The Hypocrisy Trap and US Soft Power
30 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2016
Date Written: January 16, 2016
In US foreign policy, the rhetoric does not always follow the reality. A consistent pattern of hypocrisy is evident in US foreign aid where words are matched by neither deeds nor outcomes. A hypocrisy trap is embedded in the logic of democratic politics. Democratically elected leaders cannot admit to the public that foreign aid is an important part of the arsenal of bribery used to gain policy compliance from foreign elites. They have to frame foreign aid as serving a greater cause. In so doing, they create a gap between rhetoric and reality. This institutionalized hypocrisy can be concealed from domestic audience more easily than from the public in the recipient regime who react by rejecting U.S. global leadership. Moreover, publicly available data published by the US government allows documents that the inflow of aid is often accompanied by the deterioration of institutional quality and a contraction of public good provision in the recipient countries. US efforts at extending soft power to win hearts and minds in the developing world are undermined.
Keywords: US Foreign Aid, US Global Leadership, Hypocrisy Trap
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