Sunday, July 6, 2014

The United States Desperately Needs to Change the Way We Give Away Foreign Aid

The United States Desperately Needs to Change the Way We Give Away Foreign Aid The US Can Learn a Lot for the Success of Islamic Charities in How to Restructure Foreign Aid to Gain Positive Results Instead of Resentment Lex Loeb Contributor Network One of the hardest things to change is a government bureaucracy. Therefore there probably is no chance that the old dog of US foreign relations can learn any new tricks which is too bad since there still is the opportunity to have increased influence in the middle east and beyond as old regimes start to collapse like dominoes after the Egyptian overthrow of Mubarak. The United States was really slow to figure out how to apply foreign aid to the situation in Iraq and seems never to have learned anything about that in Afghanistan. While the US squanders foreign aid on top down foreign aid payments to regimes all over the world , yes even including North Korea, Islamic Charities and the Iranian government have been proving they can have much more success the US by spending less. The whole idea of US foreign aid probably has to be reinvented before it is too late. One would think that the US would be better respected around the world and would not need to have President Obama going around apologizing for the foreign popular misconceptions that the US has meant to cause harm with all the foreign aid spent over 50 years. Should the US just curtail all foreign aid? In many countries where aid is given stopping it could not do more harm than the good it is supposed to be doing. If the US gets no propaganda boost for giving money and the feeding hand is being bitten, yes it is definitely time to stop the foreign aid. When the aid stops the criticism against the US will only get worse but at least we don't have to pay for it. Foreign aid withheld can always be foreign aid renewed. It is unfortunate that our government is so stupid that it would actually reward North Korea with aid funding after they attack our allies even sinking ships and killing people in an act of war. The US foreign policy bureaucracy has turned the carrot and stick nature of foreign aid in a system where the United States pays in order to get the carrot which is always kept sufficiently out of reach to keep the system moving forward. This comes with considerable expense and disparaging results. We elect a new president who then actually then starts apologizing for the fact that the US has "too much wealth" only to make maters worse. It is as if the US is supposed to have mandated requirement that we give away our money. Islamic charities are an out growth of a religion that as one of the basic pillars of that religion are required to give to charity. It is the Islamic version of Christian tithing. Saudi Arabia has given away more than 70 billion dollars in charity funding since 1975. It is a fraction of what the US gives to foreign aid but unlike US foreign aid it is directed to religious groups and religious politics. Some percentage of that aid has benefited terrorists around the world directly and indirectly. The success of Islamic charity in competing against US foreign aid around the world for respect is because the charity funds are not necessarily invested in unpopular regimes that control countries but tend to be more charitable on a local level. The difference between the US funding a regime and it's national armed forces in places like Mubarak's Egypt and Islamic Charity there is the difference between funding a regime and funding what is perceived to be an actual charity. The difference is putting money into big government of the type many of US Americans can't stand seeing in our own country or in cutting small checks to millions of needy people. US Foreign aid has never been more charitable than the foreign governments it has been given to. The people at the street level in the middle east see Islamic charity as something that they can feel in their hands but usually they never see or touch a single dollar that is given to their government officials and rulers. That is really hard to compete with . The foreign policy wonks still don't get it. Probably the reason why they don't get it is that they empower themselves by dropping foreign aid packages on ruthless regimes and other top heavy governments. It might make sense to have that kind of foreign aid if the government is friendly and you might be competing with other competing countries. The struggle between the US and the USSR is long over now and that kind of foreign aid may no longer be necessary. Client states here and client states there maybe worthwhile on some fronts but it definitely is not working very well when compared to the Islamic charity examples of an alternative means of giving aid. Foreign aid spending by the US is actually a smaller percentage of our national income than is coming from some Muslim countries in the form of Islamic charity. The total amount of us foreign aid coupled with United Nations spending by the US still dwarfs the net annual out put of many small nations. Instead of ingratiating bureaucrats with all this money it is probably the time to start moving the foreign aid spending to genuine charity. US economic development money should also be less of a government to government transfer of funds with American citizens offered big tax breaks and / or funding to go overseas and create foreigners to create viable businesses in places where they are desperately needed as for profit partnerships and not just pie in the sky foreign policy bribes to foreign regimes and bureaucrats. There has been some success with international micro loans in the third world. Putting a real American face on the money with Americans going overseas with that money in hand at a local level to help create new jobs and commerce where it is needed would make a lot more sense. Sending aid without political missionaries is a better way to make friends. In some cases sending missionaries with those dollars might not be anywhere near as bad as giving despotic regimes the money to transfer to their overseas private bank accounts. US foreign aid should be reserved for people starving to death because of lack of water or a bad harvest and the rest would be better spent on commerce. The British took over the world and they act like are somehow respectable in places like India where all they did as an empire was to strip the country of everything that was valuable and liquidate anyone opposed to them. These days the US can send foreign aid to Pakistan but the British somehow get more respect as ex-oppressors. That makes no sense. One might think that the Pakistan and India would be asking Britain for reparations but no the country that gives the most aid is treated that way. The poor rich USA. The US could counter Islamic aid charities success by funding Islamic charities but that is not the business of the US. The US should be working the way these charities do but with an emphasis on basic human rights including the right to have viable commerce . If we want to promote real democracy overseas we should be spreading money closer to the ground level than bothering with despotic governments. That is the whole secret of the success of Islamic charities and Iranian foreign aid in taking control of various countries around the world. Afghanistan can use sweatshops that pay a fair minimum wage for a days work. Why not let the US army drive in trucks or ships with sweat shops ready to go including sewing machines. Some of us would love to buy reasonable priced pairs of socks made in Afghanistan instead of having to only find the made in China variety. There is no reason we can't produce socks for about the same price as the Chinese do in a variety of countries already receiving foreign aid. The peace corp idea was mostly another American failure because it was not really a economic dynamo planting the seeds of money for capitalism and democracy . Foreign aid needs to be stopped .Gutted and reformulated as seed money of US foreign partnerships that make real sense in terms of economics. Foreign aid for defence purposes may still be necessary and of course foreign emergency aid should also continue as necessary but everything else should be cut to nothing and reconsidered. It would make a lot of sense to let Americans who have skills , their own capital and desire to travel to have the US government helping to back their efforts to go overseas and create business enterprises overseas. Why not have 20,000 america's initial travel expenses compensated instead of all the top heavy corporate contracts that are part of the foreign aid system. Helping Americans to help themselves and thereby helping foreigners to help themselves too maybe a much better model for foreign aid spending especially after seeing year after year of islamic charity success while our country gets the the bad rap and a president so stupid as to feel he has to apologize for the misconception of people who have actually benefited somewhat from US spending. . Close

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