Development and the G20

October 28, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

In advance of the G20 meeting of the world’s largest economies next week in France, President Obama penned an opinion editorial in the Financial Times. He wrote, “Finally, the G20 nations must deepen co-operation on the range of global challenges that affect our shared prosperity…As we promote the development that gives nations a path out of poverty, we can focus on the infrastructure, finance and good governance that unleash growth. Even as we work to save lives from the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, we need to continue investing in the food security and agricultural productivity that make future famines less likely and communities more self-sufficient.”

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Who’s in the News

A firewall to stop Europe’s crisis spreading (Barack Obama, Financial Times)

When leaders of the largest economies meet next week in France, our citizens will be watching for the same sense of common purpose that allowed us to rescue the global economy two years ago from a financial crisis that was sparked by years of irresponsibility.  Because of the co-ordinated action the Group of 20 took then, the global economy began to grow again. …Still, progress has not come fast enough and today the global recovery remains fragile. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people are unemployed. Disruptions in oil supplies, the tragic earthquake in Japan, and Europe’s financial crisis have contributed to the slowdown. Emerging economies have begun to slow. Global demand is weakening.  Our challenge is clear. We must stay focused on the strong, sustainable and balanced growth that boosts global demand and creates jobs and opportunity for our people. This requires action in several areas.

Clinton Defends US Policy on Pakistan, Afghanistan to Congressional Panel (Cindy Saine, Voice of America)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has strongly defended Obama administration policies towards Pakistan and Afghanistan during an appearance Thursday before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.  Some lawmakers expressed frustration about continued terrorist safe havens in Pakistan that are undermining NATO efforts in Afghanistan. A number of lawmakers grilled Secretary of State Clinton as to whether the United States is making progress towards achieving its strategic national security goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Graham pushes foreign aid (Robert Behre, Charleston Post and Courier)

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham told the local Rotary Club on Wednesday that he is open to changing how the United States spends its foreign-aid dollars but doesn’t want to see them cut off.  Graham praised the club’s longtime commitment to eradicating polio — an effort backed with $300 million from software by the Bill Gates Foundation that successfully controlled the disease’s spread everywhere but in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.  “You know how much money the federal government is going to spend on eradicating polio? Thirty-five million, and I’m fighting like hell to keep it,” he said.

Graham right on foreign aid (Charleston Post and Courier editorial)

Public opinion polls for decades have exposed a deep-seated fallacy about the federal budget. Majorities erroneously think the way to control public spending is to cut foreign aid.  It is simply wrong to think that eliminating foreign aid would do much to reduce federal deficits. This year the entire budget for foreign affairs represents just 1 percent of the federal budget of $3.6 trillion. Eliminating it would amount to scarcely more than a rounding error in the $1 trillion estimated deficit.

Smart Power

The life-saving power of education (Khalil Senosi, Washington Post)

Education is one of the best investments donor countries can make in the fight to end poverty, promote democracy and reduce dependence on foreign aid. It has an incredible multiplier effect on health and economic growth among other development priorities. the 1 percent of government spending and yet assistance for global education is only a fraction of in the United States that goes to foreign assistance.

Numbers Matter, But People Count (Suzanne Ehlers, Huffington Post)

In 1994, at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the world came around to a different way of thinking — framed fully within a rights-based context. But really, who lives their life by a UN mandate? The real benefits of that framework were conferred on women who had no knowledge of it. It showed up in small ways — in empowerment, in the way they lived their lives. In the way I live my life.  Fast forward to where we are now, facing renewed attacks in as hostile a climate as any of us can remember. Politically, there are relentless attacks on women’s rights and health. Economically, we are witnessing deep and irrevocable cuts to spending and foreign aid. Even the religious and cultural corner is waging newly energized attacks on contraception…

Stuntmen of the supercommittee (Dana Milbank, Washington Post)

As members of the budget “supercommittee” arrived in a congressional hearing room for another public hearing this week, a more compelling performance of political theater was debuting nearby on the east lawn of the Capitol.  A dozen demonstrators, wearing blue and red “supercommittee” capes and masks showing larger-than-life faces of the committee members, posed for the cameras. Next to them, a grim reaper, carrying cleavers labeled “budget cuts,” menaced a group of bound hostages wearing labels such as “USAID” and “Global Health Initiative.” As the reaper raised his knives over the hostages, the committee members only shrugged…The performance was officially dubbed a “photo stunt” by its organizer, Oxfam America.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Ron Paul vs. foreign policy partnership (Jack Hunter, Daily Caller)

This may sound harsh, but current U.S. foreign policy is a disaster.  Most Americans will admit as much if they examine our most significant foreign interventions individually.  Our least disastrous recent foreign intervention occurred in Libya, where aiding rebel forces did help depose dictator Moammar Gadhafi.  Yet, we now learn a radical Islamic regime is taking his place.  Mission accomplished?

Tunisians Protest Election Fraud, Point Finger at Islamist Party (International Business Times)

Claiming election “fraud,” nearly 100 Tunisians protested Tuesday outside the headquarters of the independent electoral body, saying the country’s first-ever elections have been marred.  “No, no to fraud,” the group chanted, reportedly pointing the finger at the Islamist Ennahda party, which, official results showed Sunday, that of the millions of Tunisians who turned out to cast their vote, many favored Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party that won 43 of the 101 seats so far assigned to the 217-seat assembly, The Wall Street Journal reported. Partial results released supported Ennahda party claims that it won at least 40 percent of the seats.