This issue of foreign aid is one that is greatly contested between the parties. Democratic views on foreign aid include the belief that the United States should provide aid to disadvantaged countries. This includes raising the budget for foreign aid in order to provide further assistance to these countries and forgiving their debts to the U.S. as necessary. Through these means, they hope to close the gap between rich and poor countries. Democrats believe that these strategies will not only aid these countries in the short term, but will help them to build infrastructures that will help their economies in the long run, stating, “we should use our influence in multilateral development institutions to not only provide emergency assistance for stabilizing economies and to create social safety nets, including unemployment insurance and health care, but also to give people the skills, education and training they need to compete.” They hope to use monetary assistance to feed both financial and monetary goals in foreign countries. Democrats believe in aiding with health care, worker’s compensation issues, and general financial aid. Democrats believe in a policy of Forward Engagement when it comes to any foreign policy issues, and this includes foreign aid. This means that they believe in addressing problems early on, before they have devolved into crises.
U.S. Aid In Africa
Democrats believe strongly in the U.S. providing aid to Africa, particularly to address health issues on this continent. They believe that aiding Africa with addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic is not only a humanitarian effort but is also in the best interest of the U.S., stating, “the HIV/AIDS pandemic in southern and eastern Africa is a massive human tragedy and a security risk of the highest order that threatens to plunge nations into chaos.” Democrats also believe in providing aid to Africa that will help end the starvation that is prominent in many countries. Many Democrats hope that an alleviation of this issue may also alleviate other crises within Africa. They believe that the U.N. should be involved in this concern, stating, “we must also work with the UN and Africa’s regional organizations to address Africa’s persistent, disproportionate share of the world’s weak, failing states and chronic armed conflicts, and to promote effective relief efforts when there is a humanitarian crisis.”
U.S. Aid In Latin America
Democrats support aid in Latin America more for governmental concerns than for humanitarian and health reasons. First and foremost, Democrats believe that aiding Latin America keeps the U.S. on good terms with its regional neighbors. They also hope that by aiding countries that are making efforts to build democratic governments we are fostering the spread of democracy throughout the world, stating, “we are committed to strong and steady support for democratic processes and institutions in our hemisphere. We believe that democratic governments deserve our support, and that we should exercise our considerable diplomatic and moral force in support of democratically elected leaders.” Democrats like to keep nations that have made efforts to democratize their governments a priority when determining where foreign aid money would be best spent.
Barack Obama on Foreign Aid
President Obama is certainly an advocate for increased foreign aid spending. Before President Obama took office in 2008, foreign aid spending had been trending down. Between the years of 2008 and 2012, it increased by 80 percent. This money has been spent on a variety of causes, including the Economic Support Fund, the Foreign Military Financing Program, multilateral assistance, the Agency for International Development, the Peace Corps, and international monetary programs. The budget for this year had a slight decrease in foreign aid spending, but most of the cuts are being made to “overseas contingency operations,” which have been supporting the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The budget includes support for the creation of a U.S. Global Development Lab, a merger of the Office of Science and Technology, and the IDEA office at USAID. These programs will look to support “major development breakthroughs and support a set of initiatives and reforms aimed at transforming the agency into a fully modern development enterprise.” A number of agencies targeting private sector partnerships and reforms that will drive economic growth in foreign countries are also seeing increased budgets. This includes a $7 billion commitment by the U.S. government to double access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa. This is another cause that feeds U.S. economic interests as well, as increased access to African energy will decrease America’s reliance on Gulf oil. As for the cause of spreading Democracy, the Middle East North Africa Incentive Fund has been replaced with the Middle East North Africa Initiative Reforms, which has a budget of $225 million to support “targeted programs that will advance the transitions under way across the region,” and to support “locally-let change and emerging reformists.”
Hillary Clinton on Foreign Aid
Hillary Clinton holds the cause of foreign aid close to her heart, especially as a former Secretary of State. She has spoken out adamantly against Republicans who believe that the foreign aid budget would be better spent elsewhere and explained how she believes that helping other countries come into their own can actually fuel the U.S. economy, stating “the 1 percent of our budget we spend on all diplomacy and development is not what is driving our deficit. Not only can we afford to maintain a strong civilian presence, we cannot afford not to… As we help these nations meet their own challenges and grow their own economies, their men and women will buy their first cars, their first computers, and everything from movies to medical equipment. And many new consumers will buy them from us.” Clinton has stated that she would have loved to see an increase in the foreign aid budget when she was Secretary of State, and that she believes it is necessary to increase this budget moving forward. In fact, she has stated that she would have liked to see a 20-fold increase in the foreign aid budget, which would have meant a budget where foreign aid spending made up 25 percent of the United States budget.
- Democratic Party on Foreign Policy – On The Issues
- Obama Increased Foreign Aid – CNS News
- Staying the course: Obama’s 2015 proposal for US foreign aid – devex
- Hillary Clinton asserts the importance of US foreign aid – ONE
- Hillary Clinton: I Would Have “Loved” A 20-Fold Increase In Foreign Aid Budget – Real Clear Politics
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