Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Interactive map of US foreign aid
May 16, 2011 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Interactive map of US foreign aid by the Center for American Progress: "explore where U.S. foreign aid dollars are spent and how these countries rank in terms of basic indicators such as political rights and civil liberties, corruption, and overall development."

The map accompanies a report on foreign aid by John Norris titled "US Foreign Aid Reform Meets the Tea Party."
posted by moody cow (20 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Antarctica does not receive aid money from the U.S. government.

Another sign of our pole-ist foreign policy.
posted by Panjandrum at 5:43 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmmm... map seems to count Kazakhstan as highly developed but Ireland and Israel as not.
posted by Bwithh at 5:46 PM on May 16, 2011


Another sign of our pole-ist foreign policy.

Nice try. According to this map we give more than $10 million to Poles.
posted by MrFTBN at 5:46 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another sign of our pole-ist foreign policy.

Nice try. According to this map we give more than $10 million to Poles.


So, it is pole-ist?
posted by vidur at 5:50 PM on May 16, 2011


Israel gets our public healthcare system.
posted by DU at 6:06 PM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I forgot Poland.
posted by Trurl at 6:14 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm idly curious about two possible tables:

(1) Aid per capita

(2) Aid as a percentage of GDP

Does anyone know where such tables can be found?
posted by Flunkie at 6:17 PM on May 16, 2011


Korea, Republic of does not receive aid money from the U.S. government.
Permanently stationing 30,000 troops to protect them from invasion doesn't count?
posted by Flunkie at 6:26 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Israel gets our public healthcare system.

DU, that's not really fair.

As we all know, the most vocal and unequivocal supporters of Israel, the neocons, are also the foremost proponents of bringing Israeli-style compulsory universal health care to the United States.

What wait? Oh, ok, I see, we get to fight Israel's wars for them and they get to go to the doctor for us? Cool!
posted by orthogonality at 6:48 PM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hmmm... map seems to count Kazakhstan as highly developed but Ireland and Israel as not.

They're Very Highly Developed, which isn't an option in the tabs below. Seems like an error, the programmer assuming 3 categories where the UNDP has four. Also Very Highly Developed and receiving US aid are Portugal, Greece, a number of central European countries, Qatar and the UAE.

Taiwan, Kosovo and the Palestinian territories don't show up with the development filters because they aren't officially ranked for development, presumably due to their unofficial status with the UN. I believe they would be ranked as Very High, High and Medium respectively.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:04 PM on May 16, 2011


See also. Interactive map of direct grants by U.S. grantmakers to non-U.S. recipients. Sort by country, grant organization, year, number of recipients, dollars and other ways. 2003-2011.
posted by cashman at 7:09 PM on May 16, 2011


Some of these numbers are just bizarre, especially in the "International Military Education & Training" sector. For instance, Congo (of the Brazzaville persuasion) gets $250K for that, while Qatar collects just $10K. What exactly does ten thousand dollars of military education and training buy?
posted by Panjandrum at 7:12 PM on May 16, 2011


What exactly does ten thousand dollars of military education and training buy?

Coffe and bisquits during the break?
posted by Meatbomb at 7:17 PM on May 16, 2011


I can't seem to find a program for education ... or maybe its labeled something else.
posted by captaincrouton at 7:52 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cuba: $20,000,000; Economic Support Fund
usaid.gov: The Economic Support Fund (ESF) supports U. S. foreign policy objectives by providing economic assistance to allies and countries in transition to democracy, supporting Middle East Pease (sic) negotiations, and financing economic stabilization programs.
Hmmm?
posted by fredludd at 8:27 PM on May 16, 2011


What exactly does ten thousand dollars of military education and training buy?

That'll be US run courses on whatever the topic of the moment is. For a lot of countries it'll be counter insurgency training. For $10,000 a handful of higher ups (army, police) would get training on arms counter-proliferation, organised crime, terrorist networks, etc, so that when they get back home the US has some like minded people in positions to make changes increasing the stability of the government (for better or for worse). Sometimes the US foreign office advises on compromising with a rebel faction (Egypt recently) but generally their funding goes on maintaining the status quo as it makes trade more stable and is better for the economy.

I'm idly curious about two possible tables:
(1) Aid per capita
(2) Aid as a percentage of GDP
Does anyone know where such tables can be found?


I remember an old textbook I had from Polsci "The atlas of war and peace" and it had a whole bunch of useful demographic maps like this. Didn't cost much and it was a fascinating read. Presuming you mean percentage of local GDP, the main outliers are Taiwan and Israel.
Israel is interesting in that unlike every other country it receives it's full aid money at the start of the year (so it can earn interest on it) while the other countries receive it in regular installments. The aid figures also ignore intangible things: Israel has access to the "top shelf" military tech that aren't disclosed to any other US allies, as well as cooperative defence contracts, etc. Taiwan has a few deals like that IIRC but nothing as extreme.

Aid is an interesting problem, and I've always been of the view that cash Aid has a corrupting but stabilizing effect on the government. It creates a perverse economy, radically alters government policy, and causes widespread corruption. Imagine you are the leader of a small developing country, and 1/4 of your GDP is foreign aid money. You are forced to make concessions in order to receive that aid that are often not in the interest of your country in the long term. The amount of cash coming into your country drives up the price of goods and renders small business and industry unsustainable. Low paid officials with limited career prospects inevitably turn corrupt.
Sounds silly but for a lot of reasons it would be more effective (assuming the long term prosperity of the country is your objective) to give the overwhelming quantity of your aid in goods and services that are not able to be produced by the country or it's nearby friendly neighbours. IE, send them containers full of hammers, nails, tractors, etc (assuming there aren't locals struggling to make a living producing them) so that you are giving them a leg up rather than making them dependent on fragile policies and fickle countries on the other side of the world.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 8:28 PM on May 16, 2011


I bet a significant portion of people would get mad if they realized we gave 27 million in aid to China.

My first impression is that it doesn't make sense, considering they've been increasingly cast as the "competition", but I'm sure it's not that simple.
posted by Defenestrator at 8:30 PM on May 16, 2011


CIA World factbook has some good comparisons if you want more data, but not ones on aid.

This shows aid as percentage of local GDP. Unsurprisingly mostly African nations at the top.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 8:38 PM on May 16, 2011


I bet a significant portion of people would get mad if they realized we gave 27 million in aid to China.

As a kid in the mid 90s, I found an old atlas similar to this from sometime in the 80s. It totally boggled my mind to see that the USSR was shaded in (I think it was the second lightest color). I was too young to remember the Cold War, but I still knew enough basic history to know that the USSR and US were bitter enemies until recently.

Now I assume the aid may have been the food aid that started under Carter, or perhaps some Western investment that started trickling in under Perestroika.
posted by riruro at 10:55 PM on May 16, 2011


What exactly does ten thousand dollars of military education and training buy?

That's probably a net amount from the reconciliation of payments after all the training, cooperation and use of facilities by both parties is complete, resulting in a $10k favorable balance for the Qataris. We train there, they train here, etc.

What many people do not realize is that the US partners with many militaries of the world, peacefully, and offers what is akin to student exchanges, annual training maneuvers, technology transfers and high-level networking. Since these activities cost money, they need to appear on an invoice somewhere and are subsequently offset by similar activities provided by host countries. An imbalance of trade would be the result of prices being higher in the US or the other country not providing reciprocation.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:30 AM on May 17, 2011


« Older Christopher Hitchens reviews the letters of Rosa L...  |  excerpt from blush, a dance fi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments