No wonder Americans are skeptical about foreign aid. They think we spend 25 times more than we actually do, they don’t know what it has accomplished, and they are fed a steady diet of reports about waste, fraud and corruption.
This puts members of Congress in an awkward position. Most of them know that diplomacy and development help create jobs here at home by opening new markets abroad. They understand that we can’t keep Americans safe without helping other countries to counter terrorism, prevent nuclear proliferation and resolve conflicts peacefully. And they recognize that without U.S. assistance, poor countries will be less able to combat hunger and malnutrition, control the spread of pandemic diseases, and preserve natural resources.
The problem is, members haven’t been given much in the way of data and evidence to prove it.
Diana Ohlbaum is an independent consultant, co-chair of the Accountability Working Group of theModernizing Foreign Assistance Network and a principal of Turner4D, a strategic communications firm. She is also a contributor at The Hill, where this article originally appeared.
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