How U.S. and Western Foreign Policy Create Global Poverty And Fuel Mass Migrations

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Where are leaders of the caliber of the late Julius Nyerere of Tanzania? Photo: Wikimedia Commons
 
The immigration debate became the major staple across broadcast and print media ever since the Trump Administration took office. The 2020 Presidential debates have skirted the issue of foreign policy and immigration issues. Recently U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that on December 12, 2019, it will stop determining fee waivers based on public benefits used by immigrants when they apply for residency or citizenship. 
 
Many supporters of immigration, newspaper writers and presidential candidates, have been calling for meaningful immigration reform. However, what is missing from the discourse is the direct link between the immigration dilemma and U.S. foreign policy. That is the source of the problem.
 
The corporate media, politicians and even ordinary citizens, have always spoken of how "poor" these developing countries or the "Third World" are. The question that needs to be raised is how did these countries become so "poor," and steeped in poverty and foreign debt. It is a complex issue due to the socio-historic, socio-economic and political dynamics that shape the problem. 
 
After independence, some of these developing countries tried to embark on a path of progressive socio-economic development but faced fierce resistance from the local capitalist class, former colonial power and multi-national corporations headed by the United States. Further, if we support the premise that economics is the basis of society, then politics must reflect and support that socio-economic system from which it evolved. Political independence did not automatically translate into economic independence, for most of the developing countries. Many
leaders of these countries carried on--or were forced to do so--the colonial and misguided policies of their predecessors, on the erroneous belief that this would promote social advancement.
 
At the same time the colonialists and multinationals installed “puppet” officials who sabotaged any program that would foster progressive social development. Here too the consolidation of independence, suffered a serious blow from internal contradictions and capitalism’s new tactic, the export of capital. In a Paper presented to the 10th annual Third World Conference, held in Chicago, IL., Dr. Linus A. Hopkins wrote “ the debt burden of Third World countries has not accumulated overnight. It has accumulated as a result of the decades of unequal exchange between these nations and the industrial western nations within the international capitalist economy, an exchange that, historically, has been characterized by a legacy of underdevelopment and dependency for the exploited.” The export of capital through commodities, machinery, technology, licensing agreements, credits and loans by international financial institutions put the receiving countries in nothing short of persistent poverty. Agencies such as the IMF, World Band, IADB and Exim bank among others, create tremendous economic and social pressures on developing countries through draconian lending policies.
 
Some countries pay as much as 86 percent of their GDP to service foreign debts. Other general requirements such as devaluation of the country’s currency, dismantling of price controls, elimination or relaxation of control on imports and foreign exchange, wage increase ceiling, abolition of subsidies on basic consumer items, and cutback on government spending, especially for social programs. Policies such as these prevent a progressive government from pursuing social programs or other developmental projects. Such programs are not encouraged by the home state of the multinationals and they immediately begin a campaign of destabilization, illegal and immoral sanctions, coups and assassinations. The experiences of Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, Michael Manley in Jamaica, Salvador Allende Gossens in Chile, Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, and Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti are only a few examples. 
 
Civil unrest reduces the capacity of the productive forces, produces forced migration and brain drain, significantly lowers wages and increases the level of poverty within the respective country. This works in the interest of the multi-nationals because it guarantees the continuance of cheap labor, unfettered access and control of raw materials and natural resources and super profits.
 
The past is just as relevant as the present; the multi-nationals and the international lending agencies, still operate in the developing countries with impunity and disproportionate agreements. They use their leverage to pressure the respective governments into making concessions that on the surface seems to alleviate the sufferings but in fact makes them worse.
 
Along with this, corruption by government officials and shortsightedness by trying to borrow one’s way out of poverty, only compounds the problem. The only way to stem the forced migration problem is for the United States to stop supporting the reactionary, genocidal and corrupt military and governments of the so-called developing countries. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the international monetary system, to be replaced with lending policies that are favorable to both parties and assist in the creation of social development. This overhauling also calls for the rescheduling of foreign debts owed by the developing countries; the enormous amounts--hundreds of billions of dollars--owed will never be paid off in the next two or three generations. This is the basis of the scourge of persistent poverty experienced by these countries; the citizenry faced with skyrocketing inflation, reduction in social services, homelessness and political repression will continue to migrate legally or illegally to find respite from such a destructive socio-economic condition. We see acts of mass desperation with young Africans taking to the high seas and drawing in the hundreds annually in a perilous voyage to Europe across the Mediterranean.
 
The progressive forces of these countries also need to organize and agitate to develop a working people’s movement and assume power to pursue a path of national sovereignty, self-determination and non-capitalist socio-economic development. The resources of the world exists for all humans to use and enjoy, however, the captains of international capitalism believe that they should have exclusive access and control of the wealth by either not paying for it or, if they do, at the smallest cost to them at the detriment of the owners of said resources. 
 
Immigration and foreign policy go hand in hand, they’re interrelated; they can be either complimentary or antagonistic to each other. Approaching the discussion any other way is lopsided and gives only a partial view of the issue – they’re parts of the same whole.
 
 

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