“Why should we care?” “Let them take care of their own problems.” “We have enough problems in our own backyard!”
As of April 2017, 73% of U.S. respondents seek a decrease in funding for foreign aid.
The recently leaked State Department budget suggests how the new administration seeks to cut direct foreign aid.
But modern foreign aid is not charity. It is strategic and an investment in a stronger America abroad. At a cost of less than 1% of our entire federal budget, foreign aid is a bargain, given its ability to bolster our national security:
– By stabilizing vulnerable communities, foreign aid strengthens our national security.
– Illicit trafficking of people, arms and drugs provide safe havens for terrorists and displace innocent people, creating refugees and IDPs (internally displaced people).
Strategic aid promotes economic prosperity while bolstering self-reliance and opening markets and trading opportunities to the United States. For example, South Korea was provided strategic foreign aid after the ceasefire on the Korean peninsula in 1953, creating one of our most important allies and our 6th-largest trading partner. The return has been exponentially higher than the investment.
A real cost calculus actually shows that cutting funds for resilience-building solutions would inevitably sacrifice more with blood, through military intervention, when a conflict hits a boiling point; or toward emergency and disaster response when there are food shortages, refugee influxes, and health epidemics.