Will Foreign Aid Be “Trump-ed Up and Trickle Down” Under the New Administration?
The 2016 election of Donald Trump has created a state of panic for many international nonprofit professionals. The clamorous chatter at D.C. networking events is marked with many positing that “U.S. foreign aid” is dead. While doomsday visions of dwindling aid is a catastrophized viewpoint, one cannot ignore Trump’s isolationist tendencies - from statements such as the one he gave to the Washington Post about sending “money to Iraq to build schools that are eventually blown up “ and “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo” — are indeed worrying. In addition, Trump’s request that government provide a list of wasteful spending projects to be eliminated within the first 100 days, indeed incites panic among development professionals. While there is no doubt that spending on foreign aid will shrink somewhat (specifically in the areas of climate change and reproductive rights), other programs will most likely stay intact. This is because foreign aid has always had Republican support (particularly since many programs like those in the Agricultural sector, for example, have always protected American interests). Program such as PEPFAR (U. S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) are Republican constructs. Furthermore the 2016 Republican convention platform states that, “International assistance is a critical tool for advancing America’s security and economic interests by preventing conflict, building stability, opening markets for private investment, and responding to suffering and need with the compassion that is at the heart of our country’s values”. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t paint too Pollyannaish of a picture neither. Judging from political statements from Trump and members of the Republican Party, reproductive rights, family planning, climate change and LGBT communities will most likely be excluded from aid allocations. Perhaps, indeed, this is catastrophic.