February 3, 2021

Foreign Aid in the Era of Great Power Competition

Andrew Natsios

Despite having the highest total generation of wealth per annum, the United States ranks 22nd in foreign aid allocation as a percentage of GDP. Since the end of the Cold War, during which bilateral aid was used to contain the spread of communism, the United States has become increasingly isolationist in trade. Professor Natsios says that this has opened the path for China to step in, through the Belt and Road Initiative, to accrue sway in the international system/institutions. Faced with a powerful China following its 20th-century aid model, Natsios calls on the US to revive aid spending to regain legitimacy on the world stage.


Andrew Natsios, a current professor at Texas A&M and the former head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, talks about the importance of foreign aid. He emphasizes the historical role that foreign aid played when trying to bring students from other countries to American universities. He believes that this method should be reincorporated Ito Foreign Aid. He also warns that we are at risk of losing control in the international political realm because powers, like China, are using foreign aid as a tactical maneuver to gain leverage. For example, China was promising vaccines to countries in Africa if they voted in support of their political agenda, leaving developing countries no choice but to abide because they are not receiving aid from Western powers.

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