foreign aid quotes
As divisive of an issue as foreign aid may be, there are plenty of notable American leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, who have unequivocally pronounced their support for ramping up U.S. foreign assistance efforts. Whether through an appeal to human compassion, an explanation of the link between aid and national security, or a call to wield “smart power” through diplomacy, many of these leaders have made a strong case for the role aid programs play in the country’s moral and diplomatic standing in the world.

Here are some of the top foreign aid quotes pronounced by U.S. leaders:

  • “I believe that American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted. We must use what has been called ‘smart power’: the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural — picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy. This is not a radical idea. The ancient Roman poet Terence, who was born a slave and rose to become one of the great voices of his time, declared that ‘in every endeavor, the seemly course for wise men is to try persuasion first.’”– Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Confirmation hearing, January 2009
  • “For the United States, supporting international development is more than just an expression of our compassion. It is a vital investment in the free, prosperous, and peaceful international order that fundamentally serves our national interest.”– Former U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, October 2008 White House Summit on International Development
  • “I have said it before but it bears repeating: Aid is not a gift. The United States provides foreign assistance because it serves OUR interests.”– U.S. Representative Howard Berman (D-CA), September 8, 2011
  • “Foreign aid must be viewed as an investment, not an expense…but when foreign aid is carefully guided and targeted at a specific issue, it can and must be effective.”– U.S. Representative Kay Granger (R-TX), Huffington Post, June 2011
  • “Relations between the United States and other countries, and our role as a global leader, are advanced by our willingness to help other countries in need. Foreign aid is essential to protecting U.S. interests around the world, and it is also a moral responsibility of the wealthiest, most powerful nation.”– U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) via his office
  • “America’s civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long.”– Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, July 2008 speech to U.S Global Leadership Coalition
  • “The world we live in takes a multifaceted approach. To the American taxpayer: We need to be investing in improving people’s lives before the terrorists try to take over.”– U.S. Senator, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Foreign Policy magazine, February 2011
  • “Foreign aid is important. If it’s done right, it spreads America’s influence around the world in a positive way.”– U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), July 2011 online Town Hall session
  • “As President, I will make it a focus of my foreign policy to roll back the tide of hopelessness that gives rise to hate. Freedom must mean freedom from fear, not the freedom of anarchy … I will focus our support on helping nations build independent judicial systems, honest police forces, and financial systems that are transparent and accountable. Freedom must also mean freedom from want, not freedom lost to an empty stomach. So I will make poverty reduction a key part of helping other nations reduce anarchy.”– President Barack Obama, speaking as a candidate in August 2007 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center
  • “The programs supported by the International Affairs Budget are as essential to our national security as defense programs. Development and diplomacy protect our nation by addressing the root causes of terrorism and conflict. But it’s not just about security. By building new markets overseas for American products, the International Affairs Budget creates jobs and boosts the economy here at home.”– Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Statement on the release of the President’s FY11 International Affairs Budget request, February 2010

Nayomi Chibana
Feature Writer

Sources: InterAction, US Global Leadership, Reuters
Photo: Eco Informativo


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