VITAL SIGNSrnFOREIGN AFFAIRSrnForeign Aid ThatrnAin’t So ForeignrnbyR. Cort KirkwoodrnAs 1995 drew to a close, Senate Democratsrnand Republicans were stillrndebating Foreign Relations CommitteernChairman Jesse Helms’ legislation to restructurernthe State Department and itsrnancillary agencies. Helms wanted to jettisonrnthe United States Agency for InternationalrnDevelopment, the ArmsrnControl and Disarmament Agency, andrnthe United States Information Agency,rnfold their functions into the State Department,rnand then chop 30 percent ofrnforeign policy funds from the Clintonrnadministration’s fiscal 1996 budget request.rnUSAID complained the loudest,rnunwittingly revealing that more than 80rnpercent of foreign aid from AID neverrncrosses Atlantic or Pacific shores. It staysrnright here in the United States. AID is,rnto use the latest cliche, a corporate welfarernagency.rnAID bureaucrats are strangely proudrnof this fact and distributed an inch-thickrnpaper documenting the billions of dollarsrnit spends in each of the 50 states.rnUsing individual headings with thernverbiage, “Foreign Aid for [fill in yourrnfavorite state],” AID made a strong casernto every pork barreler in Congress.rnThe big winners among the 50 states,rnas you’d expect, are those in proximity tornRiver City and those boasting a largerncongressional delegation. The Old Dominionrncollected $936.1 million in AIDrncontracts. After New York, with contractsrnworth $889.6 million, Marylandrncame in third with $686.4 million. Thusrndoes $1.6 billion flow directly into thernPotomac Basin. Most of these firms arernthe “Beltway bandits” whose only jobrnseems to be securing new governmentrncontracts when the old ones expire. Andrnwith the exception of Booz Allen &rnHamilton, which holds a $29 millionrncontract for privatization efforts in thernformer Soviet Union, they are unknownrnto most Americans.rnAcross the country, however, the storyrnis different. AID’s list could well be mistakenrnfor the Fortune 500. CM, Ford,rnand even individual dealerships receivernmoney from AID. A dealer in New Jerseyrnsold AID a four-wheel drive Chevy Suburban.rnIn fiscal 1994, the Land O’Lakesrncompany of Minnesota held $24 millionrnin AID contracts. Among other things, itrnwas promoting “cooperation amongrnagricultural and food producers and [enhancing]rnthe governance of cooperativesrnin the free world,” as well as providingrn”support for in-country training programsrnfor artificial insemination of dairyrncattle.” In its survey of AID contracts,rnthe Heritage Foundation uncovered arncontract for Romanian architects tornstudy American architecture; anotherrnone awarded $1.3 million to supply streetrnlamps to Moscow “at the same time thernRussian government is planning tornspend more than $ 1 billion to make warrnon the people of Chechnya.”rnNaturally, AID’s money doesn’t alwaysrntravel directly from the TreasuryrnDepartment to corporate bank accounts.rnSometimes, it even reaches the targetrncountry, which in most cases seems to bernEgypt, Jordan, or another nation in thernMiddle East, which then uses the cash tornbuy American products. Beneficiaries ofrnthis “round-tripped” money include corporaterntitans such as Xerox, Clorox, OtisrnElevator Corporation, IBM, Westinghouse,rnGeneral Tire, Philco, and DowrnChemical. With this kind of moneyrnfloating around, it is small wonder thatrnAID has corporate support. As BrianrnJohnson of the Heritage Foundationrnsaid, “I laugh when I hear [AID director]rnBrian Atwood talking about starving babies.rnThe only people that will be starvingrn[if Congress cuts foreign aid] are thern[American] contractors who benefitrnfrom it.”rnIt has long been known that Americanrnaid to the Third Wodd has done littlernmore than subsidize oppressive governments.rnIf you don’t believe it, you mightrnask why, after 30 years of AID programs,rntelevision viewers are still treated tornnightly scenes of starving, bloated childrenrnon the evening news. That truthrnbegs the question of why American academicsrnwho study these matters don’trncall for an end to AID’s charitable ministrations.rnThe answer may lie in the millionsrnof dollars AID packs off to Americanrnuniversities, money that pays forrnexotic and far-flung research projectsrnand lines the pockets of professors atrnYale, Rutgers, and Harvard, and at thernuniversities of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona,rnArkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware,rnFlorida, Rhode Island, and SouthrnCarolina. Indeed, if there’s a universityrnthat isn’t on AID’s payroll, the board ofrntrustees should fire the dean.rnOddly, speaking with corporate executivesrnabout the possibility of losing AID’srnlargesse ruffled no feathers. They didn’trnbelieve they would get kicked off therngravy train, no matter what happenedrnto AID. As the communications directorrnof one huge firm told me, “Regardlessrnof what [the agency is called] the U.S.rngovernment’s aid to certain foreignrncountries will continue because it is ofrnstrategic importance.” Referring to thernproposal to roll AID into the State Department,rnshe said, “[We] don’t feelrnthere will be a material impact becausernthese kinds of programs are going to havernto continue whether [AID] exists as arnstand alone agency or not.”rnThe truth is, democracy is only a sidernbenefit of AID’s foreign policy bureaucracy.rnThe real purpose, as RepresentativernJim Moran explained, is commercial,rnor to use the impolite term again, corporaternwelfare. Moran, a Democrat representingrnVirginia’s eighth district, a bigrnbeneficiary of AID’s money, strongly opposesrncutting AID’S budget or handingrnits functions to the State Department.rn”AID creates markets for our products.rnThat is its mission,” he said. “What AIDrndoes, and it may be a well-kept secret,rnis promote business opportunities forrnAmerican firms. They are in the businessrnof selling expertise. That’s whyrnnorthern Virginia is such a major beneficiary.rnWe are selling our expertise inrnterms of health reform and medical consulting,rndemocracy building, good governmentrnexpertise and then we helprnthem create infrastructure.” Moran concedesrnthat AID’s mission may have beenrnphilanthropic at the time when PresidentrnKennedy came up with the idea.rnBut not anymore. AID’s mission, hernsaid, “is an economic mission, a well jus-rn38/CHRONICLESrnrnrn