International politics is a constant struggle for power, not necessarily resulting in constant open warfare, but rather in maintaining anarchy in order to accumulate as much power as possible and use that power to defend and pursue their national interests. Donors are typically motivated by this mindset, whether on purpose or unintentionally.
The wealthiest nations have a vested interest in the poorer nations they assist in order to further their national, economic, and ideological goals, but they frequently lose sight of the main goal, development. On occasion, good intentions can have negative consequences. Foreign aid has always had geopolitical implications, and this is more visible now than ever. While using aid to achieve a variety of goals, including military assistance.
Foreign aid, according to aid architects, has never been a significant expenditure for donor countries as a percentage of their total government budget; it is frequently a significant share of the government budget and even the GDP of some recipients. The majority of donor countries have not met the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) target of allocating 0.7 percent of their GDP to economic development aid.
Despite much talk about ending the suffering of minorities who wish to remain in their ancestral homelands, they continue to face unfulfilled promises and an unprecedented impact of foreign governments’ refusal to provide direct aid to those in need, survivors of genocide, trapping them in a state of deep frustration, to the point where the world appeared to be witnessing their disappearance.
Foreign aid has always been centered on national security concerns. However, following 9/11, the relationship between national security and foreign aid shifted to a greater proportion of US foreign aid. This has had an effect on other bilateral aid flows to developing countries as well.
In the case of Iraq, we received a large amount of foreign aid, which was critical in reviving the economy and reestablishing infrastructure. Still, there is no end in sight to the deeply rooted problems that existed prior to, during, and after the American invasion. Reminding each and every Iraqi that a comfortable life is a long way off.
The extinction of a nation could not be avoided once its population fell below a critical level, which was reached when ISIS swept through the region, causing severe political and economic consequences before the potentially catastrophic end that we all expect. The situation is dire, and it has gotten much worse in the last six years. Following a total civil collapse and, eventually, a pandemic, there will be genocide.
We require a new approach to foreign aid that strengthens the citizen-state compact by assisting in the improvement of public accountability. Aid must promote an enabling policy and legal environment in which citizen groups can advance businesses and growth. Foreign aid should also play an important role in strengthening citizens’ voices and participation in demanding transparency and accountability from their governments, as well as making the best use of limited resources responsibly.
South-South collaboration should be explored in addition to North-South collaboration to promote knowledge, technology transfer, trade, and investments for development by the Global South in order to advance the SDGs. Regional integration will promote mutual learning and growth while reducing reliance on foreign aid from the Global North.