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US Republican Congress to cut foreign aid by 41%! Bravo!

There is a good news coming out of the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress. Doug Bandow of Forbes Magazine reports that Congress is cutting foreign “aid” by 41 percent this year. This a great news for the people of Ethiopia and other countries who are suffering under U.S.-financed brutal dictators. For the dictators themselves, however, it is a major blow. The good people of United States are allowing their government to hand out money to other countries out of kindness, but Americans need to understand that their hard earned money is being used by the U.S. diplomats to prop up blood thirsty dictators who are using the money to brutalize their people. See here what the U.S-backed regime in Ethiopia is doing to women and children [click here]. There are tens of thousands of similar cases of atrocities that have been committed by the U.S. puppet in Africa, Meles Zenawi. Thank You, Republicans! Shame on you, Obama and Hillary Clinton for proposing $580 million in assistance for Ethiopia’s genocidal tyrant in 2011!

Foreign Aid, Or Foreign Hindrance

By Doug Bandow |

The federal budget deficit will run a record $1.65 trillion in 2011.  So why does Washington continue to subsidize foreign governments?

The House Republicans appear determined to reduce spending, and one of their targets is foreign “aid.”  This year the State Department would lose 16% of its budget; humanitarian aid would drop by 41 percent.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns of catastrophe:  “Cuts of this magnitude will be devastating to our national security, will render us unable to respond to unanticipated disasters and will damage our leadership around the world.”

She cited the recent political upheaval in Egypt:  “We need the resources to do the job; otherwise we will pay a higher price later in crises that are allowed to simmer and boil over into conflicts.”  She also pointed to work in Afghanistan and Iraq to argue that the proposed reductions would be “detrimental to America’s security.”

Even some conservatives stand with Secretary Clinton on this issue.  For instance, Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s in-house blogger on the right, termed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) a “neo-isolationist” for proposing to cut what amounts to international welfare.

But despite Secretary Clinton’s extravagant claims, there is little evidence that foreign assistance advances U.S. interests. After all, if America writing checks — more than a trillion dollars worth since the end of World War II — made the world a better place, the globe should be at peace, the poor should be fed, and the Second Coming should be history.

Consider Egypt.  Secretary Clinton argued that events in Egypt require Americans to subsidize the new military rulers.  For what purpose?  The U.S. provided some $30 billion to Egypt over the last three decades but the country remains poor and undemocratic.   Indeed, underwriting the corrupt Mubarak dictatorship helped turn Egypt into popular volcano.

The Obama administration has proposed spending $8.7 billion in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq next year.  Yet the results of assistance programs in these three nations are no better than in Egypt.

Pakistan has been on the U.S. dole for decades.  Tom Wright of the Wall Street Journal reported last month:  “The ambitious civilian aid program is intended in part to bolster support for the U.S. in the volatile and strategically vital nation.  But a host of problems on the ground are hampering the initiative.”

The problems run deep.  Alejandro Quiro Flores and Alastair Smith of New York University charged that “The aid dynamic is similar to that of Pakistan’s war against insurgents:  as long as the United States is willing to pay Pakistan ever more to eradicate extremists, Pakistan will not decisively defeat them; the graft that counterterrorism aid brings outweighs the political cost of some continuing violence.”

The waste, inefficiency, and corruption surrounding humanitarian projects in Afghanistan and Iraq are legendary.  It doesn’t matter if these conflicts are perceived as getting better or worse.  Aid officials will always advocate an increase in funding because the situation is getting better or worse.

At least there is a security argument for trying to buttress allied governments in war.  What of the $27 billion in so-called development assistance requested for next year?  Since the end of World War II the U.S. and other wealthy nations have spent trillions of dollars trying to raise poor nations out of poverty.  These outlays have had no discernible impact on Third World economic growth.

No doubt some projects in some countries have provided some benefits.  But the detritus of failed development projects litter the globe.  Detailed cross-national studies find neither correlation nor causation between aid and growth.  Indeed, generous financial transfers to corrupt dictators often have impeded necessary reforms.  Political elites in foreign countries disagree on many things, but all want to preserve their power and position.  Observed Flores and Smith:  “Autocratic governments’ disregard for public welfare is exacerbated by international relief assistance.”

After decades of failure aid advocates claim they now are doing better.  President George W. Bush created the Millennium Challenge Corporation to reward governments with good policies.  The MCC currently is running $7.2 billion worth of multi-year programs in 20 countries.  Yet, reported the Washington Times last August, the agency:  “is giving billions of dollars to nations upbraided by the State Department for corruption in government.”

Of Senegal, observed J.P. Pham of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy:  “We have a government that did everything right, up until they got themselves into the queue to get a grant from MCC.  They know the metrics [on corruption] will lag by a few years.”  Senegal once was considered a democratic and economic “leader in West Africa,” said former deputy assistant secretary of state Todd Moss, but “What we’ve seen is a very steep and worrying decline in the last couple of years.”

The World Bank also has emphasized better governance.  Yet, reported Mary Anastasia O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal:  “In the midst of the financial turmoil that rocked the international capital markets …, the World Bank proudly announced a new $250 million ‘assistance package’ for [El Salvador].  A few months later a scandal erupted over why a similar amount of money was never accounted for on the government’s books.”

Aid incentives are all wrong.  Observed Tate Watkins of the Mercatus Center:  “Systematic foreign aid creates opportunities for corruption, cultures of dependency, and disincentives to development.  The aid faucet misaligns incentives between donors and recipients, making it extremely difficult to turn off the flow.”

Even money targeted at humanitarian needs has a disappointing record.  Disasters like the earthquake in Haiti typically open the aid spigots.  To what result?  Six months later in Haiti, reported the Wall Street Journal, “the process of reconstruction appears to have come to a halt.”

Aid groups acknowledge that progress has been limited at best.  Reported the Washington Post:  “The effectiveness of the NGOs is now being questioned, by the groups themselves, and especially by Haitian leaders who complain that NGOs have become a parallel government hobbled by poor coordination, high turnover and a lack of transparency.”

At times assistance programs have been perversely harmful.  U.S. “Food for Peace” shipments, used to dump farmers’ domestic surpluses, is notorious for ruining local farmers and thus undermining local production.  This problem continues in Haiti.  On returning from a private aid mission, Don Slesnick, the mayor of Coral Gables, Florida, complained:  “We were saddened to see rice bags travel no more than 20 yards from the gates of the distribution site before ending up in the back of a pickup truck presumably headed for the black market.  To our further dismay, we returned home to read news stories that those very same donations were undercutting Haitian rice farmers who needed income to support their own families.”

Ethiopia is the largest aid recipient in Africa.  Unfortunately, reported Tom Porteous, the London Director of Human Rights Watch:  “multi-billion dollar programs funded by the World Bank and others have been politicized and manipulated by the Ethiopian government and are used as a powerful tool of political control and repression.”

Worse is Somalia.  Even the United Nations gives aid in this tragic nation a failing grade.  Reported the New York Times last year:  “As much as half the food aid sent to Somalia is diverted from needy people to a web of corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local United Nations staff members, according to a new Security Council report.”

It’s déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra observed.  Two decades ago President George H. W. Bush intervened in Somalia to help deliver food.  Michael Maren worked with private organizations and later concluded:  “Separately we’d arrived at the conclusion that the relief program was probably killing as many people as it was saving, and the net result was that Somali soldiers were supplementing their income by selling food, while the [insurgent force] — often indistinguishable from the army — was using the food as rations to fuel their attacks into Ethiopia.”

Government should get out of the aid business.  There are limited instances when financial transfers might supplement or even substitute for defense expenditures, but the Cold War is over.  The U.S. is the sole superpower and faces no global rival.

Most of America’s allies, including regional powers Israel and Turkey, should have graduated from U.S. assistance years ago.  Most Third World nations are tangential at best to American security.  The more than $5 billion annually to support foreign arms sales is largely a subsidy for U.S. weapons producers.

While it’s hard to criticize humanitarian aid properly delivered, private money spent by private organizations is the best way to help those in need around the world.  Any assistance from Washington should be focused on temporary disasters where the U.S. government has unique logistical advantages—such as using an otherwise unemployed aircraft carrier to assist tsunami victims.

As for development assistance, American officials should focus on accelerating economic growth in America and easing access of other nations to the international marketplace.  That means reducing trade barriers.

For instance, the U.S. limits sugar imports from Caribbean.  Pakistanis would benefit far more from lower textile tariffs than from additional subsidies to their ineffective government.  One of the most important roadblocks to international trade liberalization is American and European agricultural subsidies.

Despite this abysmal record, the Obama administration is resisting cuts in domestic “foreign aid” programs, has contributed to increased World Bank outlays, and joined other industrialized nations in calling for more International Monetary Fund lending.

Secretary Clinton should listen to her own rhetoric:  “It’s time for a new mindset for a new century.  Time to retire old debates and replace dogmatic attitudes with clear reasoning and common sense.”

One of those dogmatic attitudes is assuming that foreign “aid” really acts as assistance rather than hindrance.  For too long aid advocates have camouflaged program failures with platitudes:  aid is used to “maintain American leadership around the globe,” “invest in global development,” and demonstrate that America is “paying attention” to other countries.  However, leadership means husbanding resources, setting priorities, and acknowledging limitations.  Development requires good policies, not international welfare.  Attention is worth paying for only if it yields positive results.

Washington should stop throwing good money after bad even if we were living in bountiful economic times.  With the country drowning in red ink, Washington must cut every unnecessary program.  Misnamed foreign aid is a good place to start.

16 thoughts on “US Republican Congress to cut foreign aid by 41%! Bravo!

  1. Ethiopia doesn’t need a penny from any country. What Ethiopia and Ethiopians want is good governance, acountability and transparency and some form of democracy that will hold elected public servants responsible for their action. Ethiopia is the most blessed country in the world, it has natural resources that no other country in Africa matches, it has a warm, vibrant and secular society eager to adopt western science and technology that can potentially propell our nation to the future. We don’t need aid, what we need is good agricultural policy that will impower and benefit our farmers by making them the rightful owners of their ancestorial farm lands and develope it with out the interferance of political cadres who can’t think beyound their belly and who are in most cases ill-educated. What Ethiopia needs is a government that empowers its citizens, a government that serves its country and people, if that happens, Ethiopians will be the first Africans to give aid to less fortuante countries. There is no reason why we depend on foreign food aid for 37 years now. But the disgraced Meles thrives by keeping our people poor and keeping them in abject poverty, this is cruel but a fact that the Adwa barbarian uses it as a policy thanks to his discarded and universally rejected communism ideology; the only ideology known to bring famine, drought and civil war and the only ideology that is synanmous with abject poverity and the degrdation of the human condition.

  2. The two parties in the past have been hand and glove to advance the interest of big business and wallstreet.That is, where ever the interest of transnational corporations went U.S foreign aid also went there. What accounted for this sudden change then? It could be the influence of the Tea party itself a protest movement in its own right. The slicing of foreign aid by 40% is very good news for Ethiopians. Hopefully, though, before the next U.S package is considered we will be done with Weyane.

  3. Who is saying that Brother Obama and sister Clinton need not bash their “trusted regional ally” with mountains of money and mountains of hollow praises for the ruthless and hated dictator acting as a mercenary in Ethiopia. Thy will be forced to learn the hard way just like in Tunisia and Egypt where their “trusted regional allies came to hit the road by popular uprising that is still going strong, more and more…

    Remember also that the Ethiopian minority dictator has sent part of his domestic mercenary thugs to Libya in order to help a fellow hallucinated dictator so living in the outer space. The price for those “Ethiopian mercenaries in Libya is $2000 per day. So, starting from that basic calculation what would the price for a mercenary chief be?

  4. #1.Dejazmach of Tigray,

    Come on! you dare to point fingers at communism and dictator meles’s super love for it when you know for sure that communist North Koreans parade and perform spectacular dances dressed in hypnotizing very clean and cheerfully loured uniforms and dresses after eating 7 course of nutritious daily breakfast, mid break fast, lunch, mid afternoon lunch, afternoon snacks, followed by short naps and then dinner, mid evening dinner and late night dinner followed by various equally spaced deserts and dissertations.

    If it were not for the great leader and the great communism I swear in my mother’s name and assure you those citizens wouldn’t have had the chance of enjoying such a paradise lost, sorry, I mean paradise on earth to where the most of the South Koreans line up to defect from the South, I was told.

    And then again, our beloved Meles of Tigray even if he is not a Dajazmach like your good self is trying to bring us all Ethiopians to the very level of the great North Korean great communist model paradise, but of course for him first, where we can eat wholesome slow cooked wood bark with out any of those quick, quick squicky noodle puddle soup doodle. So why don’t you please lay your hand on/off our pcrime minister? :)

  5. Ethiopia is a vassal state of the USA and the tyrant Meles Zenawi is one of America’s most important slave leader. So what are the odds an America president cuts aid to Ethiopia? Please stop giving your readers false hope!

  6. Its about time the US taxpayers put their money where their mouth is rather than financing dictators throughout Africa and Asia. Meles Zenawi’s wife went to Europe just for shopping, and spent $1.2 million dollars, this is money that was taken away from US taxpayer single mother who is having a hard time to feed her babies but forced to give her money to Ethiopia’s tyrant’s wife to spend it on her cloth and shoes. This is really unfair.

  7. Hold your horses my Ethiopian friends, you are forgetting that the Senate is controlled by Democrats and they are poised to oppose this bill by the Republican controlled congress. This is what will happen at the end of the day, the money the administration wants for “AID” will be greed to when the bill goes through the Senate, then to a reconciliation conference where the “aid” money will be part of the final bill, then the president signs it.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but US imperial interests come first, no Congress will get in the way of that, any Congressman that opposes it will be defeated in the next election, in the US money is the determining factor on who wins or loses elections, the people who control the money control the propaganda machine which in turn makes the candidate with the most money to win the election. American democracy is bought and paid for by the financial elite.

  8. Obama Advisors need to be changed on foreign policy. They are all Zionists who like to make money by selling miliatary machines.

    America needs to use more of soft power to get allies than selling military machines to keep the military companies happy.

  9. Since the criminals had entered into Ethiopia they committed a)financial crimes 2)looted and wasted the national resources c)murdered countless citizens d)sold farmlands,babies,little and young girls,and they gave away the teritories of Ethiopia.

    The united States took side with the criminals and fight Ethiopians with the financial aid it had been giving to the suppressive and oppressive system that Zinawi and his fellow criminals established and run for the last twenty years.

    I would like to point out the following:- The current US adminstration did not learn from the past mistake the American Adminstration before it made.

    Currently,there are great crises in the the world,particularly in the Middle East and Africa;the crises on adminstrating citizens of the Middle East and Africa.The US by the virtue of its fauly and unbalnced foreign policy with regard to transparency and good adminstration,people of Africa are obliged to fight not only against the dictators of their respective country,also American inefficient foreign policy.

    People’s revolution in Tunisia and Egypt had toppled the dictators that the American Adminstration supported and aided with finicial aids and weaponeries;despites the US involvement in aiding dictatores of Tunisia and Egypt,the revoluton had successfully removed American darlings from their power and sent them into exile.This is exactly what the Ethiopians revolution is going to do to Meles Zinaiwi and the brutal system he established twenty years ago with the support of the US.

    To Ethiopians,the darling of the US,Meles Zinawi is a fugitive and will definitely the revolution will capture him by the neck;of course,when Zinawi is defeated and captured,it will be the greatest humulation that the US will have in front of Ethiopians and the global communities.

    Ethiopians revolution is decisive,goal oriented,and synergetic and can never compromise with the people that it belongs to with those enemies that Ethiopians have been fighting against for the last twenty years.Our motto is revolutionary victory aganst Meles Zinawi and the systsem that put Ethiopia to the bottom.The revolution will definitely uplift the spritit of Ethiopians will elivate and augment the fighting ability of the people of Ethiopia.

    Clearly,Gadafi is fighting a loosing battle because no amount of rhetoric or weapons overcome and defeat people’s revolution;therefore,Gadafi will definitely be defeated and crumble infront of those remenat dictators like Meles Zinawi and others.

    For the US,to take a firm stand with the Ethiopians revolution is not too late;however,it is too,too late for Zinawi to submit himself to Ethiopian revolution because it is too late;what is left for Meles Zinawi is the inevitable surrunder to Ethiopians;that will definitely happen sooner.

    Gadafi is filthy a pig.Standing on a broken podium telling rhetoric full of faulty slogans will not budge Libians from their written and spoken committements and promises that they made to their country and to themselves.On this golden principle,Ethiopians will do an absolutely distinc homework of removing Meles Zinawi without a trace in the lives of Ethiopians.

    When the enemy entered into Ethiopia,it was barefoot,but had a lot of guns and bullets to loot and murder Ethiopians.Time favoured the enemy and invaded Ethiopia;it then quickly scattered allover around the country and moved into villages,towns,cities,and neighbourhoods and broke into homes and vandalized the lives of families.Today,these criminals extreely wealth due to looting the national resources of Ethiopia.Of course, Ethiopian revolution will definitely bring jutice in the open where Meles Zinawi and his criminal associates shall be tried infront of the global communities and Ethiopians.

    Long live Ethiopians revolution!!

  10. Africa can’t stand by it’s feet unless receive AID money all we have is an ego that we can do everything .
    Look at ethiopian people from Haileselassie to Mengistu and Meles famine after famine guess who come to the rescue white people as the same time we blame them believe me with out them we can’t do any
    thing by our self. just let’s forget blaming the withe people for once and let us be as one.

  11. There is no direct relation b/n US aid and dictatorship. USA is not sending a penny for Eritrean or Cuban government but these two leaders are the most dictators in the world.
    Dear Elias, there is no good news for Ethiopians for cutting their aid, we are not able to feed ourself so we nned help.

  12. It is past due time for the US to stop giving aid to dictators around the world. Even the food aid, is mainly used for political reasons in Ethiopia. Besides, no country in history developed by donation; the only way out is to depend on your self and your God given human will to till the land and feed your self. At least 50 % of the aid money goes to the executives of the donors (NGO’s and other such agencies) then about 25 % goes to the pockets of the corrupt leaders and at least 15% goes to the salaries and allowances of the local NGO employees, only the remaining 10 % goes to few of the poor people who need the aid and in whose name the millions of dollars being begged.

    With some of the reservations I have for President Isaias, I commend him highly on this regard. He told the NGO’s and aid donors Thank you but not Thank you long time ago. The donors were not willing to finance projects identified as very important for the country, instead they want to control every thing them selves.
    There are many schools, hospitals and other institutions closing because of lack of budget here in the US while the US is giving millions of dollars to many corrupt leaders to be wasted by them, their relatives and their spoiled wives and mistresses buying luxury things in Paris and other high end stores in Europe. The building of the public school my children go to is in worst condition that it is hard to imagine this school is located in one of the major US cities – the school I went to growing up in Africa is in much better condition than many of these schools.

    Try feeding the pigeons around your work or residence area every day and you will see what will happen to the pigeons; they will sleep all day and wait for free lunch instead of them using their God given instinct to go far and beyond in search of food which at the same time helps their physical, intellectual and emotional well being – the same thing happens to the people and governments who depend on aid. Please read “ Dead Aid” by Dembisa Mayo; it explains in detail why Aid is not working and that there are other better ways to help


  13. It has been a while since I gave up on Obama. The cozy relation ship between the Clintons and the Regime along Ala Moudi had been an hinderance to effectively expose the Woyanes.Despite my vote and support for Obama to bring him to the White House, my optimism that he would help bringing change on US policy to Ethiopia had been dashed out. I liked the new legislators who would like to slice the aids. As a matter of fact we should even go out and demand more cuts to give a boost. Woyanes won’t survive with out foreingn aids period.

  14. Though it is good that the US reduces its funding to dictators, I think this particular policy is not gonna be of much use. It might even lead to many people suffering due to absence of relief aid. This is because the reduction comes from humanitarian aid which largely funds relief assistances such food and free medicine for HIV/AIDS patients. The main source of corruption is what is called official development assistance (ODA) that goes to funding “development projects” such as infrastructure. The woyane government for example benefits a lot from aids for construction projects. But the main beneficiaries of free medicine provided to HIV patients in Ethiopia (funded by the US government) are the patients themselves (than woyane). Many of the AIDS patients in Ethiopia are gonna fall if the free medicines stop.

  15. I have tried to be logical and rational and neutral and silent all these days! This time, I saw something senseless, blind and uninformed to what really the situation is. I have never been the supporter of or the organ less enemy of EPRDF. I cannot say the aid money has not benefited the poor. But I cannot guarantee that it has been rightly utilized for the development( if at all that is what some part of the aid is really serving. If the aid money is not going to Ethiopia, do you think it is the whatsoever rulers that pay any cost? I feel sad to read “There is a good news coming out of the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress. Doug Bandow of Forbes Magazine reports that Congress is cutting foreign “aid” by 41 percent this year. This a great news for the people of Ethiopia and other countries who are suffering under U.S.-financed brutal dictators. For the dictators themselves, however, it is a major blow”. That is blow to the poor at large and the aid organizations to some extent but not to the rulers as you are referring to.
    The sad comment I read among some is the one that reads “Ethiopia is the most blessed country in the world, it has natural resources that no other country in Africa matches”. What an arrogance!! We are always ignorant to our other African brothers history and natural gifts. Ethiopia needs aid that should neither be for the benefit of the donors nor the rulers, but for the development purpose of its people.
    I dont dare to say that the money has never been wasted ( due to the problems on both the donors and the recipients sides). EPRDF is waking from its deep sleep thanks to the lives of Ethiopians ( martyrs) of 2005.

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