Justified Cause? Assessing the Humanitarian Outcomes of U.S. Foreign Aid and Intervention Since the Cold War

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This study utilizes both explicit statistical models and qualitative case studies to explore the research question: Do U.S. foreign aid and humanitarian intervention bring positive impacts to the human rights of the recipient or host states? To approach this question, I propose multiple linear regression models that suggest the extent of intervention significantly impacts how much a target state’s human rights conditions could either improve or decline in the years following the operations. Case-based explorations, in the context of Afghanistan and Syria, provide additional evidence of control variables from institutional, socioeconomic, and international relations perspectives. My resulting refined models demonstrate the relationship between the scales of current U.S. foreign assistance and the states’ future human rights: specifically, more economic aid and less military aid are the major factors associated with good human rights conditions of the recipient states, with negative abuse of military resources more likely to overshadow any progress of human rights from Western guided economic reforms. The findings of this study offer rich theoretical implications to policymakers in terms of avoiding the potential pitfalls of wasting critical resources and maximizing the positive influences of foreign aid and intervention on human rights. The paper ends by proposing future research directions and outlining constructive ways to create a favorable condition for humanitarian missions to make a difference in the long run.






Shen, Yicheng (n.d.). Justified Cause? Assessing the Humanitarian Outcomes of U.S. Foreign Aid and Intervention Since the Cold War. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25617.

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