Friday, June 03, 2005

Rational Foreign Aid

From Nairobi, Kenya:

Kenya will pay the price of an estimated Sh1.2 billion in withdrawn military support for its unwillingness to shield American personnel from prosecution at the International Criminal Court, it has been revealed....

Details from Washington show that the Bush administration may deprive Kenya of Sh616 million ($8 million) in funds for fighting terrorism, building democracy and resolving conflicts in the Horn of Africa and a similar amount in military aid.

The loss would be a result of an amendment added last December to the American Service Members' Protection Act to prohibit US military assistance to countries that have signed up to the formation of the ICC unless they have entered into no-surrender agreement with the US.

The law restricts US participation in any peacekeeping mission and prohibits military assistance for those nations that ratify the ICC Treaty, with the exception of Nato member countries and other major allies such as Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

The so-called Nethercutt Amendment, named for its chief Republican sponsor, intensifies US efforts to coax developing countries into signing bilateral immunity deals with the United States.

Thank you Congressman Nethercutt, for reminding the world that they don't have a right to American tax money. Of course, this is just a drop in the bucket, but it's a good start:
The pending loss of Sh1.2 billion in military and economic support funds, however, represents less than 10 percent of total US assistance to Kenya.
Later in the article, we learn it isn't even a rigid rule. The Nethercutt Amendment exempts Millennium Challenge Accounts ("an aid programme that rewards compliance with anti-corruption, human rights and economic-reform standards.") Furthermore, it "gives President Bush the authority to waive the military aid reductions for other countries."

So not only does the Nethercutt Amendment only apply to a fraction of foreign aid, it exempts performance-based aid, and the President can waive the reductions to reflect American interests.

Diplomatic success to date is demonstrated:
A total of 100 countries, including 36 in Africa, have signed Article 98 agreements with the United States. The Bush administration argues that these bilateral immunity pacts are needed to protect American personnel from frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions.
After years of foreign policy abuses, we're glad to see foreign aid openly linked to foreign policy objectives and its effectiveness on the ground.

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