Wednesday, February 2, 2011

US Aid to Foreign Countries (Not so Boring Considering What's Happening in Egypt)

I've always known that the US has given aid to countries throughout the world.  In  my younger days, I envisioned that this aid went to cure diseases, fight hunger etc.  As I became older and more jaded, I queried of myself, which I often do, where is the money of the US taxpayer going and to what ends are those monies being used? Well, surprise surprise surprise.  It ain't where you thunk.  I've done a great deal of reading lately about the monies we send to Africa.  Now, President Bush (even Bono had to agree with this one) used hundreds of millions of  US dollars, bordering on the billions, to help eradicate malaria and AIDS in Africa. Those dollars have done much good.  So, hurrah for Pres. Bush.  But throughout the entire history of our country, we have used foreign aid to prop up dictators and despots to safeguard our own welfare. Read more... 
 Now, let's talk Egypt.  I was there two years ago and can confidently say that while cruising the Nile, I could have been floating on Cleopatra's barge and the countryside hadn't changed one iota since her time.   Tilling of the land was still done by donkey with the women following behind pulling up what needed to be pulled up.  Washing done in the Nile while people used it as a latrine.  Starving and dying animals left on the street for the police to kill.  The GDP of the average Egyptian is between $2000-$3000 US per year (From the International Monetary Fund).  We, as a country, have given Egypt between 2000-2008, close to $20 billion in aid. The majority of that money goes to their military.  And our government knows that.  To our governments credit, the past administrations have tried to get Mubarak to give the people of Egypt more freedoms, but he has refused.  As a matter of fact, Condoleezza Rice angered the Egyptians in 2005 by saying, our "government's vision for the Middle East, will no longer tolerate oppression in the region as it has done for 60 years. She stressed that democracy is "inevitable" and that "the fear of free choice can no longer justify the denial theory". Well, so much for that.  Here's is some interesting info from the Heritage Foundation.  Here are the 6 top money receivers for foreign aid from the US from 2000-2008:

Iraq- 51.2 Billion
Israel- 29.4 B
Afghanistan -25.6B

We give aid in three basic ways, humanitarian (earthquakes, hurricanes etc), military (we provide equipment or training), and lastly development assistance.  The last one is where we fall flat.  The Heritage Foundation:  "If development assistance contributed demonstrably to higher standards of living in poor nations, it would support other U.S. priorities because wealthier nations are generally more stable, more democratic, and more likely to become economic partners with America".  In fact in many of the countries that we give development assistance to,  the GDP (gross domestic product) has stayed the same or in many cases gotten worse.  I looked up why the US gives Russia money and it's for development assistance.  Hello, ever hear of all of those Russian oligarchs with the gazillions of dollars?  Why aren't they giving money for domestic abuse clinics etc.?

So, there's now a call to cut off aid to Egypt unless Mubarak steps down and initiates true reforms.  Jack Cafferty on CNN asked this same questions of his viewers,, and the answers were all over the place.  I just know that the majority of the people are very poor, uneducated (the government wants them that way), the infrastructure sucks, yet the military has the best weapons, airplanes, tanks, all courtesy of the US.  Something ain't right here.  If you'd like to read my original blog on my trip to Egypt, go to the search engine on the left side of the blog and type in Egypt.  It was done on Dec. 30, 2008. (As of today 1/20/14 we are still providing monies to the above countries.)

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