Congress Questions Foreign Aid (The New Isolationism?)
by James L. Morrison

[Note: This is a re-formatted manuscript that was originally published in On the Horizon, 1992, 1(1), 9. It is posted here with permission from Jossey Bass Publishers.]

The subject of U. S. foreign aid has become one of the most avoided topics in the current American political scene. The amount of "take-care-of-America-first" rhetoric reveals the creeping isolationism that is coming increasingly to control U. S. foreign policy. Washington is not likely to take advantage of the opportunity for exercising world leadership that lies waiting as a result of an end to the Cold War, even though it is calculated that about $100 million in foreign aid can be redirected from current recipients to the new republics of the former Soviet Union.

Despite the large-sounding totals, America devotes only about 0.3% of its gross national product on foreign aid, as opposed to 2% to 3% in the days of the Marshall Plan after World War U. Right now, the prospects for reevaluating the U.S. policy of giving to foreign countries are not good. A new mood of isolationism (some might say its pressing domestic needs) is behind these policy judgments. [Seib G. (1992, January 6). U.S. foreign aid, Unpopular at home, is slow to adjust to a changing world. The Wall Street Journal, p. Al 1.]

According to Pat Robertson, televangelist host of The 70OClub, the new world order is actually a quest to eliminate national sovereignty, to destroy the Christian faith, and to establish a world government, a world police force, world courts, world banking and currency, and a world elite in charge of it all. To Robertson, dominant forces espousing this view m the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission—the behind-the-scenes Establishment. Other forces, according to Robertson, include various global issues and world order programs at major universities. Robertson states: "Consistently, the view is futurist, applying alternative visions, imaging, and other fanciful means of exploring the promised globalist world-view which they believe is just ahead of us. Supporting the research and development of all these programs are some 150 foundations, funding agencies, and research councils, ranging from Amnesty International to the World Future Society." Specifically mentioned villains include Richard Falk, Norman Cousins, Fritjof Capra, Willis Harman, the New Age world religion, the UN treaty on the Rights of the Child, and "the forward thinking plans of the Club of Rome-4he notorious pro-death group that preaches the doctrine of zero population growth." The one thing that utopian dreamers always omit, says Robertson, is the sinful nature of man. Peace will only come when its source is following from the benign influence of Almighty God. "There is absolutely no way that government can operate successfully unless led by godly men and women operating under the laws of the God of Jacob." Robertson has formed the Christian Coalition to rebuild the foundation for a free, sovereign America and to wage the "epic struggle" between "people of faith and people of the humanistic-occult sphere." [Robertson, P. (1991, September). The New World Order. Dallas, TX: Word Publishing.]


We should note that Robertson heads a fairly sizable media empire, and hosts "The 700 Club" on TV, seen in 86 countries. The New World Order was # I on the Publishers Weekly Religious Bestsellers list and among the top ten on the secular nonfiction bestseller list. Robertson exemplifies some of the forces opposing a comprehensive foreign aid program, though there appears to be unprecedented opportunity to facilitate the development of democracy around the world. Economic problems are another force that appears to be nudging the US toward isolationism.

However, efforts such as Operation Restore Hope run counter to isolationism. The global leadership exhibited in the last days of the Bush administration, and the generally bipartisan support it has received may bolster the role of colleges and universities in preparing leaders with a global perspective for an increasingly politically and economically connected world.

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