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Foreign Aid

Naysayer
Posts: 746
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8/16/2013 9:26:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com...

I'm asking everyone suspend their views/feelings on libertarians and Rand Paul and Ron Paul for just a moment. I have some issues I want to discuss. How do you feel about aiding foreign countries to build up their military. What are the pros and cons? Is it immoral to aid an unstable country in such a manner? Should the U.S. be in the practice of pouring out funds to build up foreign countries in general?
lewis20
Posts: 5,093
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8/16/2013 10:25:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Of course we shouldn't, it comes around as blowback. But Americans have amnesia when it comes to history and politicans don't have to worry about the long term effects of their actions. As long as the f-16 factory in their home district is pumping out planes they don't care whether or not it's a good idea to be sending said planes to Saudi Arabia.
No one remembers that we gave the Taliban the same weapons they used against us when we invaded. That we gave Hussein poison gas and helicopters.
"If you are a racist I will attack you with the north"- Abraham Lincoln

"Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material" - Leviticus 19 19

"War is a racket" - Smedley Butler
Naysayer
Posts: 746
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8/18/2013 4:47:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 10:25:13 AM, lewis20 wrote:
Of course we shouldn't, it comes around as blowback. But Americans have amnesia when it comes to history and politicans don't have to worry about the long term effects of their actions. As long as the f-16 factory in their home district is pumping out planes they don't care whether or not it's a good idea to be sending said planes to Saudi Arabia.
No one remembers that we gave the Taliban the same weapons they used against us when we invaded. That we gave Hussein poison gas and helicopters.

I don't think most people make that association that aiding foreigners is American jobs. I don't think most people have the concept of what we mean by military aid.
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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8/18/2013 5:27:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 9:26:22 AM, Naysayer wrote:
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com...

I'm asking everyone suspend their views/feelings on libertarians and Rand Paul and Ron Paul for just a moment. I have some issues I want to discuss. How do you feel about aiding foreign countries to build up their military. What are the pros and cons? Is it immoral to aid an unstable country in such a manner? Should the U.S. be in the practice of pouring out funds to build up foreign countries in general?

It's co-optation. It is how we project power in the countries that we do it. It's a modern form of imperialism. To the extent that imperialism is a net good, the US (indeed any country) should pursue such measures when they can, and when the terms are favorable.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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8/18/2013 5:39:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 10:25:13 AM, lewis20 wrote:
Of course we shouldn't, it comes around as blowback. But Americans have amnesia when it comes to history and politicans don't have to worry about the long term effects of their actions. As long as the f-16 factory in their home district is pumping out planes they don't care whether or not it's a good idea to be sending said planes to Saudi Arabia.
No one remembers that we gave the Taliban the same weapons they used against us when we invaded. That we gave Hussein poison gas and helicopters.

This is what I like about you lewis. We can have diametrically opposing positions, yet still respect each other enough to not kill each other over them, or go off into peevish rants.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
YYW
Posts: 36,289
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8/18/2013 5:54:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/16/2013 9:26:22 AM, Naysayer wrote:
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com...

I'm asking everyone suspend their views/feelings on libertarians and Rand Paul and Ron Paul for just a moment. I have some issues I want to discuss.

Very good then.

How do you feel about aiding foreign countries to build up their military.

It depends on the country, the extent of that country's alliance to the United States in tandem with their trustworthiness, such a country's potential to be useful, their political stability, their proclivity to do things that are antagonistic to the interests of the United States or our allies, etc. So, there really is no easy answer. Military aid is an especially tenuous subject because of the fact that guns and bombs can be used to kill people (which may or may not make, if munitions are used improperly, the United States indirect contributors to human rights crisis, among other things). There have been many examples, throughout history (especially after WWII) of the United States giving military aid to a party, only to be "bitten in the @ss" in a metaphorical sense years later -whether the arming was above the board, below the board or caught up in scandal.

I do think that when a country is politically stable, ideologically sound (meaning that they are a liberal democracy, or something close to it), historically loyal to the US (and interests/allies) and especially when that country is in a region that presents a strategic advantage to the United States (meaning, we might put a military base there), then that country should probably receive military aid on the condition that it allows the United States to set up camp within its borders. Turkey is a fantastic example of that, btw.

What are the pros and cons?

The pros, can be, when all goes according to plan, that a region is stabilized by the presence of a greater force within it, that diplomatic relations between the US and the country it aids are strengthened, that the US has expanded its sphere of influence, and the mobilization/response time in the event of a conflict is reduced (strategic advantages, etc.). But, that's only when things go according to plan.

The cons can be that the guns/money we give away can be used against us, our interests or our allies, they could be squandered, the money could be squandered (and in consequence, the munitions could then fuel regional/ethnic/border conflicts), and etc. I could go on, but I think you get the idea...

In some special cases, military aid can be given to oppressed parties to facilitate their overthrowing a despotic regime (or a regime that the US doesn't like, for any number of reasons). That kind of circumstance, though, is especially risky because those decisions are made usually without sufficient information of the rebels who receive aid as such. But, the problems associated with that kind of situation is the very reason why it's so rare for the US to give rebels of any kind aid... just because they're cozying up to Washington when they need us doesn't mean that then the conflict is over, that the rebels won't be worse than the regime they overthrew (for example).

Is it immoral to aid an unstable country in such a manner?

Is it immoral? Again, that would depend on the circumstance. For example, it would be immoral to sell guns to an African despot who would then use the munitions to wage a genocide. But, it probably wouldn't be immoral to aid the Syrian rebels, even if it could be fairly impractical.

Should the U.S. be in the practice of pouring out funds to build up foreign countries in general?

As a general rule, it depends... so, lol, there is no general rule. Giving out aid or loans (for economic development, humanitarian causes, etc.) can be not only the right thing to do, but an advantageous thing to do when properly executed. But, it can cause all kinds of problems too... like enriching corrupt governments at the expense of American taxpayers.

I think, though, that Rand and Ron Paul can be pretty impractical when it comes to foreign policy, though. I think the reason for that is because they recognize that because giving out aid of any kind can be precarious, they'd rather not even bother with it. Then, or their ideological allies can always make arguments (which often resonate with voters) that are to the tune of "We have so many problems here at home! We have to address those before we start handing out money to foreigners!" which capitalize on the ignorance of the general public.

Giving out aid is a fundamental aspect of statecraft, and it can be -and most often is- a tool that the United States uses to get what it wants in the world, that, directly or indirectly, benefits taxpayers. Not giving out aid would severely hamper the US government's ability to advance US interests in the world, and would directly harm the American people by not advancing their interests abroad. 100 years ago, in a non-globalized world, non-flat (or, a less globalized world, depending on which side of the globalization argument you fall on), I can see the strategic advantage of not giving out aid. Now, it's just impractical.
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