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General Paper Essay : To what extent does a country benefit from foreign involvement in its affairs ?

Note : This essay was written by a JC2 student under timed conditions. Little editing has been done. This essay is open for discussion, and is not meant to be taken as the best answer to this question.


Foreign involvement occurs when other countries or organisations attempt to assist or participate in a country’s affairs. When a country receives foreign intervention in its affairs, the country may benefit if the help received is useful for their country and if the intentions of the foreign countries are genuine. However, it may turn out to be detrimental to the country if the foreign involvement inevitably causes conflicts with neighbouring countries. But, on a whole, whether foreign involvement benefits a country or not depends on the perspectives it is viewed in.

A country can benefit from foreign involvement in its affairs if the intentions of the foreign organisation or country are genuine and useful and the country needs their specific help. When a country is still developing and the infrastructure of the country is poor and there is a lack of highly educated people, the country may benefit from foreign involvement if the help provided is suitable. For example, in the 1970, when Singapore was still developing after becoming an independent state, there was a need for a person experienced in planning t6he infrastructure of the country and to develop the economy too. Therefore, foreign involvement from the United Nations took place and a Dr. Albert Winsemius was sent to help out. From his assistance, the infrastructure of Singapore was planned effectively, tall buildings were built and the economy of Singapore grew rapidly. This shows that foreign involvement in a country’s affairs can be very beneficial.

However, a country may end up not benefitting from the foreign involvement in its affairs as the foreign country or organisation will not just offer to provide assistance for free and will have their own ill intentions too, such as to exploit the country economically or politically. For example, when Laos were colonised in the past by the French, Laos hoped for the French to help develop their country’s infrastructure by building railways and buildings and also to provide economic assistance. But, in the end, the French exploited Laos and stripped them of their natural resources. This shows how a country may end up not benefitting from foreign involvement in its affairs if the foreign countries had ill intentions for offering to help the country.

Also, a country may not benefit from foreign involvement in their affairs especially if it is military assistance by countries is not liked by neighbouring countries and end up causing conflicts between them. For example, during the Korean War when the democratic South Korea was engaged in a war with its neighbouring countries North Korea, to the United States decided to intervene and send troops to South Korea. By doing so, it provoked China to send their own army to North Korea and this deepened the conflict and caused tension between South Korea and China to rise. Also, in 2011, when the United States and South Korea decided to hold a military exercise together, it caused North Korea to react fiercely and threaten to shoot artillery shells into South Korea. Therefore, this shows how foreign involvement may cause a country to experience negative effects especially if it involves military help or assistance.

Despite the detrimental effects a country can experience due to foreign involvement in its military affairs, it is without doubt that the country itself would inevitably benefit greatly in terms of their improved defence. For example, when the Soviet Union decided to build missile launch pads in Cuba in order to deter USA from invading Cuba and also to be able to attack USA easily, it caused relations between USA and Cuba to worsen. This led to the Cuban missile crisis which would have caused a devastating nuclear war. However, after the missile launch pads were uninstalled, the USA didn’t attempt to invade or take over Cuba anymore and instead decided to leave them alone. Hence, this shows how a country would benefit in the end after foreign involvement in its affairs despite the ill-effect it had experienced at first.

Finally, whether a country benefits from foreign involvement in its affairs really depends on the perspective one takes. In 2011, when civil war occurred in Libya and the rebels successfully overthrew their ruler, Gaddafi, with the help of the United Nations  it may have been regarded as beneficial to the country as the dictator was killed and removed. However, this is only true to the rebels. Libyans who did not support the rebels or Gaddafi strongly discouraged the war. The overthrowing of Gaddafi not only worsened the already weak economy in Libya, it caused the extensive damage to the infrastructure of Libya. After the civil war, the economy was ruined, houses hospitals and schools were destroyed and foreign investments stopped. So, in the end, although the foreign involvement in Libyan affairs by the United Nations to end Gaddafi’s rule may have been viewed as a success, the damage and mess created by the United Nations may have already inevitably destroyed the future of Libyans for decades to come.

Therefore, in a nutshell, foreign involvement in a country’s affairs can be very beneficial if the help is well managed and the intentions of the foreign country or organisation were genuine. However, it can be detrimental to the country as no foreign country will just offer help for free without having its  own vested interests. Also, it is not beneficial if the help provided causes conflicts between nations or even worse, wars. But, one cannot deny that foreign involvement would inevitably be beneficial to a country in one way or another. Therefore whether a country does benefit depends on the perspective it is viewed in. Foreign assistance can be beneficial in one respect but detrimental in another. Hence, a country will often benefit from foreign assistance but it comes with a price for the country most of the time.


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