The Political Discourse on International Aid

Thesis (M.A.), 2019

71 Pages, Grade: 30 lode



Table of Contents

Acronyms and Abbreviations


Chapter 1: Theory of colonisation. Developmentalism
The concept of cultural Hegemony
Post-colonial theory
Critics on developmentalism

Chapter II: Discourse on international aid
Barack Obama
Angela Merkel
Hilary Clinton
Donald Trump
Teresa May
Jean-Clause Juncker
Gerd Muller
Emmanuel Macron
Remy Rioux
David Cameron

Chapter III: International Aid and its analysis International aid
Measuring international aid: ODA
The donor countries
Biggest recipients of aid

Document analysis
Everyone wants to be the biggest donor -the leadership race
Developmentalism and eurocentrism - the Western superiority
We help those who do what we want them to do - the power of influence
The West is more open to speak about donors' benefits
International aid and neocolonialism
Case study: The British in Botswana

Books, articles and reports
Online resources


The goal of the study is to identify and analyse the concept of international aid and political discourse on it. It compares foreign aid with theory of neocolonialism. What has development aid to do with the theory of neocolonialism? Is international aid a mean to conduct neocolonialism? If international aid should be called aid?

Chapter 1 is introductory and describes multiple theories related to colonialism and neocolonialism, such as eurocentrism, orientalism, imperialism, globalisation post-colonialism and others. Chapter 2 presents a great array of speeches, interviews and other documents from recent years which raise the topic of international aid. Chapter 3 consists of 2 parts. Part one focuses of the concept of international aid. The second part explains what political discourse has to do with neocolonialism. It examines the words of politician in the light of neocolonial theories. It investigates if international aid is really an aid.

At the end conclusions are drawn. The analysis of multiple speeches interviews and documents showed that there is a great amount of similarities in those to 2 concepts. Indeed, international aid might be a way to conduct neocolonialism.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


The goal of the study is to identify and analyse the concept of international aid and political discourse on it. It compares foreign aid with theory of neocolonialism. What has development aid to do with the theory of neocolonialism? Is international aid a mean to conduct neocolonialism? If international aid should be called aid?

The research has been developed in order to answer those questions.

The main rationale for the study is current situation. Situation in which western countries spend more and more resources on what they call international/ foreign aid or development assistance. Situation in which western leaders claim that undeveloped countries need their help to develop and advance. Situation in which the West imposes and sets certain models and values on the other nations.

The research is conducted in order to answer why is that happening, what results it brings and what is its connection to colonial and neocolonial theories. The study will analyse what international aid means, what is the political discourse on this topic and how it reflects neocolonialism.

This topic of the research has been chosen because author believes that if we want to change the future it is of vital importance to analyse the current situation while remembering about the past. Especially if we are changing a future of someone else.

Chapter 1: Theory of colonisation. Developmentalism.

In the first chapter I will introduce multiple views and definitions of ideas crucial for the rest of the paper. The reader will have an opportunity to go through crossfunctional review on the indispensable concepts.

First, the concept of colonialism will be discussed form many different perspectives. Then, the complexity of neocolonialism and means through which it is being conducted will be outlined. Proper understanding of this term will enable assessment of further issues discussed in the paper. It will let the reader understand that neocolonialism is not only the term related to our history.

The westernization also known as occidentalisation or europeanisation_and the process of globalization will be considered and presented with all of its implications. Does modernization have to be equal westernization? When did globalization process started? These and other questions will be considered in the following chapter.

Next, I will also present and develop the concept of cultural hegemony and imperialism. Concepts such as orientalism and eurocentrism and the ways in which they are exposed through will be further discussed. Afterwards, the chapter will be also devoted to post-colonialism, its multidimensionality, characteristics and its consequences. Next, the concept of developentalism will be presented. Theory of developmentalism will be later contrasted with its criticism. The assumptions of de­growth theory will be thoroughly considered and analysed.

The reader will have a chance to get to know the thoughts and ideas of scholars incl. Edward W. Said, Serge Latouche, Frantz Fanon, Hamid Dabashi, Jean-Paul Sarte, Samir Amin, Jürgen Osterhammel, John M. Hobson and others.

All of this will be done in order to give a sound theoretical base for the rest of the paper. This theoretical part is crucial in order to be able to interpret and assess the content from Chapter II.


Variety of literature on colonialism appears to be never-ending. Colonialism was one of the main concerns of many scholars for years. “Although colonialism ranks with the most influential processes in human history, Western scholars have not really come to grips with this phenomenon” admits Ronald J Horvath in his paper “A definition of Colonialism .1

What is more, the academia does not possess any widely accepted theory of colonialism, neither does agree on what colonialism really is. There is a morality question when it comes to colonialism. There is no doubt that people have particularly strong feelings about it. From one perspective it is a dirty business which has been conducted by the evil people but from different side it is seen as a praiseworthy undertaking which has been conducted by the gentlemen who aimed to save the savage, to help the unfortunate people.

We should also have a look at other definitions of the term "colonialism”. Some of the sources admit that colonialism may be defined as an exploitation, establishment, acquisition and maintenance and expansion of the colony in certain territory by the political power from the other territory.2 It is exposed as a set of relationships (established between the colony and colonial power and between indigenous population and the colonists). The following relationships are not equal. Another definition says that that colonialism is a practice and a policy of the power in expanding its control over those more weak areas or people.3 Other explanation found outlines that colonialism is when one power has control over the dependent people or area.4

Last, but not least, I will present a definition made by Jürgen Osterhammel in his book "Colonialism: A Theoretical overview”. He defines colonialism as a certain relationship which exists between the indigenous or imported by force majority and foreign invaders in minority. The most important decisions, which directly and indirectly affect lives of the colonized group of people, are taken and are implemented by the foreign invaders. At the same time the colonial rulers are most often convinced that there are superior to the colonized people. The colonizers believe that they have a "blessed” mandate and right to rule. That's also a reason why the ruling power rejects any cultural compromises.5

It is also of vital importance to mention what shall we understand by the term of colonial discourse. It is a theory which aims to analyse the discourse both of colonisation and colonialism. It demonstrates a way in which such a discourse covers up the outlining material and political aims of colonization and which points out some deep ambivalences of such a discourse.


Neocolonialism might appear through capitalism, cultural imperialism or globalization. Its main goal is to make and impact on developing regions.

As Kwame Nkrumah says: "the neocolonialism stands for an imperialism in its final and maybe even the most dangerous level”7. Sometimes this term is also called an economic imperialism. It does not come as a surprise that once a certain territory became officially independent it is surely not possible to reverse the whole process. In this day and age, any other new colonies cannot be created. But there is another 'solution' for this, which is called neocolonialism. The key point of neocolonialism is the fact that there is a state which theoretically is independent. At the same time, the same states' economics system and its policy is more or less clearly directed form outside. There are various methods and forms of this kind of direction. In a great amount of situations, a neocolonialist control comes through capital. Very often this capital coming from abroad is simply used to exploit the region rather that to develop the society. When it comes to looking at short and concise definition of colonialism, its vital to consider Oxford definition.6 It says that neocolonialism is a use of cultural, economic political or other kind of pressures in order to influence or control other countries, in particular former dependencies.

At this point, I would like to briefly mention that many also believe that neocolonialism is also conducted through international aid. It has been noticed that the receivers of international help are most likely former colonies.7 Quite often the capital coming from donor countries aims to develop the conditions for donor's country businesses in the country which receives the funds.8 In the year 2016, worldwide development aid reached a peak of $143 billion.9 This could be encouraging information considering that development help contribute to achieve a long-lasting economic change. Unfortunately, in not always does. This topic to be elaborated in further parts of the paper.

An important scholar, who is necessary to mention while considering the term of neocolonialism in Jean- Paul Sarte who is passionately criticizing French policies introduced in Algeria in the 50s and 60s.10 11 Sarte is said to be quite eccentric in his views. In his piece he also outlines the importance of decolonization which will he understands as a call for use of violence in order to achieve political goals.

The concept of cultural Hegemony

Hegemony (especially of countries) is presented as “the position of being the strongest and most powerful and therefore able to control others”13 - says Cambridge d ictiona ry. “Its' tendency has always been to move downward from the height of power and privilege in order to diffuse, disseminate, and expand itself in the widest possible range”10 admits E. Said in his book Orientalism.

Hegemony15 is a term which initially was referring to the domination of the state within the confederation. However, now it is widely understood as an agreed domination. This broader understanding has been popularized in the 1930s by an Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, who was investigating on why the ruling class was so efficient while promoting its interests into the society. Gramsci16 admits that hegemony has in roots in the power of the ruling class to persuade other classes that its benefits are also benefits to everyone else. Domination is said to expand not by the force neither by progressive persuasion, it's something much subtle. It is an indirect inclusive power over the economy and state apparatuses. For example, over the education and media. By such an act the interest of the ruling class is displayed as a common interest and is often taken for granted. Hegemony is of vital importance in imperialism. It is due to its capacity to impact the thought of the colonized which is so far the most potent and sustained operation of an imperial power in the colonized regions.


Imperialism is often understood as an unequal territorial and human relationship. It is mainly based on the idea of superiority and on practices of dominance. Often involves a control of one state or the people over another.

While discussing the term “imperialism” it is of vital importance to mention “Imperialism: A Study” (1902) written by John A. Hobson which is a widely recognized politico-economic discourse. It mentions a negative economic, financial and moral aspects of imperialism.

Imperialism might also mean a type of policy. A nation is extending its power - for example using a military force, by acquisition of lands by purchase or by diplomacy. This term is most often applied to the process of colonization of the Americas among the 15th and 19th centuries.

Let's look deeper into the etymological side of this matter. The term imperialism has its roots in the Latin word “imperium”. It means - “supreme power” . At first, it became considerably common with its ongoing sense in Great Britain. In the 1870s it was associated rather with negativity12. Before, the term imperialism was used in order to describe what was recognized as Napoleon III's undertaking in obtaining political support using foreign military interventions. The term was also applied to the Western and Japanese economic and political domination in the 19th and 20th centuries in Africa and Asia. As most of the terms its detailed meaning and proper understanding is being constantly debated by many scholars. Some scholars, for example Edward W. Said, well-known for his 1978 book Orientalism (1994), uses this term in order to describe any kind of system of domination or subordination which is organized with an imperial centre and a periphery13. This definition encompasses both nominal empires and neocolonialism.


Since the publication of the “Orientalism”14, an academic discourse on this topic mentioned in the title began. Scholars started using the term of “orientalism” in order to refer to an overall idea of patronizing the Western attitude towards the Middle Eastern, North African and Asian societies. In Edward Said's analysis, West presents those societies as underdeveloped and static. It creates a view of the oriental culture that can be studied, interpreted, and then reproduced. An implicit fact in this fabrication is the idea that western society is flexible, rational and developed.15 16 That it's simply superior.

Orientalism describes the superior “rationality”, “order” and “symmetry” of Europe as well as the inferior irrationality, disorder and primitivism of the nonEurope. Those were the self-confirming specifications in which various Orientalist disciplines circulated.

It might be quite easy to see Orientalism as a product of growth of nineteenth century modern imperialism. It is due to the European control of so called Orient which required some intellectual justification for its economic and cultural domination. However, despite the variety and the extend of complexity of Orientalist disciplines, all of the researches of Orientalist scholars were operating within unconcerned parameters. For example, the assumption that western civilization was the zenith of historical development.

The Orientalist analysis, on general, proceeded to show and confirm the mysterious, originary, primitive and exotic nature of the Oriental societies. To confirm the degeneration of those so called “non-European” societies. Since Said's analysis, " Orientalism has revealed itself as a model for the many ways in which Europe's strategies for knowing the colonised world became, at the same time, strategies for dominating that world”.


Eurocentrism is also known as Western-centrism or Eurocentricity. It is about tendency to interpret non-European (non-western) societies' culture and history from European (or western) point of view. Most often eurocentrism is exposed through:

1. Treating non-European (non-western) societies as inferior to western;
2. Undervaluing or ignoring what Asians or Africans do with their own society;
3. Seeing the history of non-European societies in European terms, or as part of "the expansion of Europe" and its civilizing influence.

The author of the ideology of “eurocentrism” is considered to be Samir Amin - a French- Egyptian political scientist and economist. This ideology of eurocentrism presents Western civilization in the centre. At the same time considers China, India, Latin America, Arab and Muslim world as those far them the centre. This concept is well presented in the book of Hamid Dabashi: "Can Non-European think?”. In this piece of work, Dabashi notices for example that European philosophy is widely known and called as "philosophy,” at the same time, African philosophy is most often called "ethno-philosophy.” The same situation appears when it comes to differentiation of music types. Dabashi, while giving a daily-life example, questions why even most sophisticated Indian musical systems is not called simply "music” but becomes "ethno­music”.

Another vital critic of Eurocentrism was Frantz Fanon - philosopher, psychiatrist and strong supporter of Algerian War for Independence. He is also the author of "The wretched of the earth”. Fanon in his work calls the Africans to promote and support their own culture and not the European as their own. He calls for rejection the sense of superiority of Europe culture - the rejection of Eurocentrism.17


Westernization is also known as occidentalisation or europeanisation. It is a process when the certain societies adopt western culture in different areas. For example: technology, industry, politics, law, values, philosophy, language, religion, clothing style, lifestyle or diet. Westernization had a powerful influence across the world in the last few centuries. Some philosophers were assuming westernization to be the equivalent of modernization, a way of thought which is often discussed. The general process of westernization is often two-sided. Western influences and interests are joined with parts of the affected society to change towards a more westernized style society. All of this with the hope of attaining a western life or some aspects of it, while western societies are themselves affected by this process and interaction with non-western groups.

The picture below perfectly shows what westernization really is.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Fig.1: Westernization in 1 picture

For the first glance of eye it may seem as the game where there is a picture and you have to find few things which do not suit there. But it is not a simple game. Its reality. In China, brads which come from the west such as Starbucks, McDonalds or BMW, Nike are undoubtedly widespread. Chinese youth put a lot of effort to study English. People listen to western music and they watch western movies as well. Chinese people, especially in big cities are westernized or simply they aim to be. Nevertheless, its undoubtedly very unique and special way of adaptation to the western culture.

A suitable example would be a McDonald's in Taiwan. It comes from the west, but its function in Taiwan is totally different. It's not treated as a fast-food but it's more a popular place were students spend hours together studying or just spending their time.

Also the popular in USA convenience store called 7-eleven may be found on every street of Taipei. Sometimes in your eyesight you may possibly see 2, 3 or 4 of them. It is vital to consider that what you can do inside the shop in Taiwan is totally different than what you usually do in US. Taiwanese may pay their rent or any bills, they may also top up their transportation card with which they can may in the shop as well. What is more they can print and copy there. Even though it is a 7 Eleven branch it does not seem to be.

It's crucial to outline that westernization is connected to the idea of cultural superiority. It leads to the thought that west is the ideal world to which everyone should strive.


Globalization is another term of which definition is vital for the proper understanding of the next chapters. Globalization is widely understood as a process of integration and interaction between companies, governments and people around the world. It has arisen and it is still in the process of growing due to development in communication and transportation technology. Parallel to rising globally interactions rises the international trade, culture and ideas. It's mainly a process of economic integration which is associated with a wide array of cultural and social aspects. From Economical point of view, globalization is thought to involve services and goods, economic resources of the data, capital and technology.18

In the year 2000, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has identified four primary aspects of globalization:

- trade and transactions;
- capital and investment movements;
- migration and movement of people;
- and the dissemination of knowledge.19

At the same time, it is vital to mention diplomatic relations and conflicts which are a large part of the beginning of modern globalization and the history of globalization. Some scholars also believe that colonization is the moment when the globalisation began.

Post-colonial theory

A post-colonial theory develops and examines propositions about the political and cultural impacts of the European conquest upon the colonized societies. It also describes the nature of colonized societies' response. The part “post” in this term undoubtedly refers to “after colonialism has begun” rather than “after colonialism has ended”. We may even go as far as to say that a cultural struggle between the imperial societies and those dominated continues till today and with no doubts will continue. This statement will be further explained and shown in practical examples in the next chapter. The post-colonial theory is connected to a wide array of cultural engagements. Such as an influence of imperial languages on the colonized societies, the impact of the European discourses - for example philosophy and history. It mentions the results of colonial education and the linkage between the western knowledge and the colonial power.20 Particularly, it is also connected to the reactions of the colonized society. Before it had been mainly oriented towards the literary theory due to the blossoming literatures which were written by the colonized society in the colonial languages - mostly in English. However, there is no doubts that now it is becoming widespread in a political, historical and sociological analyses and in this day and age it is more and more relevant to these disciplines.

There is a very clear and simplified example given below: “Imagine this: people come over to your house, while you're still living there, and decide to settle down. Permanently. They rearrange your furniture, force you to cook for them; (...). You'd ask them politely to leave, but every time you raise the subject they shush you and remind you they've got guns. Big guns. (...) Then, finally, things start looking up and you push the intruders out, guns and all. Byee! But wait...they've been over for so long that your house no longer feels like your home. Worse yet—you might not even remember how things were before these folks came in. Or, you might even like how these people rearranged your home—and life! (...) Complicated, right? You'd think you'd feel footloose and fancy-free, and maybe you kind of do, but there's all this anger, frustration, and confusion, too. Plus, where'd they put the cookie jar? (...) Okay, so take that tangle of complicated feelings and apply it all to an entire nation. And then multiply that nation by all the nations that have been "'settled"' or colonized by other nations (...) —and voila! That's post-colonialism for you. It's all about the anguish of the colonized who have to deal with the aftermath of colonization”.21

Even though the story above is really simplified, it perfectly presents the complexity of post-colonial theory and let us at least at a minimum level understand the feelings of the Colonized and the intricacy of the whole process.


Oxford dictionary presents 2 definitions of developmentalism. One of them defines the term as any of various theological or philosophical schools or doctrines of thought connected to development. Principally, those doctrines or schools which see a nature of something as a consequence of continuous development and not as predetermined or innate. The second definition presents developmentalism as an economic policy which is connected with improving the economy and national autonomy of under-developed countries by fostering and stimulation of internal markets via such means as imposition of high tariffs on the imported goods.22 Developmentalism is said to be a cross-disciplinary school of thought which was ruled by the ideology of the development as a strategy to approach an economic prosperity. This school of thought was partially a kind of reaction to the US struggle to control and deal with communism and national liberation movements in Asia and Africa.23 24

It is vital to outline that the theory of developmentalism is based on the presumptions that:

1) there are similar stages on the way of development for all of the countries;
2) there occurs linear movement from one particular stage to the other one. This may be understood as a way from primitive and traditional society to the industrialized or modern one.

Developmentalism aims to codify all of the modes in which development is being discussed on the international level. It advocates that all of the discussion about the economic development on the so called 'Third World' may be redesigned in a way which allows everyone to use the same vocabulary in order to speak about different phenomena of development.

The increase of the language uniformity could boost the understanding of the studies connected to development and could allow for more easy and much more productive communication when it comes to those studies.

Before the time of its decline (in the 70s), many scholars were quite optimistic that the term developmentalism could break the barriers between the various disciplines of social sciences while considering different complexities of development.25

Critics on developmentalism

While considering developmentalism, it is vital to outline its critics. One of well- known critics is Serge Latouche, a French professor of Philosophy and Political Sciences. Latouche criticizes:

1) utilitarianism in social sciences (an ethical theory which says that the best action is the one that maximizes utility),
2) economism (a political ideology which considers economics as a main variable in the society, it ignores the other factors - like nationality, culture etc., or just reduces them to simple economic terms26.
3) consumer society (a society within which people most often purchase new goods, especially things that they don't really need, and in which a high value is placed on the possession of big amount of things)27.
4) sustainable development (development which stands up to the needs of the present but does not limit the capability of the future generations to fulfil their own needs)28
5) economic efficiency (the term implies an economic state where every of the resources is being allocated optimally in order to serve each individual or to serve entity in the best way at the same time minimizing both inefficiency and waste. “When an economy is economically efficient, any changes made to assist one entity would harm another. In terms of production, goods are produced at their lowest possible cost, as are the variable inputs of production)”.29
6) economic rationalism (an economic policy which is mainly based on the assumed efficiency of the market forces, limiting government intervention to minimum, cut of taxes, deregulating of the labour markets and privatization.30 Latouche is also one of the thinkers who promote the de-growth theory. De­growth theory is an economic, social and political movement. It is based on anti­consumerist and anti-capitalism beliefs. It outlines the importance of eco-economics.31 De-growth is considered as a crucial economic strategy which responds to the dilemma of limits-to-growth. De-growth activists and thinkers promote the decrease of the consumption and production. It basically means the contraction of economies which is probably the main reason why none of the political leaders speaks about the necessity of de-growth.

The thinkers argue that the long-term social inequalities and environmental problems have their roots in overconsumption. The key part of the concept of de­growth is that reduction of consumption does not require individual agony or a decrease in well-being.32 The thinkers of de-growth intent to maximize well-being and happiness through the non-consumption related means. For example: consuming less, sharing work, at the same time devoting more time to music, art, family, culture, n ature a n d commun ity.

Quotation below outlines how Latouche explains the de-growth theory. “If you try to measure the reduction in the rate of growth by taking into account damages caused to the environment and its consequences on our natural and cultural patrimony, you will generally obtain a result of zero or even negative growth. In 1991, the United States spent 115 billion dollars, or 2.1% of the GDP on the protection of the environment. The Clean Air Act increased this cost by 45 or 55 million dollars per year. (...). The World Resources Institute tried to measure the rate of the growth taking into account the punishment exerted on the natural capital of the world, with an eye towards sustainable development. For Indonesia, it found that the rate of growth between 1971 and 1984 would be reduced from 7.1 to 4% annually, and that was by taking only three variables into consideration: deforestation, the reduction in the reserves of oil and natural gas, and soil erosion”.33

As we may see above, the numbers speak themselves. While using this methodology, measuring growth would never be the same. Definitely, the numbers would not be very friendly to those who are responsible for the growth of the economies. In the short interview, Serge Latouche admits that we, as a society already consume 30% more than what the biosphere is able to regenerate. He outlines that our de-growth, which means the reduction on lifestyle's demands on the ecosystem, is the basic condition for the Less Developed Countries to have a higher share. If in the current moment, everyone in the world was living in the way how Americans do, it would be necessary to have 6 planets. Latouche says that our de-growth is a prerequisite for under-developed countries. It would allow them to solve their problems and would give them a possibility of having a bigger share of life.34

Chapter II: Discourse on international aid

In the second chapter, multiple speeches, interviews and other documents on the topic of international aid will be considered. The reader will have the opportunity to get to know what most influential politicians say about the foreign assistance. Do they present development aid as a charity action and help to the poor or do they openly speak about the benefits coming from beneficiary to donor countries? This and other question will be possible to answer after analysis of the following chapter. Words of President of United States - Barack Obama on foreign assistance, security, and moral duties coming from a “biblical call” are to be presented. The speech of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on human rights, good governance and idea of new partnership is to be shown. Quotations of Hilary Clinton- United States Secretary of State about help to the Poor and America leading the word as well as solving global problems and increasing global demand for American goods will be outlined. Speeches of Teresa May- Prime Minister of United Kingdom on supporting British businesses are to be presented as well. Straightforward statements of President of United States Donald Trump about friends of America will be given. Hopes, plans and recommendations of Jean-Clause Juncker- The President of European Commission on good governance, human rights and European Commission having the leading role are to be presented. Important speeches of Gerd Muller - Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany on assets of Africa, partnership and helping the “reform-minded” countries will be outlined. Thoughts and believes expressed by Emmanuel Macron - the President of Francem together with his commitment to increase international aid coming from France are to be considered. Interview with Remy Rioux - CEO of French Development Agency, in which he expresses his vision of international aid as an investment are to be shown. Last, but not least words of David Cameron, after he finished serving as Prime Minister of United Kingdom, will be presented and discussed. Cameron notices and admits the crucial issue that after decades of aid some countries remain as poor as they were or even poorer. He mentions the question of bad, inefficient aid. He raised the topic of admitting failures and changing the way of “doing aid”.

The reason of bringing and analysing all of the speeches, interviews and other documents, is to show what Heads of the western countries and other important figures say about international aid. Even though, at first, reader may stay concerned about the connectedness of the second chapter to the first one, this connectedness is to be shown in detail in the 3rd chapter.

Barack Obama

Barak Obama - in the years 2009 - 2017 he served as the President of the United States. He was a member of Democratic Party and the first African American who was elected for the presidency. Below I would like to present the part of the speech of Barack Obama on international aid given on May 2013: “Foreign assistance cannot be viewed as charity. It is fundamental to our national security. And its fundamental to any tong-term strategy to battle extremism. Moreover, foreign assistance is a tiny fraction of what we spend fighting wars that our assistance might ultimately prevent. For what we spent in a month in Iraq at the height of the war, we could be training security forces in Libya, maintaining peace agreements between Israel and its neighbours, feeding the hungry in Yemen, building schools in Pakistan, and creating reservoirs of goodwill that marginalize extremists. That has to be part of our strategy.”35

Barack Obama outlines that foreign assistance should not be seen as a charity act but as part of national strategy. He admits its fundamental importance for security of the United States. He maintains that international aid is a way to prevent wars. Obama claims that investing in prevention is better for the budget than spending money while fighting wars.

The Next quotation comes from the interview with Barack Obama. President explains what Americans are getting wrong about foreign assistance: “One of the things I'd like to do over the next couple of years is try to erase this very sharp line between military efforts in national security and our diplomatic and foreign assistance efforts. Because, it this environment today, we've got to think of it all as one piece. If you look at our foreign assistance as a tool in our national portfolio, as opposed to charity, and you combine our defense budget overall with our diplomatic budget and our foreign assistance budget, then in that mix there's a lot more that we should be doing when it comes to helping Honduras and Guatemala build an effective criminal justice system, effective police, and economic development that creates jobs”.36 As the quotation above shows Barack Obama says that military, security and foreign assistance efforts have all similar goal. Again, he outlines that foreign aid should not be seen as charity but as a tool in national portfolio. Obama claims that defense, diplomatic and foreign assistance budgets should be seen as one. "(...) part of the challenge here is just public awareness. (...) when they do surveys, and they ask people what proportion of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid, they'll say "25%”. They're pretty sure that all their hard-earned money that they're paying in taxes is somehow going to other folks. (...) right now, it varies between 12% depending on how you define it. If we were to make some strategic investments in countries that really could use our help we would then not have to deploy our military as often and we would be in better position to work with other countries to stamp out violent extremism.37

Obama admits the importance of public awareness and presents how the public opinion beliefs differentiate from reality. A survey made by KFF- The Kaiser Family Foundation corresponds to the data showed by the President. Foundation found out that on average, Americans believe that 26% of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid. At the same time, in real life, less than 1.5 % of the USD 4.15 trillion of federal budget goes to the State Department and the USAID - United States Agency for International Development.38 Obama believes that spending more on foreign aid would let the government to spend less on military and shows international aid spending as a way to prevent further military expenses.

Another words of Obama come from his speech given during National Prayer Breakfast. President was explaining why foreign assistance is of vital importance: "it's not just about strengthening alliances, or promoting democratic values, or projecting American leadership around the world, although it does all those things and it will make us safer and more secure. It's also about the biblical call to care for the least of these — for the poor; for those at the margins of our society."46

He outlines that foreign aid is in some way a response for the “biblical call”. A call for caring for the Poor, helping other people. Beyond the words, Barack Obama mentions also the importance of strengthening of the alliances, expanding American leadership and popularizing democratic values.

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel - a German politician, who since 2005 serves as a Chancellor of Germany. She was a leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union since year 2000. Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union47, the most powerful woman in the world.48 A Chancellor of Germany could be also widely associated with International aid. She was the one who in 2015 took f46 Barack Obama, "President Obama Explains the Importance of Foreign Assistance at the National Prayer Breakfast" (speech, National Prayer Breakfast), February 2, 2012, accessed November 13, 2018, 47 "Angela Merkel: Germany's Shrewd Political Survivor," BBC News, October 29, 2018, accessed October 16, 2018, 48 Bio Staff, "Angela Merkel Tops Forbes List As Most Powerful Woman in the World,", November 01, 2017, accessed October 16, 2018, worldforbes-list. the decision to open German borders for refugees.39

Below I would like to present some parts of the speeches of Angela Merkel. Firt of them she gave on the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals in New York on 21 September 2010. “The United Nations Millennium Declaration of 2000 has given international development policy a qualitatively new basis and legitimacy. (...). It has shown that we can only fight poverty, disease and hunger successfully through a new partnership in between donor and recipient countries and a clear definition of targets.” It's vital to note that in the statement above Merkel suggest that new partnership between donor and recipient is the only possible way to fight poverty, hunger and disease with success.

Merkel continued with following words: “This shows how right the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was when he said: "Development policy is an investment in a secure future." Most importantly however, sustainable development as well as economic and social progress are unthinkable without good governance and respect for human rights.”40 As quotation above shows, Merkel maintains that social and economic progress are unimaginable without obeying human rights and without so called good governance. This statement (from 2010 year) might be very questionable right now, especially while considering the progress made by China.


1 Ronald J. Horvath, "A Definition of Colonialism," Current Anthropology 13, no. 1 (1972): 45-57.

2 "Colonialism," Merriam-Webster, accessed May 12, 2018,

3 "Definition of 'colonialism'," Collins English Dictionary, accessed May 12, 2018,

4 "Colonialism," Merriam-Webster, accessed May 12, 2018,

5 Jürgen Osterhammel, "Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview, Trans. from German

6 "Neocolonialism | Definition of Neocolonialism in English by Oxford Dictionaries," Oxford Dictionaries | English, accessed May 15, 2018,

7 Daina Chiba, Tobias Heinrich "Why do former colonies receive more foreign aid? Decomposing the colonial bias", December 16, 2016.

8 Matt Warner, "Is Development Aid the New Colonialism? | Matt Warner," FEE, September 28, 2017, accessed May 16, 2018,

9 Jean-Paul Sartre, Colonialism and Neocolonialism (London: Routledge, 2006). "HEGEMONY | Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary." Cambridge Dictionary. Accessed November 12, 2018.

10 Edward W. Said, Orientalism: Edward W. Said (New York: Vintage Books, 2003), 44.

11 " Charlton T. Lewis, An Elementary Latin Dictionary." Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, A a, Accessed June 15, 2018. ium.

12 Lars Magnusson, Teorier Om Imperialism (Stockholm: Tiden, 1991), 19.

13 Said, Orientalism, 9.

14 Said, Orientalism

15 Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: Islam, the USA, and the Global War against Terror (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2005), 32. 22 Edward Said, Orientalism, 51.

16 Ibid., 49.

17 Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Seoul: Green Bee, 2010).

18 Roland Robertson, Martin Albrow, and Elizabeth King, "Globalization, Knowledge and Society: Readings from "International Sociology,".," Contemporary Sociology 21, no. 1 (1992).

19 "Globalization: Threat or Opportunity? An IMF Issues Brief," International Monetary Fund, April 12, 2000, accessed July 22, 2018,

20 Said, Orientalism, 15.

21 Shmoop Editorial Team, "Postcolonial Theory," Shmoop, November 11, 2008, accessed July 25, 2018,

22 "Developmentalism | Definition of Developmentalism in English by Oxford Dictionaries," Oxford Dictionaries | English, accessed September 02, 2018,

23 Tony Smith, "Requiem or New Agenda for Third World Studies?" Political System and Change 37, no. 4 (July 1985): 533-534, 31 Ibid., 537.

24 Ibid., 538–539.

25 "Definition of 'economism'," | Collins English Dictionary, accessed September 15, 2018,

26 "CONSUMER SOCIETY | Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary," Cambridge Dictionary, accessed September 15, 2018, society.

27 "Sustainable Development," International Institute for International Development, July 12, 2018, accessed September 15, 2018,

28 Investopedia Staff, "Economic Efficiency," Investopedia, October 24, 2018, accessed September 26, 2018,

29 "Definition of 'economic Rationalism'," | Collins English Dictionary, accessed September 17, 2018,

30 Xepapadeas, Anastasios. "Ecological Economics."The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2008, 1-8.

31 Federico Demaria et al., "What Is Degrowth? From an Activist Slogan to a Social Movement,"Environmental Values 22, no. 2 (2013).

32 Serge Latouche, Decrecimiento Y Posdesarrollo El Pensamiento Creativo Contra La Economia Del Absurdo (Mataro (Barcelona, Espana): El Viejo Topo, 2003), 62.

33 "The End of Poverty? - Serge La Touche Clip," interview, January 28, 2010, accessed September 20, 2018, https: //www. youtube. com/watch?v=r4tLTlW 1l6M.

34 "President Obama Discusses Foreign Aid during a Speech at the National Defense University" (speech, National Defense University, May 23, 2013), accessed October 5, 2018, https://www.c-

35 Barack Obama, "Obama on What Most Americans Get Wrong about Foreign Aid," interview, February 09, 2015, accessed October 05, 2018,

36 Ibid.

37 Hyeon-Jae Seo, "Politics of Aid," The Role of Visual Media in Humanitarian Crises | Harvard International Review, April 08, 2017, accessed October 14, 2018,

38 Deutsche Welle, "Germany's Angela Merkel: 'Refugees Must Be Distributed Fairly' | DW | 27.08.2017," DW.COM, accessed October 16, 2018, refugees-must-be-distributedfairly/a-40255712.

39 Angela Merkel, "Speech by Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany" (speech, High-Level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals, New York, September 21, 2010), accessed October 20, 2018,

40 Angela Merkel, "Speech by Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany" (speech, High-Level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals, New York, September 21, 2010), accessed October 20, 2018,

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The Political Discourse on International Aid
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political, discourse, international, international aid, international development, political science, politics, neocolonisation, colonialism, decolonisation, orientalism
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Anonymous, 2019, The Political Discourse on International Aid, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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