Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky has made his opinion on American foreign aid quite clear. While there are people here in the United States who still suffer from lack of health insurance and inadequate education, Senator Rand Paul believes that American money should be spent on internal improvements.
However, with a consistent focus on strong national security by the last five or so presidencies, it is not that foreign aid should be cut or reduced. Rather, it should be moved around to be made better use of.
There is military aid, which aims to achieve a specific national security goal directly. This may include ammunition, military bases, or force training. The second category of foreign aid could be best labeled as ‘structural’ aid. Structural aid is given to countries as humanitarian aid, money to rebuild infrastructure, improve health care and education, among other areas. While some may wish to argue otherwise, structural aid allows countries to stabilize themselves internally to prevent outbreaks such as civil wars or terrorist-like groups from arising from the grievances the populace may have.
While military aid tries to end the problem after it comes out of hand, structural aid should be looked at as a way to prevent the problem before it even starts. However, it can be hard to differentiate between the most pressing needs of a foreign country and how that fits into America’s economic ability. Sometimes, nations are not in any political state to receive structural aid. For example, funding education and health care services in Syria is understandably difficult at the moment when rebels and government forces are constantly killing citizens and endangering their everyday lives.
Although it will be hard to convince our nation’s government of the usefulness of structural aid because its actual ‘return’ takes years to surface, pumping money into military aid and then criticizing the use of structural aid ignores the link between both categories and minimizing threats to our national security.
The U.S. presence in countries should not have to start only when wars break out. We should utilize our outstanding resources and analysts to pinpoint countries that are currently able to make the most use out of American aid and begin smoothing out the small bumps on the road before they turn into dangerous potholes.
– Deena Dulgerian