It is not surprising that the United States government still has posts in the former Soviet Union, the nation it was at war with for some odd 44 years. The United States is very cautious when it comes to relations with former enemies, and is reputable for taking precautions and keeping tabs on hostile governments. But is it surprising to know that the United States gave $379 million in assistance to Russia in 2010, and $2.7 billion since the fall of the Soviet Union?
Russia, however, does not seem to be grateful for this American generosity. FP Passport announced in today’s blog that Russia is now demanding that USAID leave. Russia is apparently “suspicious of foreign attempts to undermine the government,” and has been limiting the actions of many NGO’s doing mainly Human Rights watches in the country. USAID was swept up with them. One important question is whether this forceful withdrawal is a good thing or a bad thing for those in need of aid.
World on Safari believes that ultimately this expulsion is for the best. Americans knowledgeable of the deficit are not too keen on hearing how much the United States financially supports other nations, especially ones we were once at war with. And now there are two scenarios for the United States aid. Either the surplus is subtracted from the USAID budget, and is then likely extended to another federal program in the United States. Or the aid that had gone to Russia will now be transferred to another USAID location one that needs it more. While the U.S. has had a long history of monitoring Human Rights issues abroad, there are arguably many places where the aid would be better served. The CIA World Factbook puts Russia at the 7th largest economy in the world. While much of Russia’s infrastructure is indeed failing, the country as a whole is developed with a stable system of government in place. Meanwhile, several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing severe famines, diseases, and violence. Haiti is still slowly recovering from the earthquake. Southeast Asian countries are experiencing natural disasters. The U.S. is known worldwide for its aid to foreign nations and peoples in need. Perhaps this is an opportunity to use that aid most efficiently.