OK, I am cynical. I have also read and written about various US foreign aid programs and their deleterious effects upon the very nations they are sent to help. But that anyone is naÃ¯ve enough to believe that Congress is going to do away with a PR friendly way of accomplishing corporate welfare â€“ well, thatâ€™s just â€œcotton candy cloudsâ€ and â€œsea of lemonadeâ€ thinking.
Donâ€™t get me wrong I think Sophia Murphy makes some excellent arguments in her editorial however I do take issue with this one:
â€œIt should transition to cash-based aidâ€
I donâ€™t think this is such a great idea. Just look at what happened in Iraq with all of the cash accounts they had access to in a time of war and chaos. Do you really think that mobilizing to avoid widespread famine is any less chaotic? Can anyone really believe that money wonâ€™t go missing? Just because people are starving and dying doesnâ€™t mean that somewhere there isnâ€™t a person willing to profit from it. Is the cash meant to make it easier to bribe the local authorities?
I do think the US should spend the money directly in the region because the stimulus to the economy would do more good than anything else. However, it will require the agencies to be more transparent with regard to where the money is going and to what end it is meant to serve. It will also require regular audits with defined and enforceable penalties should malfeasance be proven. (ha ha ha…can’t breathe…oh, stop…hee hee)
Now, who is going to convince every Representative and Senator from a significant agricultural region that their corporate constituents should give up these contracts so US tax dollars can be spent in African countries to feed Africans? Although, I suppose Brown & Root could start a new divisionâ€¦