Trump’s worldview is completely at odds with the principles of foreign aid. Is this the end of development as we know it?
It comes as no surprise that a further victim will emerge from Donald Trump’s victory in this week’s US election. Aside from climate change, migrants and refugees, foreign aid will suffer. The world’s largest donor – in absolute terms, if not as a share of GNP – can be expected to put a final nail in the coffin of compassion for those beyond its borders. The US government will batten down the hatches and take care of its own.
Gone is compassion. Gone is a concept of ubuntu, the South African word that embodies the humanity embraced in the notion of kindness towards others, which Barack Obama cited at Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013.
Since the post-second world war Marshall plan – the massive injection of money to rebuild Europe – foreign aid has been used by western powers as a form of soft power. But ubuntu has always lurked beneath the surface. No more. Thought the UK’s Department for International Development’s direction in foreign aid was suspicious as it prioritises aid for trade? This will be that, amplified.
The US contributed $30bn (£23.7bn) to aid in 2015 alone, but that’s now likely to shrink considerably. Donald Trump has said: “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.” Furthermore, he’s said the US should “stop sending foreign aid to countries that hate us”. He’s talked about the problems in America, and looking after US citizens first and foremost.
USAid’s current stated mission is to “end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity”. Under Trump, you can expect the first three of these phrases to be deleted. If there even is a USAid remaining, its mission will more likely just read: “To advance American security and prosperity.”