Archive for January, 2011


Foreign Aid

Foreign aid benefits both the United States and is helpful to those who receive it. Though the foreign aid being provided may not be as helpful as most people would expect or intend, it still has the potential to be much more positive if administered more effectively. Also, it continues to be a an excellent form of diplomacy as it helps to maintain or improve the country’s image on the world stage while setting a positive example of global responsibility for the rest of the world to follow. Lastly, by continuing in help the world, the United States helps its own people as well by improving conditions in countries that could evolve into potential markets for American private business. Through this economic development, at-risk countries move away from being potential breeding grounds for terrorists.

The foreign aid that the United States has provided, and continues to provide, helps those in need but does retain the potential to be ever more effective. Though the question of whether the people of the recipient countries actually receive the aid has been speculated, it is doubtful to think that the aid has not reached at least some if not the majority of the intended people. In this sense, it is indeed helpful. However, using the same reasoning, it seems likely that a portion of aid from the US does not make it to its intended recipients or, perhaps, may not benefit its recipients meaningfully. This may be due to a variety of factors, including improper logistics, corruption, negligence, etc. Even without having knowledge of the historical or current effectiveness of US foreign aid, it is doubtful to think that it is disseminated perfectly and therefore, could probably benefit from continued scrutiny in order to determine how to make it more meaningful to those in need. Though already helpful, foreign aid can continue to become more effective in the future.

In addition to the obvious effect of alleviating poverty, the distribution of aid by the United States  conveys a positive image of itself to other nations around the world.  This is an effective form of diplomacy as it can make allies out of beneficiaries. Within those countries, the aid may also foster an environment that is more receptive to United States’ interests. The governments are happy because, ideally, aid will create stability by creating a sense of faith among the people in their leaders. The people are happy because they are more easily able to meet their basic needs. By providing this positive example to the people and nations of the world, it sets a precedence for which other major or emerging countries may strive to follow because it is effective diplomacy and they would contrast negatively with the United States were they not to give aid despite their global economic standing.

From an economic perspective, US foreign aid is useful because it potentially allows the country to reap profitable benefits. Through the use of aid, the US government may gain preferred access to the beneficiary country’s natural resources. Private companies from  the US may be allowed opportunities to further the development of any mineral and/or oil industries that may exist. The distribution of aid can also contribute to the overall stability of an environment, allowing for a country to focus its efforts on furthering economic development. If the country is stable, it allows for private outside companies, including ones from the United States, to take advantage of any industrial or trade opportunities that may exist. As an externality, through this fostering of stability and economic development, the ability of violent or fanatic organizations to impose their own forms of government or propagate terrorists is diminished.

The foreign aid provided by the  United States is helpful to the people who receive it. Aside from fulfilling an obligation to help those who are poorer, it also can also have positive diplomatic and economic effects for both the United States and recipients of the aid. Lastly, despite any possible inefficiencies that exist in its application or distribution, it should not be stopped as it is still beneficial to those in need. Efforts should continued to be made to increase the effectiveness of US foreign aid.

Foreign Aid

Good acts promote further good acts


Diplomacy’s Toolbox – Communication

Aggressive Countries


Dealing with belligerence is common to people, states, and nations the world over. There are a variety of philosophies and techniques for managing the disagreeable behavior of others. Necessary to all effective strategies is the exchange of information. Without proper communication, problems are prolonged and worsened. As such, the US should maintain the option for open talks with belligerent organizations and terrorist organizations as means to solving issues because it offers the greatest possibility of coming to a peaceful solution before resorting to more destructive means. However, the use of open talks should be used selectively so as not to injure the respect of the US on the world stage. It must also be willing to take strong disciplinary economic and military action in order to deter adverse behavior and encourage other actors to take advantage of the open US invitation for solution-oriented talks prior to initiating any destructive means.

Directs talks are the most effective means for solving a problem between two parties and should always be a part the US approach to international confrontations. The option of a peaceful method of resolution is especially appropriate when dealing with amorphous modern-day terrorist organizations and aggressive states that show the willingness to create large numbers of military and civilian casualties in order to achieve their goals. Seeking to understand the details of an aggressor’s wants and desires are invaluable in determining the next steps that must be taken in order to come to an answer. Though that answer may have the potential to be peaceful or aggressive, it will be an answer none-the-less in the determination of the necessary course of action.

Direct communication as a nonviolent means of achieving a nation’s goals is not without its restrictions in its application. There are times in which the use of open dialogue could more likely prove useless or counterproductive to US foreign interest. Examples include situations in which the demands of a decentralized terrorist organization are already well known and are not worth placating. Such demands as the forfeiting of strategic military bases abroad or the destruction of the US are not reasonable. In such instances, alternative means of abating the adverse behavior of the other party must be sought.  The same is appropriate for organizations of reputations that are considered dishonorable and command little respect by which association would be belittling to the United States. The maintenance of reputation is an important consideration for any nation because it works as a deterrent to future aggressive behavior from other parties. That is why the US should only hold formal talks with aggressors that are of equal or similar standing so as to maintain the effectiveness of their reputation as a deterrent. Other talks should be held either informally or away from the public eye.

For the same purpose of maintaining reputation, military and economic capabilities should also be maintained as options for dealing with outside aggression. By regularly demonstrating a willingness to use harsh methods to discourage the continuation of aggressive behavior, a nation can theoretically prevent similar situations that would have occurred had they not had a consistent track record of deterrent behavior. This idea can be demonstrated through common knowledge of how systems of award and punishment work on an individual basis. By consistently enforcing state and federal laws through the use of the police force and judicial system, the United states prevents a great deal of would-be crimes by creating a well known track record of punishing perpetrators. This is technique should be even be adhered to by smaller nations, even if their capabilities for responding in such a manger are minute, because it may still provide a small degree of deterrence.

In conclusion, the use of communication should always be the preferred method of the United States to bring a conflict to a peaceful resolution. However, it should be used strategically so as to maintain the reputation of the nation for the purposes of deterring the future aggressive behavior of other nations and organizations. To compliment this, the US must always be willing to use economic and military action for situations in which peaceful communication does not work. This will also help to deter future aggression. An preference for solving conflicts through peaceful and effective communication must permeate those portions of the US government that deal in international affairs so that it is honestly and, thus, effectively, pursued as the preferred means of ending conflict.