Despite having called foreign aid a waste and sometimes even harmful in the past, President Bush announced $5 billion in new aid to developing countries late last week. Bush called the aid an important part of the war on terrorism, because it would help eliminate the conditions of poverty that allow terrorist to thrive.
The United States is generally considered the stingiest industrial country when it comes to foreign aid. But President Bush may have come up with a formula that will bolster support for foreign aid among the skeptical American public. This $5 billion in aid will be contingent upon nations demonstrating they are not corrupt and are using the money for appropriate ends.
For years, aid experts have argued that America needs to give more aid to developing countries. But many have also acknowledged that the system of giving foreign aid simply doesn't work. This hour, making aid effective. How can we assure that foreign aid is actually used to effectively wipe out the conditions that breed terrorism?
Charles Costello, Director of the Democracy Program at the Carter Center in Emory, Georgia
formerly director of the Center for Democracy and Governance as US Agency for International Development (USAID)
John Cassidy, Staff writer for The New Yorker magazine
This program aired on March 18, 2002.