Foreign Aid and the Destruction of America

Foreign Aid and the Destruction of America

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Before extending aid to other countries, we should focus on our more prevalent domestic problems. Patrick Buchanan said, "The idea that we should send endless streams of tax dollars all over the world, while our own country sinks slowly in an ocean of debt is, well, ludicrous. Almost every American knows it, feels it, believes it." The topic of United States foreign policy is greatly debated, and a decision on how to handle is very hard to come by. It seems as if we are finally leaning towards less aid to foreign countries, as we try to cut wasteful spending. The American government is finally opening its eyes to the realization that all of the aid we are giving out may not be worth it. Our priority should be to help our homeless, instead of other countries' poor.

Each year, the United States of America pours billions and billions of dollars into its foreign aid program. We are a rich nation, and also very generous. We are willing to sacrifice American lives to save those of other countries. Doesn't this sound like a nice thing to do? I didn't think so. It is simply a matter of getting our priorities straight, and getting back onto the track of making our country the best it can be; the right track.

Our country is the country of, for, and by the people, and yet we aren't doing enough to help ourselves. More and more people are moving out of their houses and into the streets every day; people are getting addicted to drugs; men, women, and children are dying from violence. Yet we still insist on helping others. Obviously there are enough problems here for the government to worry about, and we are need focus on these problems which need to be solved.

Throughout our history, we have needed many countries as friends and we have also been friends to many countries that needed us. If we feel today that we have to keep up these friendships simply to maintain tradition, then we are completely wrongly. WE NEED TO HELP OURSELVES! In 1995, the United States government cut Medicare, a program aimed at helping needy Americans, by $252 billion; yet, we only cut foreign aid, a program aimed at helping other countries' needy, by only $1 billion (Reese 5). There is something really wrong with this.

One would think that the money and other resources we invest in foreign aid, would help solve every problem in the world.

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However, we do not give aid to where it is needed most. Not enough aid is given towards basic assistance. Only 2.5% of all of our foreign aid is given to health and education. Only 4% is given towards helping with water and sanitation.And 7.5% is given to help agriculture. These should be our priority, especially the 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty - people with an annual salary under $370. If we are going to be so generous to help others, we should give it to where it can to the most good.

Even when we give aid, we have no idea whether that country is using the aid wisely or correctly. They could be using the money to buy drugs or, even, to buy the weapons that are used against us. For example, Israel uses arms we give them for offensive incursions into Lebanon, which is completely against our principles. Israel even sells U.S. technology to third parties. Nevertheless, we still give them whatever they ask for.

Foreign aid is a very important program, but why so much? Obviously, if there is a country recovering from a natural disaster, e.g., a hurricane, tornadoes, floods, or famine, they need our help. However, we need to distinguish between the times when a country is amidst a crisis and needs our help and when it is just struggling. Since our country is struggling as well, we cannot help other suffering countries before we help ourselves. "I would phase out foreign economic aid completely and retain only funds for humanitarian aid in the event of calamities and other crises." (Buchanan) We are a world power, and we have the resources to help others, but not all the time and not to such a high degree.. We need to follow Mr. Buchanan's example and cut our foreign aid, to help only those who really need the help.

The average American citizen realized long ago that we shouldn't be giving so much to other countries, but the government still thinks the foreign aid program has merit. It doesn't. "If one were to conduct a national opinion survey to discover which federal program a stressed-out Middle American most wanted to abolish, the runaway winner would be: foreign aid" (Buchanan). According to the Constitution, the government cannot tax American citizens for the purpose of giving aid to foreign countries. People should have the choice of whether or not they want to give money to others, and the amount which they want to give.

There is no justification whatsoever for foreign aid in the 1990s. The Constitution did not establish a welfare agency for miscellaneous indigent and/or greedy foreign nations. Nowhere in the Constitution can you find so much as a word that would justify taxing the American people to provide benefits to people in foreign countries. (Reese 6)

Since nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government authorized to tax Americans for the economic benefit of foreign countries, all such foreign aid must be terminated. Those Americans wishing to contribute to the economic welfare of foreign countries will be free and have money to do so, once the government is barred from such practices. (

What the United States government does for the world is all well and great, but we can do better things and become a greater nation by lessening foreign aid. We are not living up to our full potential as the world's greatest nation. Our national security is not in trouble, our status in the world is certainly not in trouble, and overall our country is functioning decently. However, look at our debt. Over 25 percent of our ridiculously high debt is due to foreign aid and money we have lent to other countries. This money could be diverted to national programs. We could end welfare and put an end to Americans' struggle for food by stopping all of the foreign aid and cutting back on a few other programs.

We do not even need the help of other countries. First of all, our army doesn't need any help. Americans, by way of taxes, already give enough for national security and for building the most powerful and dominating military force in the world. We simply do not have to give monetary, military, or any other types of aid so that other countries will help us with our national security. Next, it is obvious that giving aid does not help us with our overseas interests, either. Many countries that we help still do not support America's foreign policy goals, even after we send them millions of dollars and whatever else they need. The easiest way to show this is by looking at the voting record at the United Nations. If there was a connection between foreign aid and winning friends overseas, the voting of countries at the UN should be in coordination with ours. This is not the case, however. Here are some figures to ponder over:

--Sixty-four percent of United States foreign aid recipients voted against the U.S. a majority of the time.

--The ten countries that voted against the United States most frequently in 1995, still received $212 million in foreign aid in 1996.

--Seven of the ten largest recipients of United States foreign aid voted against the U.S. a Crandall 5 majority of the time.

--Egypt, the second largest recipient of United States foreign aid voted against the U.S. sixty-seven percent of the time. Egypt received $2.2 billion in U.S. foreign aid in 1996.

--Of the ten countries that voted with the U.S. most often, nine are former Soviet bloc countries.

--Haiti, where President Clinton sent American troops to restore deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, voted against the U.S. sixty percent of the time during 1995. The United States still sent $124 million in foreign aid to Haiti in 1996. (Johnson 1-2)

Our government is an extremely overblown, inefficiently run organization. The United States government has too much power and does not use their rights and privileges correctly. The government's function should be to keep a nation running smoothly and efficiently and to run programs that help the people. They should not have ultimate control over all that they do. The military, welfare, basically everything falls under government jurisdiction. There is no way that the government can keep all of these organizations running as well as they would if controlled by individuals or states. They care too much about America's appearance and reputation around the world. Our government always wants to impress them with our resources. The government doesn't, however, always try to be there for its people, the American citizens. Most countries, other than our own see America as a wonderful nation, free of problems, and always willing to lend a hand. Those living in America know this isn't the truth. President Clinton, the most powerful man in the world, still does not realize what every common citizen in America can and does. That being that we shouldn't give so much away to help other countries. When asked what he would do about continuing the policy of sending aid to Israel, Egypt, and other middle eastern countries during his second term of office if reelected, President Clinton responded: U.S. assistance to Israel and Egypt furthers our national security interests. We must continue to play our historic role in fostering peace and stability in the Middle East. Helping those parties in the region who are striving for genuine peace is one of my administration's top foreign policy objectives. I am not sure what the President is trying to say here. It seems as if he is saying that we need to continue our tradition of giving money away, but the time is different now, and we can no longer give so much away. Also, times and situations have also changed for the countries receiving aid. Israel and Egypt have made peace, and Israel is also on peaceful terms with Jordan and the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization). Iraq's military, a main threat to many Mid-East countries, was crushed in the Gulf War. And Syria has lost its Soviet arms supplier. Therefore, we need to change our policy also.

When Mr. Clinton called a meeting between Yassir Arafat and Isreali Prime Minister Rabin at the White House for peace negotiations, I thought it was one of the best and most useful actions I have witnessed the United States government do in my lifetime. It was a "genuine stride for peace." President Clinton wanted the two sides involved in the controversy to talk things over, and he provided a meeting ground, along with a little third party opinion. However, we do not need to continue sending billions and billions of dollars in aid to these countries. Responsible, grown adults control these countries and should be able to work out their own problems. Granted we can give them a little help here and there where needed, but, for goodness sake don't treat them like spoiled babies. We give them money and whatever else they ask for, as if we are their parents and are supposed to provide for them. Well, this isn't the case. All countries need to fend for themselves, the same as every adult in this world.

Now Clinton is trying to dig up $6.5 billion to loan to Russia, and then follow that up with another $6 billion. The first $6.5 billion will finance a quarter of Russia's deficit. The sad thing is that the next generation of Americans are the ones who are going to pay for this. Not Russia, not Bill Clinton, not even anyone living today, but future American citizens. Is this fair? I don't think so. (Black 2)

Fascinating: The U.S.A., now greatest debtor nation history, is out borrowing tens of billions of dollars yearly -- going ever deeper in debt -- to help other countries reduce their debts. Greater love than this has no nation, that it should lay down its life for its Ôfriends.' (Buchanan) America does not borrow money to pay off its debts, but to pay off other countries' debts and to solve their problems. The government takes our tax dollars to pay off other countries' debts and solve their problems, not ours. Now why is this allowed to happen? It is simply absurd.

Lets take a look at the amount of aid we send in a different way. Just the $6.5 billion being sent to Russia. With this amount of money, we could give 162,500 families $40,000, a respectable yearly salary. And this is only the aid we send to one country, not even our biggest receiver of aid. Now, what if we gave those million soldiers we sent to Bosnia, just to keep the peace, into New York. They could aid the police force, help soup kitchens, fix rundown buildings and areas, and even build new homes. However, our government would rather help keep Bosnia peaceful. I mean, what is this?

If you were to walk down the crowded streets of any big city, you would see homeless men and women, and sometimes even children, begging for spare change at every corner. There is no reason this should be happening, right in front of our eyes. There is no reasonable answer to the question of why this is happening, and why our government is letting it happen. The government seems to be preoccupied with their worldwide reputation. We need to put that aside for a while and set our priorities straight. We need to be selfish for once, and not cut our Medicare by $252 billion. We need to solve our own problems before they get out of control.

Most Americans do not support money going overseas, and the government, especially the President, are supposed to execute the people's wishes. The Constitution, the basic law we abide by, does not give the government the power to tax Americans for the purpose of giving money to foreign countries. So why is the U.S. spending so much money on countries that obviously care little about America's interests overseas? And why is the Clinton Administration fighting to save this program when nearly every American citizen is opposed to it? There are no logical answers to these questions and no reasonable explanation for sending so much foreign aid to other countries. We just do it. So, before extending aid to other countries, we should think about focusing on our more prevalent domestic problems.
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