Foreign Assistance

EDITOR:

According to the U.S. Department of State, “Foreign assistance is aid given by the United States to other countries to support global peace, security, and development efforts, and provide humanitarian relief during times of crisis. It is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative for the United States and vital to U.S. national security. Today, the U.S. manages foreign assistance programs in more than 100 countries around the world through the efforts of over 20 different U.S. government agencies. These investments further America’s foreign policy interests on issues ranging from expanding free markets, combating extremism, ensuring stable democracies, and addressing the root causes of poverty, while simultaneously fostering global good will.” In examining the Assistance categories, some interesting information is revealed. These categories in order of appropriation levels are: Peace and Security; Health; Humanitarian Assistance; Multi-sector; Democracy, Human Rights and Governance; Economic Development; Program Management; Education and Social Services; and Environment. The total funding appropriated for 2018 was just under $38 billion.

The countries receiving assistance are basically those we see in the world news on a daily basis as people struggle to survive in Africa, the Middle East, India, Indonesia, some Asian countries, Mexico, Central America, and some countries in South America. Peace and Security are basically military armament with a total of $9.74 billion appropriated for 2018. Health was appropriated $9 billion. Environment was appropriated at a measly $615 million. No surprise here. Except for those countries like Israel. They received $3.10 billion with 100 percent for Peace and Security. That’s more than the all countries receiving assistance for their environments. What happens when people have no choice but to use water from ditch banks, from rivers with dead bodies floating downstream, accompanied by dead animal carcasses? Washing clothes in this same water source. Bathing in this same water source. The Health category is to fight HIV/AIDS, Maternal Health, etc. One which stands out is Water Supply and Sanitation, but the worldwide allotment is just $235 million. That’s totally inadequate, however, people are not what it’s all about. The key words in the Foreign assistance statement are “vital to U.S. national security.”, and “These investments further America’s foreign policy interests on issues ranging from expanding free markets, combating extremism, ensuring stable democracies,” all U.S. corporate driven. It reminds me of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ comment “My family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party ($47,559,870 since 2000)…we expect a return on our investment.” So just what is this scam all about? Do you feel it’s their hand woven baskets, or their artwork, or their woven rugs or brass works? Or does it boil down to minerals, oil, or anything the United States wants from these countries. Just what is/are returns on our investments? What’s the logic in providing military “assistance” to poor countries to protect their citizens when they are dying from diseases, malnutrition in the first place? Ask the corporations. They’re cashing in on the national debt.

Gerry Niedermaier

Gladstone