Foreign Assistance Directly in the National Interest
A Primer for Policymakers
March 17, 2017
Foreign assistance is directly in America’s self-interest. We spend this money to keep American citizens safe by reducing the threats of pandemics like Ebola, preventing instability in key regions, and stopping human trafficking, among other important goals. U.S. foreign assistance helps solve other problems as well, serving as the money side of U.S. foreign policy in large portions of the world. Foreign assistance has always been carried out for a variety of motives including enlightened American self-interest.
However, the U.S. foreign assistance system is complicated and, at times, unnecessarily so. This paper, therefore, equips new policymakers with the baseline information they need to make sound decisions that will make America stronger. For our purposes, foreign assistance is defined as money and other assets that the United States brings to bear in other countries with the intention of affecting some outcome in that country.
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