Part of the bilateral agreements between nations particularly the United States is the pledge of assistance to its ally nations that is undergoing difficult times. Despite the debates in the effectiveness of uplifting the living conditions of the beneficiaries of foreign assistance, questions still remains whether or not the international foreign assistance program has changed for the good or has remained stagnant during the last 10 years. This will be central subject of the discussion wherein the development in foreign aid will be examined within the context of the Untied States initiatives. Changes in national security policies appear to have largely contributed to the declining effectiveness of foreign aid.
Among the subject of debate on the issue of providing foreign aid is whether or not the efforts are actually making a difference in terms of improving the lives of the recipients of the aid. Central Africa and parts of Asia are among the beneficiaries of foreign aid particularly from the United States (Macrae and Harmer). The U.S. is one of the top philanthropic countries than allocate millions of dollars from its federal budget to fund foreign aid programs. Foreign assistance can be in a form of cash donation, food, supplies, medical needs, and or military augmentation. However, the effectiveness of such efforts appears to be declining due to misdirected initiatives and lack of understanding on the root cause of the problem in recipient country. In addition, national security threats is becoming a challenge for humanitarian volunteers to perform their function during an assistance project due possibilities of brutal attacks from the radical groups. Such scenario is typical in countries receiving international assistance such as Afghanistan.
The former structure of US AID for example includes providing military forces to countries threatened to conflict by another country. For example, before the heated issue on the ownership of the islands in the South China Sea emerged involving China and some of the Southeast Asian nations, the United States was very active in deploying military forces carrying supplies to recipient countries. However, due to the fact that China is a principal source of funding for the United States, the latter choose to take extra precaution in getting involved with issues that constitute military action within the region. In addition, at the advent of the 9/11 attacks, the United States focused its effort in intensifying security policies in its home turf. On the other hand, the revamps in its national security policies have affected the delivery of foreign assistance to the countries in need due to limitations in security clearances. Furthermore, the last global economic crisis in 2008 led to massive federal deficits, which resulted to budget cuts including shutdowns of some of the existing foreign aid programs (Lawson). Although the United States is still a primary contributor to foreign aid programs, changes were made during the past decade due to circumstances that either has a direct effect to its economy or poses imminent threat to national security.
It is apparent that recent studies suggest significant changes in foreign aid infrastructure of the United States during the last 10 years. These changes were drawn from national security policy changes and high regard to economic consequences. As a result of the adjustments, the existing foreign aid initiatives were found to have become less effective.
Lawson, Marian Leonardo. "Does Foreign Aid Work? Efforts to Evaluate U.S. Foreign Assistance." Congressional Research Service (2013): n. pag. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. <http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R42827.pdf>.
Macrae, Joanna, and Adele Harmer. "Beyond the continuum: The changing role of aid policy in protracted crises." HPG Report 18 (2004): n. pag. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. <http://www.odi.org.uk/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/279.pdf>.