Bob Corker at the World Affairs Council meeting in Nashville:
“I heard another Senator say last Sunday morning on one of these programs that all of us participate in that we’re giving aid to a country and they don’t even like us. Well, that’s not why we do what we do. I mean, the reason that we are involved around the world, and the reason that we do the things that we do around the world is because it’s in our own interest.” (link)There is an isolationist strain in American politics that advocates withdrawing militarily and diplomatically from the world. This view is often advocated across the political spectrum from liberal passivist to libertarian isolationist to nativist populist who make up part of the conservative movement. When people in foreign counties take to the streets and burn the American flag, many Americans will ask, "why should we be sending them foreign aid?"
For one thing, those burning the flag may not represent the majority of the populous of that nation. We should not allow the most violent and extreme who take to the streets to color our view of a whole nation. For another thing, it is worth keeping in mind that our whole foreign aid budget is less than one percent of the federal budget. Many think it is a huge sum of money; it is not. To keep shipping lanes open and markets functioning is worth the cost. And, if we can influence events with aid we may have to rely less of force. As Bob Corker said, "the reason that we do the things that we do around the world is because it’s in our own interest."