[September 30, 2019] Not well known is that the foreign aid provided by the United States covers a vast network around the world. But that foreign aid from the U.S. continues to be under great scrutiny and controversy by its own citizens. Juxtapose that with the Berlin Airlift. Today is the anniversary of the ending of the Berlin Airlift; September 30, 1949; not only was it not controversial, it was highly popular.
“Foreign aid is neither a failure nor a panacea. It is, instead, an important tool of American policy that can serve the interests of the United States and the world if wisely administered.” – Lee H. Hamilton, U.S. Representative
From the 20th Century, the Berlin Airlift was unquestionably the most well-known and effective foreign-aid program in the Western world. While the U.S. led the initiative, England and France were co-equal partners in opposing the blockade of the city of Berlin by the communist Soviet Union. A result of the blockade was the people of West Berlin were left without food, clothing, or medical supplies.
The airlift was a tremendous Cold War victory; without firing a shot. The plans of the Soviets to hold West Berlin hostage failed to meet the demands the communists were making over postwar Germany.1 Due to the steady resolve of senior political leaders in the U.S., England, and France, the world came to see the Russians as international bullies, trying to starve innocent citizens.
Foreign aid is a political model that supports the interests of that nation. The United States gives more money than any other nation because our leadership and citizens recognize, despite its faults, that foreign aid returns a benefit more than any other program; public or private.