|Motivations for Foreign Aid
Related to the analysis of the influence of domestic political forces on foreign aid is the analysis of the motivations for providing foreign aid. The analysis of the motivations for (bilateral) foreign aid also includes analysis of government executive objectives and geo-strategic concerns. As is evidenced in, for example, Stokke (1989), Lancaster (2007a), Pratt (1989), and Hook (1995, 1996), foreign aid is deployed for a number of reasons and in pursuit of a number of goals. Whether it be to present an image in the international community of generous nation or to appease commercial interest groups domestically, whether it be for humanitarian and moral reasons or in the interests of national security and regional dominance, whether it be to encourage the recipient nation to adopt more democratic forms of government and respect human rights or stimulate regime change, foreign aid is always deployed for a reason or a mixture of reasons. This bibliography contains a number of publications which present and analyze the different motivations, and combinations of motivations, for aid and various aid allocation priorities.
An early analysis of the donor interest5 and recipient needs models of donor aid provision motivation was conducted by Maizels and Nissanke (1984). They find that while aid from multilateral institutions is provided on a recipients’ needs basis, bilateral aid from different donors is provided to greater or lesser degrees in support of their own political, economic and security interests (ibid.). In the periods they studied the authors find that there were shifts in the relative emphasis on donor interest in aid allocation, with trends towards more consideration for recipient needs during the early and mid-1970s, with a reversal of these trends in the latter half of the decade (ibid.). The authors attribute this trend to shifts in bilateral aid budgets during the 1970s away from donor interest, and an increased emphasis on multilateral sources (ibid.). Maizels and Nissanke state that the reversal of this trend is explained by two factors. Firstly, donor contributions to multilateral organizations were cut during the 1970s (ibid.). Secondly, a number of donors, most notably the US, have been more overtly using bilateral aid as a foreign policy instrument, or tying their aid allocations to their export orders (ibid.).
A later study by Berthélemy (2005) also concerning the donor interest and recipient needs models of donor aid provision motivation confirms Maizels and Nissanke’s findings that donor interests take precedence in the aid allocations of certain nations. He finds that while most donors provide at least target some of their aid to their most significant trading partners, they do so to varying degrees, and most provide at least at part of their aid to the neediest recipients (ibid.). Furthermore, Berthélemy (2005) indicates that on average aid is provided to recipients with better governance indicators, for example, the absence of violent conflict or more democratic political and economic systems (ibid.). He identifies Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland as being more altruistic than other donors, while Australia, France, Italy, Japan and the US are more egotistic (ibid.). The Chinese government emphasizes recipient ownership and aligns its foreign aid with the national priorities of recipient governments (Davies 2007). This differs from traditional donor concepts of ownership and alignment which emphasize broad based participation (ibid.). Regardless of which concept of ownership and alignment is taken, the above mentioned approaches and findings of Maizels and Nissanke (1984) and Berthélemy (005) concerning the recipient needs and donor interest models provide useful measures against which to evaluate the foreign aid practices of China and other emerging donors.
Through a comparative analysis of the foreign aid policies of the US, France, Japan and Sweden Hook (1995) finds that there is a strong relationship between national interest and foreign aid. Additionally, he compares performances of these countries to the humanitarian objectives institutionalized in the OECD-DAC, of which all are members. He concludes that US foreign aid policy is dominated by national security concerns, while France is concerned more with maintaining colonial relationships and influence, Sweden provides most of its aid (80%) to recipients with Marxist or socialist economies similar to its own domestic world views, and Japan’s foreign aid policy is driven more by commercial interests (ibid.). Hook argues that Japan’s security interests are protected by America, Sweden is neutral, and France has security agreements with la Francophonie therefore these three countries had little need for security considerations in their foreign aid policies (ibid.). Hook draws on Holsti’s typology to categorize the roles these donors thus play in the international system, identifying France as an “active independent,” Japan as a “regional-subsystem collaborator,” Sweden as a “mediator,” and the US as a “bloc leader” (Hook 1995: 156). Hook further analyses the differing influences of the domestic politics in the nations under study, on their foreign aid policies. He finds that in the US domestic politics are very important because of the lack of public support for foreign aid, while Sweden enjoyed high levels of public support as their aid policies project their own social values and their political system is one based on the principle of consensus (ibid.). Furthermore, although there were also relatively high levels of support for foreign aid in France and Japan, the domestic political forces had little influence over policy formulation due to the political distance between the executive and the general public (ibid.). Lancaster (2007a) provides similar conclusions concerning the influence of domestic political forces in France, Japan and the US.
Sogge (2002) dedicates a large part of his book to analyzing the nature of the act of foreign aid provisio. He identifies in the foreign aid relationship inseparable acts of giving and taking (ibid.). While also noting the commercial, strategic and humanitarian motives of aid, Sogge states that donor nations also benefit from the brain drain and capital flight from the South to the North, Northern trade barriers and dumping in the South (ibid.). He concludes that foreign aid is not deployed in proportion to the levels of poverty of the recipient, and these insignificant levels of aid flows should be seen in the context of huge flows from poor to rich (Sogge 2002: 36). Sogge’s study raises our awareness of the less immediate effects of foreign aid provision. In later chapters he takes a closer look at the structures and institutions of the aid system to understand how they enable the perpetuation of the give and take relationship of foreign aid and what effect this has on aid policies. Sogge’s analysis of the North-South relationship, provides a useful framework within which to conduct an analysis of the South-South cooperation relationship of China and emerging donors. Whether the aid flows to and from recipients in the (poorer) South – (more) developed South relationship, when taken beyond the narrow definition of financial aid flows, are similarly disproportionate needs to be investigated.
In the same vein of the recognition of the interdependent relationship between the global North and the South, Cassen et al (1982) analyze the terms in which it is in the interests of the North and South promote and develop their interdependence. They state that there is no clear or simple set of conclusions which emerges from their study (ibid.). The authors argue that the interests and concerns vary both within and across developed nations, creating a complexity which they find difficult to summarize (ibid.). One general characteristic that they are able to identify is the absence of any effort in the North to construct a new form of interdependence or North-South interdependence on different terms (ibid.). Cassen et al argue that economic interactions among states of the North are considered to be real economic issues, while those between the North and the South are regarded as political diplomacy (ibid.). They propose that the findings from their case studies show that in actual fact the Third World is of economic importance, there are areas of mutual interest that can be pursued to stimulate global economic activity, and structural adjustments facing the North with regard to energy, trade and finance, and food production have given it greater incentives to engage in new forms of economic relations with the South (ibid.). However, Cassen et al also state that they see little evidence of economic gain from relations with the poorest developing nations, arguing that continued relations with these states should be based on notions of common humanity, poverty eradication and other humanitarian grounds and not on arguments of economic self-interest used to garner domestic political support (ibid.). Additionally, the authors find evidence of class stratification and class consciousness among nations, preventing the rich nations of the North entering alliances with groups of Third World countries (ibid.). Cassen et al conclude by questioning the ability of world order at the time of study to provide a truly equitable interdependent relationship in which Third World needs are truly taken into consideration (ibid.). The observations and conclusions of Cassen et al’s study provide an impetus for analyzing the strengthening South-South relationship, especially with consideration as to how this will affect the international political and economic order and whether or not this has the potential of initiating the process of establishing a more equitable world order, or whether it will perpetuate a world order of dominators and dominated where a number the players have merely changed roles.
Johansson (2011) investigates the determinants of bilateral donor grant aid. She notes that the grant component of bilateral aid has been increasing over the past decades, reaching as high as 97% of bilateral aid in 2005. However, she finds that the grant-concessional loan ratio for bilateral aid varies across different recipients (Johansson 2011). Johansson argues that this variation is partly explained by recipient needs as the grant component for poorer countries is higher between 1975 and 2005, however, she finds no evidence that more indebted countries receive a higher grant component (ibid.). In a related analysis, Chauvin and Kraay (2007) examine the determinants of debt relief allocation across 62 low-income countries. Their findings are similar to those of Johansson as more indebted countries are not much more likely to receive debt relief, however, larger countries are more likely to receive debt relief, especially from multilateral creditors (ibid.). These findings indicate that the relief of debt is not necessarily the main motivation for provision of debt relief (ibid.).
In his analysis of the determinants of debt forgiveness Neumayer (2002) finds that one powerful determinant is the recipient’s need for debt forgiveness, while political interests, excluding US military interests, are not significantly influential in the allocation debt forgiveness. However, he also indicates that good governance in general is not a clear determinant for debt forgiveness, rather a number of aspects of good governance are seen to have a greater influence than others, though the influence is still modest (ibid.). These aspects include: respect for democratic rights; accountability of the recipient government; and the extent to which the recipient government does not impose burdens of businesses through burdensome economic policies. He concludes that debt forgiveness has not often been used to reward good governance (ibid.).
The above discussions on the determinants of debt relief, and grant-concessional loan ratios are particularly relevant to emerging donors. There are fears that the emergence of new creditors such as China and India, will endanger the debt sustainability efforts of traditional donors (see for example AFRODAD 2008; Dahle Huse & Muyakwa 2007). China has granted debt relief and debt reductions to a number of developing countries (AFRODAD 2007; Davies 2007; McCormick 2008; MoFAPRC 2006), as has India (McCormick 2008). Investigations into the determinants of these debt relief and debt reduction policies, as well as the grant-concessional loan ratio determinants, of China and other emerging donors should provide fruitful comparisons to the determinants of similar traditional donor policies.
Arguably one of the more seminal papers on the effects of donor motivations for aid on aid effectiveness is that of Alesina and Dollar (2000). They analyzed the different motivations for aid of a number of countries, finding that while US and Nordic countries targeted poverty, democracy, and openness, with the US placing an emphasis on the Middle East, France was more concerned with former colonies and not with democracy or poverty, and Japan was more concerned with investment and trade relationships (ibid.). The authors conclude that the patterns of aid flows from donor nations are one the reasons for the only partial success of foreign aid in promoting growth and reducing poverty (Alesina & Dollar 2000). The influence of donor motivation for providing foreign aid on aid effectiveness is a theme that permeates much of the literature on the politics of foreign aid provision (see for example Bearce & Tirone 2009, Burnside & Dollar 2000 and 2004, Kilby & Dreher 2009 and McGillivray 2003, 2004). In light of the above finding that the patterns of aid flows from traditional donors are responsible for the only partial success of foreign aid in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty, it is pertinent that the patterns of aid flows from emerging donors such as China and India need to be evaluated and considered in comparison to those of traditional donors. This should provide indications of similarities and differences that will help to highlight areas that need particular attention in order to discovers mechanisms that will truly help to promote economic growth and reduce poverty in recipient countries.
Cold War & Post-Cold War Politics of Aid
Although the Cold War clearly had an influence on the nature of foreign aid relations, the strategic and security interests of aid played a greater or lesser role for different nations. Unsurprisingly, strategic and security interests played the dominant role in US aid provision during this period (Lebovic 2005). Other countries, however, were more concerned with commercial interests or maintaining dominant relations with former colonies (ibid.). Therefore, publications on the role and motivations for aid during this period can help to highlight continuities and discontinuities in trends leading up to the present day. This bibliography contains a number of publications written during, or concerning, the Cold War period, their findings should provide a deeper understanding of the relative importance of geo-strategic and ideological considerations for different donors in their formulation of foreign aid policies.
Schraeder et al’s (1998) study of the aid flows from the US, Japan, France and Sweden in the final decade of the Cold War, analyzed the influence of different foreign policy interests on foreign aid allocation. Their findings refute the altruistic rhetoric of these donors, including Sweden who is often regarded with other middle powers as being more concerned with humanitarian interests (ibid.) Furthermore they identify the importance of the ideological posture of African recipient regimes, stating that capitalist regimes which were willing to support US containment policies were targeted by US aid (ibid.). Swedish aid flows, the continue, concentrated particularly on like-minded progressive regimes in Southern Africa, while Japanese aid policymakers preferred capitalist regimes over Marxist ones (ibid.). With regard to French aid, Schraeder et al find that ideological considerations in the form of political stance were not significant, instead French aid was motivated by the perceived necessity to ensure the spread of French culture (ibid.). Moreover, Schraeder et al present the emergence of trade as an important determinant for aid even for the perceived altruistic Sweden (ibid.). The authors argue that the importance of trade as an aid determinant emerged as increasingly vocal and influential domestic actors demanded that there be a connection between foreign aid allocation and the promotion of their national economy (ibid.). They cite the OECD as stating that the trend of creating a linkage between aid and national economy promotion was prevalent during the 1980s (ibid.). Schraeder et al further propose that with the ending of the Cold War the importance of the ideological posture of recipients will decline. However, this current author argues that the promotion of democracy as a motive for foreign aid can also be interpreted as an ideological determinant of aid provision as it is based on concept of democracy being ideologically superior to its alternatives, and as such deserves to be spread around the world.
Guess (1986) takes a closer look at US aid provision (including military aid) to Latin America, Asia and the Middle East during the Cold War. His comprehensive and in-depth study, shows the effects of different forms of aid packages to a variety of regimes in achieving their goals. Guess also analyzes the domestic political processes of foreign aid, and how these shape the formulation of aid packages, including the effects of Congressional distrust of the executive and the influence of the different responsibilities of different governmental departments in the formulation and implementation of foreign aid (ibid.). Guess conducts his analysis through the Bureaucratic Role Conflict model. He argues that while foreign aid is planned and funded like most US domestic policies, it differs from these as it has both a domestic and an international component (ibid.). He states that foreign aid has often lacked its own political base due to the fact that its clients are abroad, as a result it has been moved around by conflicting pressures from all directions, most often in response to the perception of military threats or developmental needs by actors such as the DoD, State Department, Congress or the Presidency (ibid.). Aid allocation decisions have not been based on field assessments as the foreign aid policy making institutions are primarily concerned with other issues (DoD with defense; Congress with domestic policy; USDA with agriculture, etc.) (Guess 1986: 257). As such foreign aid becomes a byproduct of other policy considerations (ibid.). Guess describes the effects of this divergence of interests in foreign aid allocations on a number of countries in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Black (1968) analyzed the foreign aid strategy of the US at the height of the Cold War. He investigates the political, economic, defense, and humanitarian rationales for foreign aid provision during this period. He concludes that the political rationale for the US is clearly the dominant one during this period of ideological battle with Soviet and Chinese Communism (ibid.). He argues that Communist aid is “different” from US aid as it is part of the Communist geo-strategy for achieving world domination (ibid.). Black finds that other countries in the “Free World” have similar rationales to that of the US, though they are more limited in scope and often place a greater emphasis on trade (ibid.). An interesting study by Goldman (1967) analyzes Soviet foreign aid during a similar period. He concludes that Soviet aid was provided for a number of reasons, including: economic interests, especially during the earlier stages in postwar Communist Europe; humanitarian motives, as the Soviet government felt a certain sympathy for nations that had suffered under colonial and imperial rule; and political self-interest (ibid.). Although these motives were often mixed, Goldman observes that there was a general dominance, as in the US, of the political motives (ibid.).
During the Cold War McKinlay (1978) and McKinlay and Little (1977, 1978a, 1978b, 1979) conducted research into British, French, German, and US aid relationships with the Third World. A comparative analysis of the findings of the separate studies is presented in McKinlay (1979). McKinlay relates their findings on the nature of aid relationships to the concept of imperialism in which any nation maintains direct or indirect political or economic control or dominance over another (ibid.). He attributes this to the structure of the international system, rather than domestic structures, in which there are high levels of competition due to a lack of a basic normative order and collective goal formulation and actions in the international system (ibid.). McKinlay argues that this differs from the domestic orders in which there are extensive formal and informal regulatory frameworks, which in turn create a basic normative order (ibid.). He argues that the asymmetries within the relatively unregulated international environment encourage dominant nations to promote their own interests and maintain dominance through the use of control strategies (ibid.). Formal and informal rules do exist, however, McKinlay argues, these are far from extensive, and sanctions to reinforce these are weak (ibid.). The author states that although the most highly developed systems of rules, sanctions and collective goals are institutionalized within Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), these only have limited resources and implementable sanctions (ibid.). The resources IGOs have, McKinlay observes, are dependent on contributions from donor countries, and their aid provision patterns reflect, and reinforce, the international hierarchy and prevalent cleavages and tensions (ibid.). The author identifies two forms of imperialism active within this essentially unmoderated international framework in which asymmetries encourage dominant actors to promote their own national interests and maintain dominance through the use of control strategies such as foreign aid (ibid.). The first form, McKinlay argues, is political imperialism which is driven by concern for national security, therefore control strategies are employed to enhance national security (ibid.). The second form identified by McKinlay is economic imperialism which is driven by trade and investment concerns, where control strategies are employed in order to enhance the actor’s material well-being (ibid.). The author concludes by emphasizing that there are, however, important differences among donors on which interests are promoted and how systematically and comprehensively developed the foreign policy of their aid relationship is (McKinlay 1979: 450).
With the increasing importance of intergovernmental organizations, an increasingly influential global civil society, and collective goal formulations in the forms of, for example, the Millennium Development Goals, it would seem that a number of the aspects of the structure of the international system that facilitated the imperial aid relationships, have progressed into more just forms. However, the asymmetrical relationships between donors and recipients remain, and still remain a concern for those in or sympathetic to Third World countries.
Meerink et al (1998) analyze the explanatory models of researchers concerning the US foreign policy behavior during and immediately after the Cold War. They suggest that it was still too early to clearly identify the altered importance of the determinants of foreign aid such as ideological motivations, as the new international distributions of power and levels of systemic threat had not become settled yet (ibid.). However, the authors provide precursory evidence indicating that strategic considerations are declining while ideological goals are becoming more prominent, though they state that this evidence is not yet conclusive (ibid.). Meerink et al argue that as the US has not been an active participant in an international environment where there was not an all-consuming threat, therefore it lacks experience in formulating foreign policy and foreign aid policy in the new international system (ibid.). These current authors believe that the recent Global War on Terror might be seen as the all-consuming threat in response to which the US is experienced in drawing up its foreign policy strategies.
An earlier study by Griffin (1991) attributes the proliferation of foreign aid programs to the domestic political support for aid during the Cold War. He too identifies motives other than ideological ones, such as commercial and humanitarian interests, during this period (ibid.). However, he states that these motives played a greater role in sustaining aid programs than in initiating them, which he attributes to ideological motives prevalent at the time (ibid.). He concludes by questioning the future of foreign aid post-Cold War, wondering if the loss of ideological motives and the reduction of the national security threat will mean a reduction in foreign aid, thus hindering development in the Third World (ibid.).
Hook’s (1996) compilation of case studies regarding the patterns and practices of foreign aid provision during the Cold War and toward the new millennium, similarly, finds that there was a lack of a common goal for aid donors immediately after the Cold War. However, he notes that there is a general transnational trend towards promoting sustainable development, coming out of the ‘two-level game’ of domestic politics and the international situation (ibid.). He further discusses the implications of this for recipients, as well as the ‘development paradox’ which, he argues, is the inability of the planet to sustain the development of all nations if current development patterns persist (ibid.). Hook states that most foreign aid programs were launched in the context of superpower rivalry and decolonization, and this context provided the justification to domestic constituents for foreign aid expenditures (ibid.). As many aid budgets were reduced at the end of the Cold War, Hook observes, plans to implement UN programs for sustainable development were cut back (ibid.). During this period, he continues, governments faced difficulties justifying and legitimizing large-scale aid expenditures that were not directly related to their own perceived national interests in the post-Cold War period (ibid.). The author finds that aid flows in this immediate post-Cold War period were generally towards strategic allies of the US, former colonies of France and Britain, and Japanese trading partners, as well as former Soviet bloc transitions states and highly indebted middle-income countries (ibid.) Hook observes that the political meddling of the major superpowers in the world’s poorest states during the Cold War, has frequently been replaced by indifference and neglect after its end (ibid.). He argues that recipients often have to continue to align their economic, political and security interests with wealthy donors, as they had to during the Cold War (ibid.). Additionally, Hook notes that during the early 1990s, the US was affected by an executive-legislative impasse due to democratic administration being opposed by a majority republican Congress, which caused a preoccupation with domestic politics that obstructed the redefinition of US foreign aid strategy to address the new political and economic situation created by the end of the Cold War (ibid). He adds that Europe similarly became preoccupied with the domestic political priorities which emerged as the Cold War ended (ibid.). However, Hook argues, leaders of the industrialized world have become increasingly aware of the dangers of rising foreign debt, unrest and regional conflict resulting from socioeconomic distress, rapid population growth in LDCs and exhaustion of finite natural resources, and have found common cause with the IFIs, OECD, and other multilateral organizations concerned with aid (ibid.). This expanded political economy of the aid regime, he posits, has assured its longevity, although he states that there is still a lack coherent collective action to protect the global commons (ibid.). Lancaster (2007a) similarly finds that there has been a general trend towards an increased use of foreign aid for development purposes.
Boschini and Olofsgård (2007) confirm Griffin’s fears, and Hook’s findings, in their analysis of foreign aid during and after the Cold War. After testing the argument that the reduction of aggregate aid levels was due to the end of the Cold War, they too, conclude that aid budgets were cut with the end of Cold War, although they find no clear impact on aid allocation (ibid.). They find that these results are consistent across the 17 donor countries panel analysis (ibid.). The authors also argue that countries considered to be of strategic importance receive higher levels of aid, not only during the Cold War period, but also in the 1990s (ibid.). However, donor specific aid allocation patterns, they observe, are more scattered, likely reflecting slight variations in their motivations (ibid.). Boschini and Olofsgård also indicate that the ‘war on terrorism’ could have a similar effect in increasing aggregate aid flows as the Cold War did (ibid.). They draw attention to increased aid commitments made by a number of rich industrialized nations in the global war on terror (ibid.). Government development aid and national security policy publications contained in this bibliography from, for example, the Australian, Danish and American governments,6 also indicate the role of foreign aid in the global war on terror.
Fleck and Kilby (2010) similarly draw comparisons between the geo-political roles of aid during the Cold War and the war on terror. The authors argue that the GWOT and the Bush administration have altered many aspects of the US foreign policy and foreign aid policy and its emphasis (ibid.). They find that the US aid budget has increased with the war on terror, however, aid to poor countries with less immediate political importance has also increased (ibid.). Nevertheless, the emphasis on recipient needs has decreased (ibid.). Additionally, Fleck and Kilby find that conservative governments provide lower levels of economic assistance than liberals, ceteris paribus (ibid.). They state that this demonstrates the great impact that the war on terror has had on aid given that increased levels of aid were allocated by the conservative Bush administrations (ibid.).
Lancaster (2008a), in her analysis of the Bush administration’s foreign aid policy and its renovation, similarly describes the rapid increase in aid volumes following statements by President Bush on the new security strategy, which elevated development to the same level of priority as diplomacy and defense. Aid levels reached their highest level in their history during the Bush administration, with the Department of Defense also playing an increasingly prominent role in development aid. Aid for diplomacy started to include fighting the Global War on Terror (GWOT) however, the Bush administration also increased levels of aid for global health (ibid.).
Rather than giving space to more humanitarian considerations in development assistance allocation motivations in the period immediately after the Cold War, the publications mentioned above describe a reduction in aid expenditures and a preoccupation with domestic political concerns. The world’s poorest were neglected (Hook 1996) as strategic concerns and colonial relations continued to motivate aid. Furthermore, aid flows were directed away from the poor nations of little strategic importance, towards former Soviet bloc transition states, likely also due to strategic and security concerns (ibid.). Additionally, the increased aid flows to heavily indebted middle-income countries could be seen as a means of safeguarding economic and financial investments (ibid.). Lancaster (2007a) finds that during this period of reduced aid budgets, domestic constituencies for development aid began to campaign for the increase in aid levels and a greater focus on development. During this period too, an increasing number of governments desired to align their aid-giving policies with the development aid standards set by the OECD (ibid.). Lancaster argues that these efforts increased in the wake of the 9/11 and other terrorist attacks in Europe (ibid.). Nevertheless it was the debate on whether or not these poor states, and fragile or failing states, have provided safe havens for terrorism that has to a large extent motivated highly increased aid allocations in the Global War on Terror, as is evidenced by the policy statements of the Australian, Danish and US governments.7
China’s foreign aid motivations likewise moved away from the Cold War ideological and political motivations in the post-Cold War period (Chaponnière 2009; Cheng & Shi 2009; Li 2007). An analysis of other emerging donors might show similar trends indicating a more global shift in foreign aid allocation motivations. Noting the changes in foreign aid levels and priorities of the US and other Western industrialized states in the global war on terror, an investigation into the effects of the war or terror on the foreign aid policies of China and different emerging donors might likewise indicate global or simply regional trends.
Aid Allocations and Political Coalitions in the UN
A number of researchers have been concerned with the relationship between aid allocations and political coalitions in the UN. Alpert and Bernstein (1974), Rai (1972, 1980) and Wittkopf (1973) conducted their analyses of this relationship at the height of the Cold War. Although Rai’s first study concluded that more evidence was needed in the discussion of the causal relationship of foreign policy and particular voting behavior, his findings did suggest that certain aspects of US and Soviet foreign policy were closely related to voting in the General Assembly (Rai 1972). His later study observed a difference between the American and Soviet uses of aid in relation to voting in the General Assembly (Rai 1980). He finds that American aid was effectively used as an inducement for voting behavior, even though this also varied in different time periods within the study period (1967-76), whereas evidence on Soviet aid highlights its use as a reward or punishment rather than inducement (ibid.). However, Rai urges caution by arguing that causality cannot be concluded from correlations. Wittkopf (1973), who analyzed the US, the Soviet Union and 12 members of the UN also serving on the OECD-DAC, similarly refrains from concluding that there is a causal relationship between aid allocations and voting behavior in the UN, however, he does find associations between the two for many donors. He states that while these associations were weaker and differed in intensity for different donors in different periods under study, the associations between aid allocations and UN voting behavior remained consistently strong for the US (ibid.).
A post-Cold War study of the relationship between aid allocation and UN voting behavior conducted by Wang (1999) found more conclusive evidence of a causal relationship with regard to US aid allocation and recipient voting behavior. The author focuses the study on UN voting behavior on issues considered important to the US (ibid.). He states that the US government has made great efforts, especially since the linkage policy of Reagan administration, to send the signal to recipient nations that US aid allocation levels are used as reward or punishment for voting behavior in the UN on issues deemed important to the US (ibid.). Wang argues that evidence from his study suggests that the US has been successful in these efforts to induce voter compliance on issues important to the US (ibid.). He further argues that with the end of the Cold War, the US is still unable to use its military might to force political compliance, and thus continues to rely on the “economic statecraft” to induce political compliance (ibid.). Furthermore, Wang indicates that as aid budgets have been reduced in recent years, the marginal utility of each dollar received by recipients has increased, thus the ability of aid to induce voter compliance has also increased (ibid.).
The findings in the study conducted by Dreher et al (2008), using panel data for 143 countries from 1973-2002, also reveal the importance attached to pursuing voter compliance in UN General Assembly through US bilateral aid allocations. When disaggregating the effectiveness of various forms of foreign aid in promoting voter compliance they indicate that general budget support, grants and untied aid are the most effective forms (ibid.). Other forms of aid, they continue, are generally preferred for other objectives (ibid.). They argue that project aid and concessional loans may be preferred forms to encourage the productive use of aid in recipient countries, especially in countries where local governance is not strong (ibid.). Dreher et al add that tied aid might be favored in cases where the commercial interests of the donor are more prominent than commercial interests (ibid.). The authors conclude that there is strong evidence to suggest that US aid allocations have bought voter compliance (ibid.).
Kuziemko and Werker (2006) further analyze US aid allocations to nonpermanent members of the UN Security Council. They find that developing countries serving on the UN Security Council receive, on average, an additional $16 million in aid, while in important time periods this figure can rise to as much as $45 million (ibid.). The authors state that rotating members of the Security Council receive at least 59 percent more US aid when they serve on the Council, having reached a 170 percent increase during important voting periods (ibid.).
In their analysis of post-Cold War voting patterns in the UN General Assembly, Kim and Russett (1996) observe that voting alignment is no longer along the East-West split current in the bipolar international order of the Cold War, rather, they assert, it is now characterized by a North-South split. The authors argue that voting alignments are likely to be influenced by varying notions of self-determination and economic development, reflecting differences between rich and poor countries (ibid.). They argue that although the importance of North-South issues is not new, these issues were subordinated to East-West concerns during the Cold War (ibid.) Kim and Russett (1996) also note that due to the composition of the Security Council permanent membership, namely the dominance of Western industrialized powers, and their voting patterns and alignments, members of the Security Council have been able to hold it to a different course than the General Assembly.
In a similar study of Cold War and post-Cold War voting patterns in the UN General Assembly, Voeten (2000) rejects the structuralist hypothesis of Kim and Russett (1996) who posited that a North-South voting alignment has superseded the Cold War East-West alignment. He argues that much of the East-West alignment of the Cold War has been carried over in the post-Cold War period. Voeten presents a ‘Stability Hypothesis’ in which voting alignment is motivated by security concerns as each state is seen as a potential threat (ibid.). He maintains that besides the fact that a number of former Soviet bloc countries now align their security concerns with the West and a number of major European countries have shifted their alignment slightly away from the US in order to balance US power, voting behavior in the UN General Assembly is still very similar to that of the Cold War period (ibid.). Voeten, however, does observe the emergence of a counter hegemonic voting bloc consisting of China, India and some other countries (such as Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea) challenging the hegemony of the US and its Western allies (ibid.). Furthermore, he finds that more democratic countries tend to vote more in line with the “West” on issues concerning political and economic liberalism, though he adds that evidence of the influence of regime type on general voting behavior is inconclusive (ibid.). Finally, though he rejects the hypothesis that the post-Cold War global conflict is characterized by a “clash of civilizations”, Voeten does find some evidence of divisions between Western and non-Western countries’ voting behavior, and also between non-Western, Asian, African and Muslim countries (ibid.).
Given the above findings on the correlation between foreign aid allocations and UN voting behavior, India’s aspirations for permanent membership on the UN Security Council,8 and the fact that China’s UN Security Council membership can be attributed, at least in part, to its foreign aid efforts in the 1950s and 1960s (Li 2007), investigation in into the correlations between foreign aid allocations of China and other emerging donors and UN (both Security Council and General Assembly) voting behavior in vital in order to highlight foreign policy strategies with regard to pursuit of UN voting objectives. This is even more pertinent given the observations of Kim and Russett (1996) on the North-South alignment, and the South-South cooperation of emerging donors strengthening these trends, as well as Voeten’s (2000) finding indicating the emergence of a counter hegemonic bloc, composed of China, India and a number of other states, to challenge the hegemony of the US and its Western allies.
Donor Influence on International Financial Institutions
Another important aspect of foreign aid policy is the influence a number of donor countries exert on the International Financial Institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and regional development banks. As these institutions play an increasingly important role in aid policies and financial disbursements, a number of governments have attempted to exert pressure on them in order to pursue their own national foreign policy strategies.
Investigating IMF conditionality agreements, Kang (2007) observes that conditions attached to loans varied both qualitatively and quantitatively, this is despite the IMF’s official economic rules meant to determine conditionality. Kang notes that the five biggest contributors to the IMF (namely the US, the UK, Japan, Germany and France) all exert influence upon the IMF in order to determine IMF conditionality that is not in accordance with official IMF economic rules, in order to promote their own strategic agendas in developing countries (ibid.). He argues that this influence allows countries with national characteristics that are considered important to the five biggest contributors to enjoy easier borrowing conditionality than those that do not have such national characteristics (ibid.). Kang concludes that the failure of IMF loan conditionality to address the economic problems of certain recipients can be attributed, at least in part, to the political economic processes within IMF which have led to conditionalities not appropriate to the situation (ibid.).
Taking a political-economy analysis approach to study IMF lending practices Barro and Lee (2005) identify a number of variables that explained the probability of IMF loan approval, the size of IMF loans and the frequency of participation in IMF lending programs. The authors find probability and size of IMF loans to be larger if a country has a higher level of political and economic proximity to the US and other major Western European countries, if it has a bigger quota, and if it has more nationals working on the IMF staff (ibid.). Although this finding does not show an active effort on the part of the US and other major Western European countries to influence IMF lending practices, their influence is implied through the positive correlations between probability and size of IMF loans and the political and economic proximity to the US and other major Western European countries. Barro and Lee proceed to analyze the effects of this political economy of recipient selection, suggesting that, in general, participation in IMF loan programs is bad for economic growth (ibid.).
Vreeland (2004) similarly investigates the impact of politics on IMF arrangements and thereby IMF conditionality. He finds in that IMF agreements signed with countries which are favored by the US, conditionality is not very strict or it is not strictly enforced (ibid.). US influence over IMF lending policies is driven by both political and economic motives, to gain or maintain political support from recipients and to protect financial interests (ibid.). Vreeland further analyzes a number of aspects of the domestic politics in IMF loan recipient countries with regard to IMF conditionality and the leveraging ability of the IMF in these countries.
Analyzing US influence over the World Bank in the period 1986 to 2002, Fleck and Kilby (2006b) find that US influence over the World Bank is characterized by evolving rather than stable relationships, due to the changing interests and policies of different presidential administrations and varying economic and political situations. They indentify two US interests that have a significant connection to World Bank lending allocations when the period under study (1968-2202) is considered as a whole, namely trade and geopolitical interests (Fleck & Kilby 2006b). Concerning trade Fleck and Kilby find that, all else being equal, the greater a country’s share of US exports, the higher the levels of World Bank funds that country receives (ibid.). With regard to geopolitical considerations, the authors find that countries favored in US bilateral aid allocations were also allocated higher levels of World Bank funds (ibid.). However, the authors emphasize exact relations varied with different presidential administrations.
In an investigation into the conditionality of World Bank loan disbursements, Kilby (2009) finds that these are variably enforced. His findings reflect those of Vreeland (2004) regarding IMF conditionality and US influence. As was the case with IMF conditionality, Kilby (2009) finds that for countries friendly with the US, conditionality is not generally enforced. Whereas countries which are not seen as friendly with the US (based on whether or not they make concessions on important UN votes) conditionality is significantly enforced (ibid.). He notes that these correlations remain evident through different periods of time and across different geographic regions using a number of different estimation methods (ibid.).
Wade (2002) provides an in-depth analysis of the political workings of the World Bank, and the influence exerted on it by the US government in part through the US Treasury. Wade does this through the analysis of two cases where the US exerted pressure to influence the statements made by incumbents in important ideas-controlling positions in the World Bank. Namely statements by the chief economist Josephy Stiglitz, who was fired, and director of the World Development Report 2000 Ravi Kanbur, who resigned. Wade demonstrates that the US is able to exert its influence through the administrative machinations of the Bank in order achieve its objectives (i.e. to have Stiglitz fired, and the WDR rebalanced) while appearing to act with procedural appropriateness (Wade 2002). However, he does identify a certain degree of autonomy for the Bank and limits to the US’s influence upon the organization (ibid.).
A similar investigation into the influence of donors on IFIs was conducted by Kilby (2006) which focused on the regional Asian Development Bank. He concludes that there is significant donor influence on the Asian Development Bank, most notably by the US and Japan. Kilby argues that even when the cases of China and India are excluded, donor trade interests and geopolitical interests have a greater influence than humanitarian interests (ibid.). He notes that selection and allocation of ADB funds discriminates against China and India (ibid). Kilby argues that China was discriminated against for Cold War US political reasons, where as India was discriminated against on the basis of Japanese concerns (ibid.). Through comparison with his earlier study, and a number of other studies, Kilby comes to the conclusion that donor interests exert even more influence in the ADB than they do in the World Bank (ibid.).
Given the above findings on donor influence of International Financial Institutions and the fact that China is also a contributor to the World Bank International Development Association9 and the IMF,10 in addition to being a member of the Asian Development bank, similar investigations regarding the influence of China and emerging donors on the IFIs are needed. Results of such studies should highlight similarities and differences in the motivations and means of such influence concerning traditional and emerging donors, identifying areas where mechanisms to mitigate such influence are required.
Human Rights, Corruption & the Environment
A more recent development in foreign aid allocation policy, since the end of the Cold War, is its use (at least in government rhetoric) to promote respect for human rights, reduce corruption, and, more recently, to assist in matters relating to the environment. Not only is the priority of human rights in foreign aid allocation part of the rhetoric of many donors, such as the US, in some nations, like the aforementioned, it is legally required that human rights are given priority over economic and military interests (Apodaca & Stohl 1999). However, US legislation allows for special circumstances in which there can be some deviation from this law (ibid.). Apodaca and Stohl (1999), therefore, studied the relative importance of human rights in US foreign aid allocations. Their findings suggest that human rights concern considerations do play an important role in whether or not a country receives US foreign aid and in determining the levels of aid allocated, with poor human rights performers receiving less US bilateral economic aid than nations with better human rights records (ibid.). Nevertheless, the authors observed that national security considerations trumped human rights considerations in countries perceived to be vital to US national security, these received aid regardless of human rights performance (ibid.).
An earlier study focusing on the relation of human rights practices and US foreign aid allocation to Latin American in fiscal year 1982 by Cingranelli and Pasquarello (1985) aimed to identify whether or not there had been any progress towards human rights considerations in light of earlier studies which found that human rights violators tended to be rewarded while human rights champions were punished. Their findings suggest that there had been progress with regard to human rights considerations in US foreign aid allocation (ibid.). In the two stage process of aid allocation decisions the authors find that human rights considerations did not play a role in whether or not a country received economic assistance, however, recipients with better human rights performances did receive higher levels of economic assistance (ibid.). Cingranelli and Pasquarello find that human rights considerations did have a significant influence on whether or not a country received military aid, as countries with poor human rights records were not allocated military aid, however, levels of military aid were not determined by human rights performances (ibid.).
Neumayer (2003b) similarly investigates the relationship between human rights considerations and foreign aid allocations. His study on the foreign aid allocations of the 21 OECD-DAC members differentiates between civil/political rights and personal integrity rights (ibid.). Neumayer finds that respect for civil/political rights is an important determinant for most donor countries in decisions on whether or not to provide aid to a recipient, however, personal integrity rights play a much less significant role (ibid.). One significant finding, Neumayer suggests, is that when both aspects of human rights are taken together, the like-minded countries’ foreign aid provision is, as far as concern for human rights is concerned, not better than that of other donors (ibid.). In fact, Neumayer finds that only Japan and the United Kingdom provide more aid to countries with greater respect for human rights, and these two countries belong to the group of big donors (ibid.). However, he notes that there is inconsistency in the influence of human rights considerations for most donors, concluding that not a single donor consistently refuses aid allocations to countries with lesser respect for both civil/political rights and personal integrity rights, while providing higher levels to countries with greater respect for both aspects of human rights (ibid.).
The effects of UNCHR condemnation on aid flows to a country are analyzed by Lebovic and Voeten (2009). Their findings show that bilateral aid flows are only mildly affected by UNHCR condemnations, while multilateral aid flows, including flows from international organizations are strongly affected (ibid.). The authors observe that poor human rights performances result in large reductions in World Bank and multilateral aid commitments (ibid.). On a similar topic Alesina and Weder (2002) investigated whether or not less corrupt governments received more foreign aid. They found no evidence of negative impact of corruption on foreign aid in their broad country analysis (ibid.). However, their findings do suggest differences among donors with Scandinavian donors rewarding less corrupt recipients while the US is more concerned with form of governance (democracy) than with quality of governance (ibid.).11
A more recent form of aid provision is environmental aid. Figaj (2010) investigates the determinants of environmental aid allocation. Her conclusions, though not complete, indicate that 1) poverty and environmental variables are determinants of whether a country received environmental aid or not, 2) aid levels are determined by economic and environmental issues (ibid.). Figaj finds no evident differences between bilateral and multilateral environmental aid (ibid.). She also finds no evidence that political variables play a role in environmental aid allocation considerations, however, economic considerations do indicate a concern for financial viability (ibid.). She attributes this to the fact most environmental aid is in the form of loans which need to be paid back by recipients (ibid.).
Discussions concerning the relations between foreign aid allocations and human rights are particularly pertinent in the case of China and other emerging donors who are often accused of ignoring human rights performances in their foreign aid allocation considerations (see for example AFRODAD 2008; Asche & Schüller 2008; Cornellisen & Taylor 2000; Dahle Huse & Muyakwa 2008; Konings 2007). As is evident from the findings presented above, the human rights concerns of traditional donors also leave a lot to be desired and are also highly variable. A more in depth investigation into the relationship between foreign aid allocation and human rights considerations by China and other emerging donors is necessary in order to provide an adequate comparison with traditional donors.
The Moral Dimension of Foreign Aid
A number of publications deal with the humanitarian motivation for foreign aid provision (not to be confused with humanitarian aid or disaster relief), or the motivation foreign aid provision which is based on a perceived moral obligation for richer countries to assist poorer ones. Stokke (1989) and Lancaster (2007a), for example, attribute this to certain nations’ particular values, norms and traditions. Moreover, humanitarian and moral rhetoric can be employed to justify foreign aid to the general public, although, in some instances it might be provided with less altruistic motivations.12 In Loescher and Nichols (1989) a number of authors investigate the relationship between humanitarianism and US foreign policy. Their analysis addresses the issue of morality and politics while also presenting legislative and legal aspects of humanitarian assistance in US foreign policy. The authors do this with regard to US foreign assistance to Central America and the Horn of Africa. Loescher and Nichols argue that humanitarianism is one of the core principles of America’s dominant political ideologies and traditional morals (ibid.). They illustrate some of the difficulties of reconciling these principles with politics in the US humanitarian policy, focusing on humanitarian relief provided in the wake of both natural and political disasters. One of their contributors, Smith (1989), proposes that certain moral principles are not just intimately related to US national interests, but rather are at the core of these interests. These principles, he argues, are not universal. For example, initially, the respect for human liberties was a domestically promoted principle, however, it is now a moral good that the US has chosen to respect and advance throughout the world (ibid.).
Lumsdaine (1993) provides a more in-depth investigation in to the role of morality as a motivation for foreign aid, drawing comparisons among different donors in the period 1949-1989. He further tracks the evolution of foreign aid in light of morality as a determinant. He concludes that changes in domestic political orientations and the constantly changing ethical concerns of the publics can change the character of the international politics, for example, through the institutionalization of various standards and best practices in the OECD-DAC (ibid.). Lumsdaine argues that any explanation of foreign aid cannot be based solely on political and economic rationales, but must also provide a central place to the humanitarian and egalitarian beliefs of the aid donors (ibid.).
Hattori (2003) similarly provides an investigation into the moral dimension of foreign aid. He argues that donations given to multilateral grant-giving organizations form part of the ‘ethical core’ of a broader process of the institutionalization of foreign aid (ibid.). He claims that this institutionalization process is part of the collective effort of former colonizing countries in the postwar period, and that the key organization in this endeavor the OECD-DAC (ibid.). He argues that DAC has taken the role of ‘moral bookkeeper’ encouraging the use of foreign aid as virtuous practice (ibid.). Hattori concludes that this increased ethical discourse and public scrutiny have created the incentive for donors to conform their foreign aid practices to these beneficent standards, and further discusses the implications of this on the international order (ibid.).
An earlier study on the relation between aid and ideology was conducted by Imbeau (1988). The author develops a conceptualization of international aid-giving behavior based on the notion of a bounded rationality that involves the interaction between objective and subjective factors (Imbeau 1988: 3). From this he deduces four hypotheses to explain different levels of aid expenditures: instrumental, humanitarian, ideological and incremental (ibid.). He analyzes these hypotheses across 17 OECD donors in the years 1966, 1971, 1976 and 1981 using a regression model (ibid.). Imbeau concludes that the best predictors of aid as a percentage of GNP, during the periods of study, are the instrumental and ideological hypotheses, the former with a lagged value dependent variable and the latter without (ibid.). He finds that the humanitarian hypothesis’ explanatory value is insignificant (ibid.). Imbeau defines ideology as “an organized set of values and goals about the development of a society” (Imbeau 1988: 24). These values and goals, he argues, influence policy, and due to their ingrained nature in a polity, they are more or less constant when considered within 20 year periods (ibid.). The author argues that it has been shown that in order to gain a reliable picture of foreign policy decision making, it is necessary to simultaneously assess the relationship between objective and subjective factors (such attitudes and values), and foreign policy behavior (ibid.).
As has become apparent from this brief introduction on a few of the aspects of the roles of foreign aid in politics, foreign aid is a complex issue. Foreign aid is used to serve a multitude of purposes and any given donor’s foreign aid policy composition changes periodically. Policies are formulated in consideration of domestic determinants – such as socio-economic climate, dominant norms and values, constituent pressures, government strategy – in view of the international context (e.g. national security concerns, geo-political positioning). This bibliography makes certain recurring and emerging trends apparent, for example, the increased use of aid for commercial reasons in times of economic downturns to promote domestic economic development, and the trend towards more altruistic motivations in times where there are fewer economic and political concerns.
The variable nature of aid should also put into perspective any investigation into the nature of the relations of China and other emerging donors with less developed countries, begging the question whether these relations are so different to those of Western industrialized nations with their less developed counterparts, both past and present (Bräutigam 2009). It is important at this juncture to repeat that China is not a new donor. Due to the changing domestic and political contexts following the end of the Cold War, the economic reforms since 1978, the opening up to foreign investment during the 1990s, and the more recent “outward bound” policies which promote the foreign investment by Chinese companies, its foreign policy and foreign aid strategies and composition has changed (Chaponnière 2009; Cheng & Shi 2009; Li 2007). It no longer pursues the geo-strategic foreign aid policies intended to spread Communism (ibid.). A comparative analysis of Chinese, Japanese, French, US, and Nordic foreign aid policies would likely reveal that Chinese foreign aid policies hold a lot in common with the foreign aid policies all of these traditional donors. There are elements of the commercial interests found in Japanese aid (e.g. Bräutigam 2009; Broadman 2007; Chaponnière 2009; IOSCPRC 2005; MoFAPRC 2006). There are elements of building regional influence, like that found in French and Japanese foreign aid policies, although the terminology used by the Chinese government is that of building friendships, partnerships and trust (IOSCPRC 2005; Li 2007; MoFAPRC 2006).13 There are, moreover, similarities with the US national security concerns (IOSCPRC 2005).14 And finally, there are also aspects of the humane internationalism of Nordic countries, such as the policy of nonintervention (MoFAPRC 2006), though it is not clear whether or not the Chinese government believes it is morally responsible for assisting in the development of less developed countries. Publics in both Japan and France have had little influence of their governments’ foreign aid policy formulation (Lancaster 2007a), as is clearly the case in China too.
A greater understanding of the domestic political forces shaping Chinese foreign policy and foreign aid policy is needed to understand its foreign relations and foreign policy strategies. Lancaster (2007a) provides a useful framework for analysis through the categorization of these domestic political forces into: ideas, interests, political institutions and the organization of aid. Goldstein and Keohane’s (1993) analytic framework concerning the role of ideas in shaping policy could provide a useful underpinning to such an analysis. Assumptions are easily made based on notions of Communism, planned and controlled economies and authoritarian regimes, however, there are other elements of the domestic political forces in China, such as worldviews, traditions, morals, principled and causal beliefs, which need to be investigated and taken into consideration. The effects of Asian values and Confucianism on foreign relations and foreign policy strategy would need to be studied, as well the extent to which foreign policy and foreign aid policy are guided by Marxist/Socialist/Maoist/Communist ideologies and the reformist concepts of Deng Xiaoping. Given the importance of Guanxi (relationships) in Chinese society, and the fact that an overwhelming proportion of senior government officials have relatives in senior business positions,15 the extent to which these relationships, as one of the domestic political forces, drives or guides foreign policy formulation needs to be investigated and understood. Additionally, analyses such as that conducted by Imbeau (1988) concerning the relationship between objective and subjective political factors and foreign policy behavior will likely produce a better understanding of China’s foreign policy decision making.
Additionally, the effect of Thérien and Noël’s (2000) findings that parties who remain in power for extended periods of time have been able to make their own concepts of social justice central to national political debates, thus shaping foreign aid policies and priorities, needs to be investigated with regard to China.
It might also be fruitful take the lens of humane internationalism, as Stokke (1989) and Pratt (1989) did, and consider to what extent Chinese relations with the less developed countries fits within the different forms of this broad ideology, as socialist ideological elements play a large part in humane internationalism and Communism. Rather than being a humane internationalist or an international realist could China be a humane international realist or a liberal internationalist? Furthermore, is China more sensitive to recipient needs than traditional donors? If so, to what extent can this sensitivity be explained by Pratt’s (1989) theory as to why certain countries are more sensitive to recipient needs than others? It is clear that part of China’s sensitivity could be attributed to the pursuit of favorable consideration by recipients concerning other international political issues (Li 2007), and due to the fact that China itself is still a developing country (IOSCPRC 2005; MoFAPRC 2006).
Additionally, using Holsti’s typology as Hook (1996) did what role would China play? Would it play the role of the “regional-subsytem collaborator” which does not want to play a global role, but, instead wants to build wide cooperative communities? It is obvious that through China’s global reach and increasingly intense economic and political activities, it has already outgrown this role. Further, China’s aid provision and association with voting behavior in the UN could be investigated, especially given the fact that China’s membership can be attributed to the result of their aid efforts in Africa in the 1950s and 1960s (Li 2007).
It is clear that a lot is known about the history and politics of foreign aid provided by Western industrialized nations. Although there is a growing literature on China’s foreign aid policies, these need to be put into the perspective provided by the aid practices, both past and present, of Western industrialized nations, as well as the context of China’s own domestic political forces.