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Show support for foreign aid

 
During weakened economic times, policymakers in Washington, D.C., are constantly considering budget cuts. 
Foreign aid is one of the most scrutinized areas of the federal budget, and it also plays an important role in this election year. Foreign aid is a complicated policy with many different factors playing into it; there is no single unified party in total support of foreign aid and vice versa. Policymakers hold many different opinions on foreign aid and its importance.
Foreign aid is an extremely advantageous policy tool. Of course America should help other countries when they are in need, but foreign aid can also be used to push our own agenda around the world. Policymakers use foreign aid as a way to increase national security, create alliances among countries and even keep certain leaders in or out of power. While foreign aid can protect the interests of our own people, it can also protect the interests of citizens abroad. Foreign aid can lead to healthcare initiatives that eradicate disease; increased education opportunities for minority groups and those in poverty; it can put food on the table of a starving home; foreign aid can build roads and bridges so that people can more easily access healthcare and business.
Critics argue that more funds should be spent in this country instead of in the international community. I must disagree with this assertion. 
America has relied on the help of other nations in the past; we should be willing to help other countries in the present. Foreign aid includes a very small portion of the federal budget compared to such monstrous areas of spending as the defense budget. In fact, foreign aid is important to defense, so we should be willing to spend more money in this area.
Foreign aid is a useful tool, and it is a humanitarian effort to make our world a better place. However, the effectiveness of foreign aid is also in question. Critics have argued that aid does not fix problems but instead only makes them worse. Furthermore, critics argue that foreign aid does not lead to long-term successes. I would disagree with these critics. 
If administered correctly, and with careful oversight, foreign aid can lead to immense successes. Our government must work to make foreign aid more effective and make recipient countries more accountable.  
Lastly, I would argue that as a country, we have a moral duty to continue aiding other countries. America hosts the biggest economy in the world; we have the ability to assist developing countries. If it is in our power to help one country without hurting ourselves, we have a moral obligation to help. And if that aid is likely to be successful, we are even more obligated to assist. 
While our motives should be pure (helping someone because they just need help), it is acceptable for the government to have alternative motives for providing foreign aid. These alternative motives are only acceptable if they do not cause harm to others, and in fact, maximize the good consequences. Foreign aid is a moral issue, and we have a moral obligation to continue helping developing nations and nations in need.
There are many complexities and complications associated with foreign aid, but there are also many positive consequences that it brings about. Foreign aid is able to help other countries and people, fulfill the national interests of America and fulfill America’s moral obligation to the world. 
All in all, foreign aid should be continued, and more Americans should accept foreign aid as a positive policy. Congressional leaders should continue to fight for increases in foreign aid. I would also like to see a greater discussion between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney that includes their opinions of foreign aid. This is an extremely important policy, and we should certainly understand the opinions of our leaders before the November election.
 
Adam Blackwell is a public policy leadership junior from Natchez. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBlackwell1.