On Thursday, October 22, 2015, the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University hosted the debate, “Should U.S. Foreign Assistance Be Tied to Human Rights?”
Many countries that receive U.S. humanitarian, development, or security assistance are also places where human rights are violated. The key question under debate was how the United States should handle this: does U.S. assistance empower the abusers, or provide needed relief to the victims? What is the right U.S. policy?
Arguing that foreign assistance should be tied to human rights:
Arguing that foreign assistance should not be tied to human rights.
Moderating the debate:
The Key Arguments
Arguments that foreign assistance should be tied to human rights:
Arguments that foreign assistance should not be tied to human rights:
Dan Runde affirmed that the United States needs to lead with its principles. It is important not to compromise those principles and to use all instruments of statecraft to push in the direction of greater human rights.
Omer Ismail argued that aid should be tied to American values: freedom, democracy and human rights, which are shared by all American people.
Douglas Ollivant said the United States has a wide range of interests, not just human rights. Americans need to pay attention to human rights, but strike the right balance.
Andrew Natsios argued that humanitarian, health, and democracy assistance should never be withheld in order to push for human rights – it could actually threaten human life. The United States should not punish people for their governments’ abuses.
William A. Schreyer Chair
Senior Advisor, Enough Project
ASU Future of War Senior Fellow, New America
Director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, Texas A&M University
Former USAID Administrator
Executive Director of the McCain Institute.