• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!
  • Welcome to our archives. No new posts are allowed here.

Foreign Aid: End or Continue?

Connecticutter

Active member
Joined
Jun 25, 2005
Messages
432
Reaction score
0
Location
New Haven, CT
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
I'm not so sure about this issue, so I want to see what some of you have to say.

At first glance, I feel that we (the US) give a lot of money to countries that simply don't need it. Countries that do need it often times need it because they have a dictator and the dictator will just usurp the money anyways. Sometimes our foreign aid money is used on both sides of a war or an arms race. Besides, if we just stopped, that could help alleviate our deficit.

Then again, foriegn aid might be used to gain some political leverage over other countries, and thus maintain some sort of a world order. For example, we give a lot to Israel and Egypt. Relations between those two countries are shakey, but maybe they don't go to war because they know that they will lose our foreign aid money.

What do you think?
 

jakurus

Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
90
Reaction score
0
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
I think you need to read more about this for yourself. You're in the infantile stages of foriegn relations and you spell too many words wrong.
 

Alastor

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
645
Reaction score
45
Location
Reality
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
Connecticutter said:
I'm not so sure about this issue, so I want to see what some of you have to say.

At first glance, I feel that we (the US) give a lot of money to countries that simply don't need it. Countries that do need it often times need it because they have a dictator and the dictator will just usurp the money anyways. Sometimes our foreign aid money is used on both sides of a war or an arms race. Besides, if we just stopped, that could help alleviate our deficit.

Then again, foriegn aid might be used to gain some political leverage over other countries, and thus maintain some sort of a world order. For example, we give a lot to Israel and Egypt. Relations between those two countries are shakey, but maybe they don't go to war because they know that they will lose our foreign aid money.

What do you think?
We spend nae damn on foreign aid, and it wouldn't help alleviate a damned thing in terms of the deficit, if we even bothered to put the money there. We simply don't pump enough cash into it.

Dollar for dollar, comparing GNP amongst nations, the US gives about the same as everyone else - less than 1% of our yearly earnings. Not a "little less" either; a lot less.

What we get in exchange for that though, is kind of subjective, not quantifiable, but certainly does exist. We give money to Israel. This year I think we're slated to give them 700 million dollars. Not much. Of that 700 mil, they're scheduled to give us 450 mil back. Total that's 250 mil we're giving them that they're not giving back. 250 million is enough to run ten F-16s for about a year, presuming you already have the fighters purchased and they don't get shot up or drop any bombs (because those are expensive).

But what we get back is the right to say, "We give you money. We've built schools here, and hospitals there, and houses here, and a dam there, and we're good people and we're friends, so you should do what we want."

It also tells certain people which sides we're on such that would be hostile entities stop and think, "Well, they give our enemy money every year, they're friends. Clearly if we mess with one, we're messing with the other even if it is just a little bit."

Plus it's good publicity.

But holding back wouldn't really help the defecit. We're talking about a truly tiny portion of the budget that goes to foreign aid every year. If you really wanted to cut the deficit down, you'd go after pork-barrel spending, the current tax structure, the way we continually raid the Social Security and Welfare coffers, and you'd cut some of the truly high end and preposterous military proposals we have going (who the Hell pays 2 billion for a single airplane in the first place!?).
 

cnredd

Major General Big Lug
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2005
Messages
8,682
Reaction score
262
Location
Philadelphia,PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Conservative
Alastor said:
Dollar for dollar, comparing GNP amongst nations, the US gives about the same as everyone else - less than 1% of our yearly earnings. Not a "little less" either; a lot less.
Do the non-monetary contributions help?

Sending warships to tsunami areas to coordinate humanitarian aid? Using space shuttles to send all of the satellites up to improve global communications? The scientic research done to slow down the spread of disease? Did you know that malaria was virtually wiped out in Panama because of the US? How about the excess grain from the midwest that is sent directly to Africa? What about sending the supplies needed after EVERY earthquake and volcano in the last 50 years? Does any of that count or would you like to continue to hold a negative view?
 

cnredd

Major General Big Lug
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2005
Messages
8,682
Reaction score
262
Location
Philadelphia,PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Conservative
You know the saying...

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day...

Teach a man to fish, and the elistist Europeans will tell you that you come from an egotistical country that selfishly rapes the world of all its resources in the name of greed...
 

Naughty Nurse

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
1,972
Reaction score
12
Location
The UK
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
cnredd said:
You know the saying...

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day...

Teach a man to fish, and the elistist Europeans will tell you that you come from an egotistical country that selfishly rapes the world of all its resources in the name of greed...
It's Sunday. Go to church.
 

cnredd

Major General Big Lug
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2005
Messages
8,682
Reaction score
262
Location
Philadelphia,PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Conservative
Naughty Nurse said:
It's Sunday. Go to church.
Why?...Oh yeah...you group all Christians together...forgot about that...

Nope. Haven't been to a non-wedding or non-funeral mass in about 17 years.

But continue painting with the broad brush...no, please....continue...
 

superskippy

Active member
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Messages
377
Reaction score
2
Location
Tel'Aviv (when not on duty.)
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
You know the saying...

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day...

Teach a man to fish, and the elistist Europeans will tell you that you come from an egotistical country that selfishly rapes the world of all its resources in the name of greed...


Excellent way of putting it.
 

Naughty Nurse

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
1,972
Reaction score
12
Location
The UK
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
cnredd said:
Nope. Haven't been to a non-wedding or non-funeral mass in about 17 years.
And I'm sure the church is eternally grateful.

BTW, if you don't want to be painted with a broad brush, don't do it to others.
 

Alastor

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
645
Reaction score
45
Location
Reality
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
Since in the modern world, it takes money to make money, when we give them money we're teaching them to fish.

Your proverb is a point for my side.

Sending warships to tsunami areas to coordinate humanitarian aid? Using space shuttles to send all of the satellites up to improve global communications? The scientic research done to slow down the spread of disease? Did you know that malaria was virtually wiped out in Panama because of the US?
We quantify things such as sending warships into disaster areas as FEMA and humanitarian aid. We apply the prices for the gas and such and include that in our package; it's already accounted for. So yes, that counts.

As far as communication satelites and the like go, we don't use our government satelites for the other teams. We do use commercial satelites for the other teams and guess why? Because we make money off of it. I assure you the phone companies are not losing money on their cell phone deals globally. If they did, they simply wouldn't provide the service to those regions. In other words, our satelites help extract the wealth we might have injected into those nations to begin with.

How about the excess grain from the midwest that is sent directly to Africa?
As opposed to letting it rot in the warehouses since we don't use it all? Or we could put it on the market and cause a global produce price crash, launching another 80's era inflation boom. We send it to Africa at a quantified rate, again already accounted for in the budget. This is where much of our "government sibsidised" stuff goes already. I'm certain you're familiar with the program where we pay farmers to grow things, and then not sell them - we take their crops (during the years they're scheduled to grow some) and we pay them a yearly sum. The reason we do this is exactly what I mentioned above - to prevent a flood of produce into the market, causing a farm and ranch market crash.

What about sending the supplies needed after EVERY earthquake and volcano in the last 50 years?
Well, almost every first world nation does that. And again, we've already accounted for it in our budgets for contingincies. When and if we exceed that, it gets expressed as a monetary amount based on what it cost us to do whatever we did.

Does any of that count or would you like to continue to hold a negative view?
It's not a negative view, it's a realistic and accurate view. Governments are pragmatic. They do what is in the best interest of their people. This isn't a fairy-tale, this is real life. That's what a government is designed to do, and our government is just like every other government in the world in that we do our best to fulfill our objectives.

I'm sorry we're not the great temple of giving and purity you thought we were. Personally, I'm content with a government that focuses on keeping its nation strong and safe. I don't consider that a negative view at all. I consider it realistic. However, I consider yours to be somewhat fantastic and imaginative, based likely on the spin you hear us weave in the media and a lack of understanding of how governments truly function.

But that spin is exactly why we pay for the stuff we pay for. If you'd like to check the numbers there are plenty of sites out there that do just that. Try to find one that counts how much we give away as well as what we're "given back" if you go looking though. Or I'll spare you the trouble; dollar for dollar we're on par with everyone else in terms of GNP. We, like most other nations, spend less than 1% of our yearly money on gifts to other nations, and it's purely to lay the basis of diplomatic sway.
 

Alastor

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
645
Reaction score
45
Location
Reality
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
Now, Cnredd, you might not like this site because rather than simply paint a happy face on things and sling propogandized statements around, it uses actual numbers and checkable calculations.

This undoubtedly will be met with a great deal of huffery-puffery on your part, since you deem this to be a negative position to take (regardless of its accuracy).

Personally, I don't think it's such a bad thing, but upon looking around more I find this to be consistent with most of the sites I found about the US and our foreign aid programs:

Even though these targets and agendas have been set, year after year almost all rich nations have constantly failed to reach their agreed obligations of the 0.7% target. Instead of 0.7%, the amount of aid has been around 0.2 to 0.4%, some $100 billion short.
USA’s aid, in terms of percentage of their GNP has almost always been lower than any other industrialized nation in the world, though paradoxically in the last four years, their dollar amount has been the highest. (Only in 2004 did they move up from last place by one.)
Since 1992, Japan had been the largest donor of aid, in terms of raw dollars. That was until 2001 when the United States reclaimed that position, a year that also saw Japan’s amount of aid drop by nearly 4 billion dollars (as tables and charts below will also show).
So... it's actually not even as generous as I made it out to be.

Since I don't have an imagined belief that we're the white knights of the world and that our government foolishly helps everyone for no good reason other than to be nice, I don't consider this information to be "negative" at all. I see foreign aid for what it is; a diplomatic tool. You should feel free to perceive it how you like, however. I don't like it when my hopes about how good or great we are turn out to be false either.



Also from the same site:

Around the world for numerous years, many have criticized the US for cutting back on its promised obligations and responsibilities, and that furthermore, when it has provided aid, it has been tied to its own foreign policy objectives. Yet, many rich nations that provide aid can be criticized in a similar way.
Just thought I'd throw that in there to reinforce my comments above that it's a diplomatic tool for us, and everyone else, and really not much more than that.

If one simply accepts that this is what it is, a tool to provide diplomatic sway, then one sees the value of it. It's only when we place false and ill-founded hope in some irrational belief that we're the great savior of the world that one finds this information to be a bummer.

Again, I'm simply content to find that my government is doing what it needs to do to provide for our well-being. Everything else is gravy, and if I really wanted to save the world I'd sell all my crap and give the money to Zimbabwe.

I haven't. Neither have you.

It'd be nice to think that we're the great, mega-generous nation that helps everyone around the world all the time without pushing for our own agenda. It would also be incredibly naive.
 
Last edited:

jakurus

Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
90
Reaction score
0
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
What do you mean by "diplomatic tool" ? If you mean that we use it only for our own direct benefit, that's incorrect.

We use aid to help make the world a better place because it's in our interest, and sometimes because we feel obligated to help out in some situations.

So you're partially wrong if you think aid is only used to gain something like power for the United States.
 

Alastor

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
645
Reaction score
45
Location
Reality
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
What do you mean by "diplomatic tool" ? If you mean that we use it only for our own direct benefit, that's incorrect.

We use aid to help make the world a better place because it's in our interest, and sometimes because we feel obligated to help out in some situations.

So you're partially wrong if you think aid is only used to gain something like power for the United States.
No, not at all. We're getting into the complexities of it here though, so bear with me.

Of course not all of our aid directly benefits us. We give much aid to Mexico for example, and they're supposed to use it to fight the drug trade, build schools and waterways, etc, so that they stop flooding in here. And of course we like and care about them too.

We give money to Israel, not because Israel actually needs the money though - they've done pretty well at making their own. We do it to express friendship and send signals. It does help when and if we need to sit down and say, "Now, Israel. We know you got blown up again. Please do not invade and subsequently kick the crap out of all 10 of your neighbors and enemies again. It would disrupt our economy, and that would mean we couldn't give you more money."

Sometimes, sure, we do genuinely give aid just to give aid - like during the tsunamis. But we got good press out of it, and we got to show our aid workers to the world via satelite, and we likely got some good friends and connections, as well as a few contracts for our mega-corporations out of running to the rescue as well.

But we like them too. And they're our friends. And it's the right thing to do.

I'm not being sarcastic either. Multiple motives can and usually do exist. I have spent some time in foreign affairs now, and I have yet to see an instance where we simply gave money to someone "just because" and didn't get anything out of it nor ask for something in return.

No, we don't aid our enemies... well, except Korea... and Iran... and Afghanistan... and... wait... this is a bad argument.

We try to avoid aiding our enemies monetarily, but we often have to just because the benefits we get out of it are greater than the monetary value itself is.

I don't recall ever seeing an instance where we gave money or aid to someone without getting something back out of it in return.

But no, I don't argue that the motives are exclusively diplomatic. Some of the motives are emotional and compassionate too... but it is not compassion alone that opens up our checkbook to other nations in the world.
 

teacher

DP Veteran
Joined
May 20, 2005
Messages
5,980
Reaction score
30
Location
Nomad.Got a couch,beer,meat,cute daughters,Batman
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Alastor.

God damn Alastor, slit your wrists and get it the fuc*k over with. According to you we are the worst place in the known universe. I could list a million things the US does but you would find some bullshit way to say it was in our best interest or to pad the administrations favorite corporation's coffers. You just plain hate the US. Don't bother replying. It's in everyone of your posts. Your profile says Republican. I doubt that. You would be the first Republican I've ever met that hated America so. We gave aid to the Tsunami victims for good press? God damn you are a depressing SOB. Does anybody ever do anything good in their lives just because it's the right thing to do? How about this. I've found three wallets in the last half year. One had thousands in it. I turned them in. All I got was a good feeling. There is your "just because". I get the feeling with you no matter what we do it's not good enough for you or done for the right reasons. Give me your address and I'll send you a razor.
 

jakurus

Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
90
Reaction score
0
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Some congressman have most definitely gotten some aid to some places "just because." It happens. It may not be for no reason at all, that wouldn't make sense, but it's hard to apply realist foriegn policy to the real world.
 

Urethra Franklin

Folle
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
3,579
Reaction score
979
Location
European Union
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Globally restructure this abundant planet.
Dump capitalism which has kept people in poverty and starvation for years.
Introduce international socialism.
Eliminate the NEED for aid.
Sure, nobody will be rich.
But if carefully implemented nobody will starve or live in poverty either.
I know which kind of world I'd rather live in. Socialism is good for people.
 

Naughty Nurse

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
1,972
Reaction score
12
Location
The UK
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Liberal
Urethra Franklin said:
Globally restructure this abundant planet.
Dump capitalism which has kept people in poverty and starvation for years.
Introduce international socialism.
Eliminate the NEED for aid.
Sure, nobody will be rich.
But if carefully implemented nobody will starve or live in poverty either.
I know which kind of world I'd rather live in. Socialism is good for people.
Sadly, I think not in our life time, Urethra. If ever at all. :(
 

Urethra Franklin

Folle
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
3,579
Reaction score
979
Location
European Union
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
galenrox said:
Just like in France how there are people who don't work cause they get more on welfare than working in a shitty job, it would be like that.
.

No, there are people not working in France, as in the US, because capitalism creates unemployment. Perhaps in the US you allow freeloading, but in France you are periodically called to interview to justify your situation if you are unemployed. You must provide evidence of having applied for jobs. Job interviews are organised for you, by an oraganisation which matches your qualifications/skills with vacancies in the area. If you refuse an offer you must justify your refusal (a non-justifiable refusal results in loss of benefit). These interviews are tough. Those who are genuinely unemployed receive benefit (two thirds of you former salary for the first six months, then diminishing to half, and after a year, a bare minimum subsistence rate). I find this system perfectly fair, but I would prefer full employment as many former communist societies provided.
 

Alastor

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
645
Reaction score
45
Location
Reality
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
God damn Alastor, slit your wrists and get it the fuc*k over with. According to you we are the worst place in the known universe.
That's not true. I've never said anything of the sort. I'll say again that I'm rather pleased with our country, and I understand the purpose of governments, so I set realistic expectations and generally am not shocked when I find out we're not some fairy-tale entity.

I'm not at all upset that we do the smart and practical thing in politics, and that my nation looks out for our best interests. That's a good thing to me. Just because the facts I've listed would burst your bubble and your unrealistic perception of what our nation is, doesn't mean I'd be cryin' about it.

If you don't like the facts I've listed, perhaps you could address them and show us where they're wrong? Oh, no... I guess we'll just sit here and make things up like you did in the quote above, and insist that I am somehow all down on America because I see governments for what they are.

I could list a million things the US does but you would find some bullshit way to say it was in our best interest or to pad the administrations favorite corporation's coffers.
Show instances where this is not the case, and there's not much I can say to it, is there?

You just plain hate the US. Don't bother replying. It's in everyone of your posts.
Heh, wrong again. But okay, you tell yourself what you want. Just because I disagree with you, and because I don't share the dillusions of a child when it comes to political pragmatism hardly means I hate my country.

Your profile says Republican. I doubt that.
I'm not surprised. I'll try and get over the emotional damage done by you doubting my political affiliation.

You would be the first Republican I've ever met that hated America so. We gave aid to the Tsunami victims for good press? God damn you are a depressing SOB. Does anybody ever do anything good in their lives just because it's the right thing to do? How about this. I've found three wallets in the last half year. One had thousands in it. I turned them in. All I got was a good feeling. There is your "just because". I get the feeling with you no matter what we do it's not good enough for you or done for the right reasons. Give me your address and I'll send you a razor.
Heh, really this no longer merits a response. I appreciate you making me look so smart, level-headed and reasonable though.

Perhaps you should avoid these kinds of convos if you can't handle them though. I mean I don't mind... but I'd be sort of ashamed if roles were reversed, so maybe you'd do better at another forum. Here, try this one out. It seems more your speed.
 

Urethra Franklin

Folle
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
3,579
Reaction score
979
Location
European Union
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
galenrox said:
We have the same policy for unemployment as you, but it is also known that it isn't particularly hard to make it seem like you're looking for a job and still stay unemployed, and with welfare at the level that it's in in France, it would seem to be a very attractive option. Like, you can apply, and get an interview, and then say **** in the interview that would lead to you not getting the job.

We're generally talking about unqualified, unrewarding jobs here, for which the "interview" is often, "You're breathing, you're hired"
 

Alastor

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
645
Reaction score
45
Location
Reality
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
God damn Alastor, slit your wrists and get it the fuc*k over with. According to you we are the worst place in the known universe.
I was thinking about this when I went and took a shower. In reality, I think you have the more pessimistic view of our nation, and by no small amount.

Really, I find there to be enough good things about our nation that I don't need to rely on childish myths to feel good about my country. I understand reality, and I understand our shortcomings and accomplishments, and have learned to see the good in what genuinely is good rather than make things up to make myself feel better about my nation.

Meanwhile it's clear from your statements in this thread that you rely on the fiction produced by pop-culture and thirty second sound bites to have a positive attitude about our nation, and when confronted with evidence that those myths are just that; myths, you get very defensive and start claiming there's nothing good to be said by whoever makes the assertion.

Care to tell us why you feel that if we don't give money away like insane millionaires there's nothing good left in the country? Is your perception of our country so dismal and depressing that you rely on this, and only this, to substantiate any warm feelings or sense of pride you might have in your country?

Now that is a pessimistic view if I ever heard one - and an uneducated one as well.

We do lots of stuff that's good and that we can take pride in. Foreign aid isn't one of them. If your entire perception of our nation relies on this one myth about how generous we are as a nation, then I'd question your ability or willingness to see the good we actually do do.
 
Last edited:

Calm2Chaos

DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Messages
3,967
Reaction score
7
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Does it really matter how much is given. Billions upon billions in foreign aid. And even more in private donations from the US. And no matter whats given there is always going to be people that say it's not enough. Some countries can give more because thay have no real drain on the economies. Some give less because they want to. Lets face it 19 Billion in 2004, what were we thinking. Another 34 Billion is private donations, we should be ashamed of ourselves :roll:
 

jakurus

Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
90
Reaction score
0
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Alastor,

Just because you know that a country operates for its own interest most of the time does not make you an expert.

You sound like you are still in the prepubescent phases of foriegn policy knowledge. If I want generalizations about countries "self-interest" I'll read some shitty wikipedia article.
 

Connecticutter

Active member
Joined
Jun 25, 2005
Messages
432
Reaction score
0
Location
New Haven, CT
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Calm2Chaos said:
Does it really matter how much is given. Billions upon billions in foreign aid. And even more in private donations from the US. And no matter whats given there is always going to be people that say it's not enough. Some countries can give more because thay have no real drain on the economies. Some give less because they want to. Lets face it 19 Billion in 2004, what were we thinking. Another 34 Billion is private donations, we should be ashamed of ourselves :roll:
Yeah, that's true. We also pay for a large military that defends a large portion of the world. People don't consider this aid, but its a service that we provide nontheless and if we didn't provide it many countries would have to pay more for their own national defense.

Its also interesting how the UN doesn't consider private donations to be aid. First it must be taken from us through taxes, then some people take their cut of the money, and only then is it considered aid.
 

Alastor

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2005
Messages
645
Reaction score
45
Location
Reality
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
jakurus said:
Alastor,

Just because you know that a country operates for its own interest most of the time does not make you an expert.

You sound like you are still in the prepubescent phases of foriegn policy knowledge. If I want generalizations about countries "self-interest" I'll read some shitty wikipedia article.
Heh. Did you have an argument to make about some part of the discussion or are you just here to show us how things go on the playground?
 
Top Bottom