Criticism of foreign aid centers around the fact that it is largely ineffective at generating sustainable economic development or truly helping the world’s poor. But as this helpful map from the cost information website HowMuch.net reveals, one reason for that is that promoting development and helping the poor isn’t actually what motivates a lot of America’s foreign aid:
As you can see, the absolute biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid is Israel (this is fiscal year 2014 data, but nothing’s really changing), and two other big ones are Egypt and Jordan, which both have aid packages that are tied up with their peace treaties with Israel. None of these are poor countries (indeed, Israel is downright rich), and the point of the money is to advance an American foreign policy agenda — not to help the poor. Pakistan and Afghanistan, which get a decent share, are actually pretty poor, but it would be surprising if main American interest in them isn’t clearly foreign policy rather than poverty.