President Obama and his defenders are trumpeting the new aid agreement with Israel as proof that he is the best friend Israel ever had in the White House. In fact, it’s a bad deal and should be treated the same way Obama treated prior agreements he didn't like: It should be forgotten by the next president.
The United States needs a civilian capacity to foster better-functioning institutions in chaotic countries, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should lead that effort. To embrace a state-building mission, however, USAID will have to be transformed. Max Boot and Michael Miklaucic argue that the agency will need to do less but do it better, and limit its efforts to strategically important states while enhancing its focus on building core state functions.
Daniel Markey discusses the ineffectiveness of current assistance to Pakistan, where billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent on development assistance have propped up the most repressive elements in Pakistani society, and proposes changes in how assistance is given and what can reasonably be gained.
Ever since 9/11, the United States has provided Pakistan with a steady supply of security and nonsecurity assistance. U.S. officials have justified these generous transfers—worth more than $30 billion since 2002—on the grounds that they secure Pakistan’s ongoing cooperation in Afghanistan, bolster Pakistan’s ability to fight terrorism, and give the U.S. government influence over the country’s ever-expanding nuclear weapons program.
International leaders and donors met in London on December 4, 2014, and they reviewed the democractically elected government's reform initiatives for fighting corruption and boosting the econommy and its requests for continued financial aid as military troops leave.
"Weapon systems, just like cars, are bought on credit. Most countries receiving [Foreign Military Funding] aid are required to show they have the funds to cover the full cost of the order, and the value of their orders cannot exceed the credit extended by the US. But Egypt was offered a credit arrangement more generous than most."
"U.S. support for democracy, governance, and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa is needed now as much as ever. This report aims to examine the degree and nature of that support, by way of the federal budget and appropriations process. It aims to analyze and assess the approach of the U.S. administration and Congress to budgets, spending, and foreign assistance, and to draw conclusions regarding broader priorities and thinking in terms of U.S. policy against the backdrop of dramatic political changes across the Arab world."
"The United States government announced last week that it would not, after all, make a determination as to whether the ouster of Egypt's Mohamed Morsi constituted a 'coup.' This decision has both important strategic and financial implications for the United States. By not designating Morsi's expulsion as a military coup, U.S. law allows the United States to continue its $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt. This second largest foreign aid package, after Israel, is tied to the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and also contributes to the annual budgets of major American defense companies."
Chinese officials see stability on the Korean peninsula under the Korean Armistice as a component that has enabled China's growth for over three decades. Despite a growing difference between the economic systems of China and North Korea, China's communist party leadership feels an affinity with North Korea because its government, like China's, pursues one-party leadership under a socialist banner.
Outside of a humanitarian crisis—such as a famine or a natural disaster—it is hard to make the case that any country deserves another's economic support. To paraphrase Britain's Lord Palmerston, countries do not have permanent friends, only permanent interests.