval ratings throughout much of Africa. More substantively, 5 out of the 7 listed nations have been targeted in the president’s $3.5 billion Feed the Future initiative.

And let’s not give the 44th president all of the credit. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, invested American aid and resources into Africa at a record pace. President Bush’s PEPFAR program was a groundbreaking policy endeavor, and while Bush’s domestic approval numbers were low upon leaving office, U.S. approval throughout much of Africa remained rather strong.

As with much of his social spending, the most recent President Bush doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the good – and goodwill – many of his initiatives achieved.  Still, it must give W some sort of quiet pride to know that America’s popularity in Africa can be traced directly to his policy decisions.

H/T: RealClearWorld

April 22nd, 2010 at 4:17 pm
Killing Haiti with Kindness
Posted by Print

The general rule of political economy is that issues that tug on the public’s heartstrings are the ones most likely to produce a government response mired in muddy thinking and unintended consequences (think about the rebuilding of New Orleans).

CBS News provides testimony to this maxim courtesy of a shocking report from the Caribbean: Haiti wants the food aid sent in the aftermath of its devestating earthquake to stop! Per CBS:

The public outpouring is so generous it’s interfering with the Haitian economy.

If food is free local farmers can’t sell what they grow.

Desperately poor residents who aren’t earthquake victims are moving into refugee camps for the free food and health care. But the government wants residents to be less dependent on foreign aid, not more.

The whole thing (plus video) here.