A recent survey by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project has made an interesting discovery: countries that receive some of the most U.S. aid funds have some of the most negative attitudes towards the United States.
According to the survey, "Egyptians and Pakistanis say [aid] is having a negative impact in their countries," with 55 percent of Egyptians and 43 percent of Pakistanis viewing U.S. aid negatively.
Image: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project
This is not to say that all the countries receiving U.S. aid feel this way. Indeed, as the chart below shows, U.S. economic aid is viewed mostly favorably in African countries, with 78 percent and 64 percent of people surveyed in Kenya and Ghana viewing U.S. aid as having a mostly positive impact.
But is building good will towards America really the point of U.S. financial aid? NPR blogger Greg Myre doesn't think so. After all, capital — especially in cash-strapped countries — equals power. He writes:
The U.S. provides aid for many reasons, and winning popularity may be nice, but it's not the main goal. The U.S. tends to provide assistance in places it considers strategically important, and they are often volatile as well.
So even if Egypt and Pakistan are not the biggest fans of the U.S., they certainly are strategically important and volatile, especially recently.
The report also had some good news about attitudes toward America, finding that "across the nations surveyed, a median of 63 percent express a favorable opinion of the U.S., compared with 50 percent for China."
President Barack Obama may be to thank for that one. The Pew report found "Obama has largely received more positive ratings than his predecessor, George W. Bush," and this is especially true in Europe, one of the regions that receives the least U.S. aid.