In order to deliver effective assistance to people in need around the world, we need to adhere to three principles.
First, we need to recognize that foreign aid is not politically sustainable when America’s own social safety net is frayed, broken, or has turned into a hammock for those unwilling (as opposed to unable) to step away from public assistance. Charity begins at home, so let’s put Americans first in all instances.
Second, we still contend that people everywhere would rather have a hand-up than a handout. Our foreign assistance programs should be focused on locally-relevant projects designed to promote long-term self-sufficiency and economic development, not dependency without a deadline. Any outright aid should come with a deadline. Everything else should be left to NGOs.
Third, we should prioritize our help on those countries where the right amount of aid will make the difference between success and failure. Somalia is not our model: the Berlin airlift is.