Foreign Aid Is a Tool of US Imperialism

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Foreign aid, Ron Paul likes to point out, consists of stealing money from poor people in the United States and lavishing it on politically-connected wealthy elites abroad. It is one of the Empire's most important instruments of international social engineering. This was explained to me by former World Bank chief Barber Conable during the 1995 International Development Conference in Washington, D.C. — an event that gathered thousands of lobbyists on behalf of the parasitic interests that benefit from foreign aid.

Taking what proved to be entirely unwarranted alarm over the “Contract With America” -era Republican takeover of Congress, the foreign aid lobby was concerned that the subsidies would dry up. In one of the event's most important speeches, Conable assured them that the GOP would abide by the "bipartisan foreign policy consensus" and preserve foreign aid.

Following Conable's speech, I handed him my business card and asked him a question: Since the Constitution doesn't authorize the federal government to take tax dollars from American citizens and disburse them as foreign aid, how can the practice be justified?

Conable dismissed the constitutional argument as "specious." Foreign aid is justified, he explained, because it "has to do with our position in the world. There are all kinds of ways of dealing with the problems of our relationships with the rest of the world. One is to do it the most extreme way, using national defense as your ultimate weapon. Of course, the other way is to find ways of anticipating that, and avoiding the necessity of it” through the use of foreign aid.

"So what you're telling me is that we have the choice of either bribing them, or bombing them," I said in search of clarification. Conable treated me to a disdainful smirk and directed his attention elsewhere.

The "Bribe u2018em or bomb u2018em" formula is set out with more detail in John Perkins's controversial book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, in which the author recounted the role played by the World Bank in what he described as a global loan-sharking scheme.

Covertly recruited as an intelligence asset in the late 1960s, Perkins was dispatched to various countries, including Indonesia and Panama, to help induce their ruling elites to take out huge World Bank loans to fund mammoth infrastructure programs. In essence, he working the same scam — on a global scale — that was used by debt-peddlers during the real estate bubble: Offering extravagant loans, on what appeared to be concessionary terms, to people with a very high time preference and little interest in reading the fine print. According to Perkins, he was just one Economic Hit Man (EHM) among thousands plying the same trade worldwide.

If an EHM is successful, writes Perkins, “the [World Bank] loans are so large that the debtor is forced to default on its payments after a few years. When this happens, then like the Mafia we demand our pound of flesh. This often includes one or more of the following: control over United Nations votes, the installation of military bases, or access to precious resources. Of course, the debtor still owes us money — and another country is added to our global empire.”

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William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.

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