Foreign Aid

Rearrange Priorities: Stop sending foreign aid to our enemies

The United States of America spends more money on foreign aid than any other country in the world. Every year, our federal government funnels billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid into governments around the world. This aid is generally used for humanitarian purposes – the treatment of disease, building schools and hospitals, or for promoting democracy and human rights. This is laudable – America is one of the most fortunate countries in the world, and it makes sense for us to do what we can to help others live better lives. This also has the benefit of helping us build friendships and alliances that will help to serve our best interests.

However, there is a serious problem with America’s current strategy for dispersing foreign aid, and it seems to be a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. Out of the top five countries who receive the most aid from the United States, only one, Israel, is an unconditional friend of our country. Of the roughly $50 billion given in aid each year, nearly $17.5 billion are being given to Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and Pakistan – all countries that use their money to kill Americans, fight against US interests, and threaten our allies.

Afghanistan and Iraq are war torn nations that are embroiled in internal battles between our nominal allies and religious fundamentalists. Every dollar invested in infrastructure or aid in those countries is a dollar that will eventually fall into the hands of our enemies. In Afghanistan, Taliban fighters are using the roads built with American money to murder and terrorize children going to the schools we built. In Iraq, the situation is even worse: Islamist militants in the self-proclaimed Islamic State there have seized hundreds of millions of dollars of military equipment we donated to the Iraqi army and are using them to rampage across Iraq and Syria. In early August of 2014, President Obama authorized air strikes, and our military is spending millions of dollars bombing and destroying that donated American equipment.

Pakistan is supposedly one of our few allies in that region of that world, but has been working against us since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The Pakistani government and military have been aiding and abetting Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters for over a decade, including sheltering and protecting Osama bin Laden in a small city less than 70 miles from the capital, Islamabad. Every dollar America gives to Pakistan is another dollar they can spend on threatening the lives of American soldiers and working against American interests.

Egypt is an even more serious issue. After the Camp David Accords and the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in 1979, the United States agreed to supply Egypt with military aid that nearly matches the aid given to Israel. Following the Arab Spring and 2011 Egyptian revolution, the Egyptian government has become extremely unstable, and has since been ruled by a series of religious fanatics and former military leaders. The current President of Egypt, El-Sisi, has expressed his intention to honor the peace treaty with Israel, but with broad public hostility towards Israel and various prominent Egyptians arguing the treaty should be abandoned, it is only a matter of time before Egypt is once again in conflict with Israel. When that happens, the Egyptian army will be using American weapons, tanks, and fighters to wage war on America’s most important ally and closest friend in the region.

In a time when America is struggling with debt and issues of security, can we really afford to send billions of dollars every year to countries that have no intention of supporting American interests? We need to rearrange our priorities, and make sure that when we send financial or military aid to other countries, we are helping our friends instead of our enemies. If you want to make sure that America puts America’s needs and interests first, remember to cast your write-in vote for Art Drew for President in 2016.

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