The Circular Logic of Allies and Assistance

Today, however, this order is largely reversed. Instead of foreign countries receiving assistance because they are allies, in much of the world, including large parts of Africa, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East, foreign countries are U.S. allies because they receive foreign assistance. Thus, for non-wealthy countries, receiving U.S. assistance is what defines that country as an American ally. To a large extent, the alliance has become the result of the assistance, rather than the other way around.