Twitter Town Hall: Obama defends US foreign aid

By AFP
Published: July 7, 2011

One person questioned why the US gives aid to countries that "waste it", citing Pakistan's example. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama defended US foreign aid Wednesday as “a tiny amount that has a big impact” amid calls to trim overseas help to get cash-strapped Washington’s fiscal house in order.

“It’s something that, even in tough fiscal times, American needs to continue to do as part of our role as a global leader,” he said as he took questions in a “Twitter Town Hall” from users of the popular microblogging site.

Obama noted that the US public has an “exaggerated” sense of the amount of money going to overseas aid, saying it represents only about two percent of the US government’s annual budget, or one percent if narrowly defined.

“It’s a tiny amount that has a big impact,” he said in a video response to a questioner who urged that the United States stop giving money to countries that “waste” it and cited Pakistan among the culprits.

“America, to be a leader in the world, to have influence, to help stabilize countries and create opportunity for people so that they don’t breed terrorists or create huge refugee flows and so forth — it’s smart for us to make a very modest investment in foreign aid,” said Obama.

Various opinion polls have found the US public estimates foreign aid to total up to 20 percent of overall discretionary spending, and that voters favor cuts at a time when cherished programs are on the chopping block.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Pir Ali Raza
    Jul 7, 2011 - 10:14AM

    If its such a waste to send us aid then stay out of our country and mind your own business.Recommend

  • IWriteURead
    Jul 7, 2011 - 10:38AM

    “American needs to continue to do as part of our role as a global leader”……I thought the UNO’s consulate general is the global leader….Who chose America to be a global leader?Recommend

  • Frankk
    Jul 7, 2011 - 12:00PM

    America doesn’t give Pakistan ‘aid’. It makes (inadequate) payments to Pakistan for costs incurred in fighting America’s enemies. Get out of our country and keep your noses out of our affairs and then you can keep your damn money.Recommend

  • Jul 7, 2011 - 12:59PM

    After Greece, US is next. Obama the final president to see US toward the bottom.Recommend

  • Mirza Galib
    Jul 7, 2011 - 1:08PM

    @IWriteURead:
    America choose UN to be dummy world leader, have u ever seen if US is imposing sanctions on one country UN opposed or revert that action. My dear US is BAAP of this world and our Malik as without his aid you me or any pakistani can’t eat,wear any thing and our country can’t pay our bills for fuel and international loans. We are actually driven by US’s 1% money, can you now imagine how poor we are now…Recommend

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