I just finished reading a letter from Emily Knight from the Monday newspaper. Her goals, as well as the goals of the Borgen Project are laudable, but her letter presents only one utopian side of the discussion concerning foreign aid, and that with few details. We must look at total spending by other nations as well.
Knight's COVID-19 argument has merit, but the problem is we can't save the world. Too many nations depend on the U.S. to find the cure and expect us to give it to them gratis. This is the same as expecting the U.S to be the police officer of the world and pay for it as well.
There are many wealthy nations that are not paying their share. The World Health Organization receives up to $500 million from America. The amount fluctuates as President Donald Trump has demanded accountability and reform and reduced spending.
This agency of the UN has been rife with financial scandal for years. Our usual contribution is in the neighborhood of 24% of their total budget.
One must combine the total contributions of Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Russia to equal this amount. Now we should give more when this organization’s leaders fly first-class and stay in 5-star hotels and waste millions?
If we look at foreign aid, we have much the same picture. Please examine the aid to countries of Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Nigeria. Total aid from the U.S. to these countries is $5.5 billion, with a "B."
What trade benefits are we looking for in return other than arms sales? They have nothing to offer us. It is all but a waste of time and treasure.
Knight states that Congress can increase the budgets of both domestic and global poverty reduction simultaneously. The problem is that there is only so much money we have to spend. We are deeply in debt now.
Any politician that proposes a cut or even keeps social spending at current levels will not be reelected. Fact of life.
I would suggest that we direct letters to our representatives and ask what are we getting for our money on the world stage. Could we redirect some of our foreign aid to poverty reduction both domestically and globally? I think this is quite possible.
No nation gives more and is respected less than America. Something has to change.
WILLIAM J. WEBER
retired, sales and marketing