Foreign Aid to the US

I understand that the US provides foreign aid for other countries, but I was wondering if the US has ever received any outside help during its times of need? I’m thinking about 9/11, Great Depression, Tornados, Hurricanes, etc.

How much foreign aid does the US give out annually?


In terms of foreign aid the US govt gives out annually, here’s the Department of State budget figures.

Looking at 2003 figures:

Total International Assistance programs are $18,675,000,000, and other international affairs programs are $3,458,000,000. In addition, there were $2,319,000,000 in direct loan disbursements and $12,075,000,000 in guaranteed loan committments.

You did mention 9/11. NATO deployed a number of European military personnel to the US when an imminent follow-up attack was feared. I recall mention of German AWACS crews patrolling midwestern airspace, for instance. Disaster assistance via the International Red Cross has also been welcomed after various natural disasters.

One nitpick: The Depression was world-wide and not a US specific event

one answer: Post-9-11 much help was offered:

I’m not sure about how this ‘figures’ and the exact details, but the Dutch, being experts in water issues, often come to (professional) aid whenever a natural disaster involves water.

Of course, there’s also the U.S. deficit … :smiley:

According to some calculations, the Third World debt service (just paying down interest on public loans before touching the principle) is equivalent to sending 2 Marshall Plans from the ‘underdeveloped’ to the ‘developed’ world every 5 years. Do a little weighted calculation for what part of that flows this way and it becomes evident pretty quickly that the US does quite well in terms of “foreign aid” flow.

Australia and the United States regularly send each other men and equipment to deal with forest fires. Both countries have large numbers of experts, and their fire seasons are offset by six months so when the fires are burning in one, the guys in the other country are basically sitting about doing nothing anyway. There were quite a few Australian firefighters deployed in both the Californian and Colorado fires of recent times.

I do not believe this for a second. If you would be so kind as to provide a cite for this, I will be suitably embarassed, and will retract my skepticism immediately.


While I agree that a lot of poor country debt is a collosal evil that should be forgiven, recall that all that interest going our way is only after a much larger hunk of priinciple went the other way.


A Google for [german awacs midwest] came up with this as the first hit:

Not necessarily; in many cases the original principles have been surpassed by accumulated, compounded interest payments.

A couple of stats:

From 1983-1989 a surplus of $165 billion went from countries receiving aid to the countries who were ‘giving’ it. Again in 1994, the less developed countries paid out $112 billion more than they received.

"NATO’s invocation of Article V and the AWACs that patrolled American skies with European crews after 9/11 were tangible evidence of deep transatlantic ties. " – Ambassador Richard Haass, Director, Policy Planning Staff, US State Department; September 13, 2002

This particular reference implies the plane was part of a multinational NATO force. From the link above:

Still a pretty interesting link, though. I wonder if this gives ammo to the tinfoil hat wearing/black helicopters in the sky crowd.

While I won’t comment on the good/bad inplications of these loans, they are, well, loans. Banks do the same thing to individuals. It’s how loans work. The people (or nations) giving the loans make money in the long run, and the people (or nations) getting the loans can hopefully use the money to get themselves up and running.

How, precisely, are payments that outweigh aid going to help anyone get “up and running?”

Obviously when you sell and/or pressure another nation on restructuring their economy (this covers everything from tariff structures to public expenditure in the health sector to wage levels to environmental regulation; all to the admitted disadvantage of the average resident of that nation) as a precondition for receiving any line of credit, we are not talking about the same thing as a bank loan for an individual.

Keep in mind also the the IMF/IBRD system is non-profit and charged, in theory, with aiding Third World economies. They are not for-profit banks that meant to exist to make a profit for investors. (In practice, however, their operation has been used by the developed world to leverage additional advantage for our private sector, including de facto underwriting of private loans from our for-profit lending banks.)

Gentlepersons, the current discussion has edged perilously close to a Great Debate. (It may, in fact, be a “Great” Debate.) However, I would ask you to confine your remarks to addressing the factual question of the OP (which I will interpret as seeking sources of financial or material aid deliberately selected by the governments or populations of foreign nations to be sent to the U.S.)

[ /Moderator Mode ]

Uh…yes you are.

Man goes to Bank - “I need a loan”
Bank - “Do you have a job?”
Man - “No”
Bank - “If you dont have a job, we arent going to give you a loan.”

You dont get a loan based on need, you get a loan based on ability to pay it back. If a country doesnt have economic policies that are going to facilitate it being able to pay back a loan, then it isnt going to get a loan. Thats why if your country wants a loan, its going to have to instantiate econnomic policies that lead to increased economic growth, so that the loan can be repaid.

Sorry Tom, I didnt see your post before I posted. My bad.

Kuwait send aid to Florida and other US victims of Hurricaine Hugo in 1992. Given that they were still recovering from the Iraqi invastion of 1990 and the after effects of the First Gulf War, including having an awful lot of oil wells damaged and set alight, I thought that a very generous act on their part.

Here is a link with Rumsfeld thanking the AWACs crews. I think some of the confusion here is that the NATO component that was deployed to the U.S. is based in Germany, but the crews were mostly international and while it is true some elements of the crews were German, they were actually part of a NATO force and not acting simply as an serviceman of a single country.

Here is a quote with thier comander on the ground (who was Norwegian)

We’re not talking about “having a job” here, we’re talking about telling people what the money will be spent upon (often something like a hydroelectric project which requires hiring our people to do it), telling people what job they’ll have (no… stop growing barley - grow cocoa and sell it to us cheap!) and lowering domestic wages. There really are no equivalents to this sort of thing in consumer banking.

I’d also point out that it’s a whole lot more “lucrative” for the development banks to keep a rolling line of credit going when they know people will not be able to pay down the principle and get stuck in a cycle of paying upon interest. Because a country can continue to provide goods and services that the lending nations want as favorable terms to them, these cycles are allowed to continue. That simply doesn’t happen much beyond the odd second mortgage in domestic consumer banking.