The Solomon Islands is a small island nation in the Western Pacific located just off the coast of Papua New Guinea. As same as for many other distant countries, many Americans might wonder how the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to the Solomon Islands? The reasoning lies primarily behind the economic and geopolitical environment of the Solomon Islands, both of which make this small country a good candidate for aid.
The relationship between U.S. and Solomon Islands
The relationship between the United States and the Solomon Islands began during World War II when the U.S. had a large-scale presence on the Islands. Today, the relationship is still very strong.
According to the U.S. State Department, the mutual goals of the United States and the Solomon Islands are: improving regional stability, promoting democracy and human rights, combating trafficking in persons, responding to climate change, increasing trade, and promoting sustainable economic development”.
In the statement above the economic and geopolitical factors influencing U.S. investment in the Islands are emphasized. Geopolitically, The Solomon Islands lie in a strategic area. Per USAID, “A vast proportion of the world’s shipping passes through Pacific waters, making the Pacific Islands central to global security and the global economy”. For this reason, a close relationship with the Solomon Islands guarantees freedom of U.S. shipping interests and gives leverage to the United States in related conflicts, some of which occurred recently.
Furthermore, in a region that has significant geopolitical importance and was targeted by China, providing foreign aid to the Solomon Islands gives the U.S. an ally in a strategic location. This idea has been reinforced by the fact that Solomon Islands national security officials receive training and educational opportunities by the U.S. military. Clearly the U.S. Benefits from foreign aid to the Solomon Islands in this regard.
Economically, the Solomon Islands are an ideal candidate for aid since they are a relatively poor country. As a result, the impact of humanitarian aid in improving the lives of those on the island and in creating a strong relationship between the two countries is substantial.
Climate change effect on the Solomon Islands
Since this is an area highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, U.S. foreign aid to the Solomon Islands has helped this small country cope with climate change. In 2014, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance pledged 250,000 dollars to help the Solomon Islands recover from Cyclone Ita, a natural disaster that affected more than 50,000 people.
This illustrates another example of how the U.S. Benefits from foreign aid to the Solomon Islands. With climate change accelerating, vulnerable island communities such as the Solomon Islands are facing a growing existential crisis. As is the case with many of the Pacific Island nations, the Solomon Islands are poor and inadequately equipped to cope with such a crisis. In order to avert a humanitarian crisis with potentially destabilizing effects for the global community, the U.S. Foreign aid to the Solomon Islands helps ensure that the island community can be better prepared for the effects of climate change. As a result, aid to island countries is acting as an upfront cost to ensure that a bigger humanitarian crisis on the horizon never happens.
Although relatively small, U.S. foreign aid to the Solomon Islands helps protect American interests in the region and prevents a larger humanitarian crisis in the country itself that would require more resources in the future.
– Taylor Pace