Just before Christmas, President Obama signed into law one of the U.S.’s biggest aid pledges of the year. It was bound not for Africa or any of the many struggling countries on the World Bank's list.
It was a 10-year deal for $US2.77 billion to go to Israel in 2010, and a total of $US30 billion over the next decade, mainly to be spent on US military hardware. Israel is bound by the agreement to use 75 per cent of the aid to buy military devices made in the US.
For many years Israel has been the largest recipient of the US foreign-aid budget, followed by Egypt ($US1.75 billion) which also receives most of its assistance in tied military aid.
The big increase is in assistance to Pakistan, which was recently given an additional $US1.5 billion a year for the next five years, tripling its aid. (--Even though officials at the US embassy in Islamabad have alleged that Pakistan has diverted elsewhere 70 per cent of the $US9 billion in military assistance paid since 2001.)