Eyes on Busan

November 28, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

In Sunday’s Washington Post, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote about strategies for “ending global aid in a generation.” This morning, Admiral James Stavridis, the Commander, U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe cross-posted on the USGLC blog about his conversations with USAID mission directors, saying “in this turbulent 21st century, we need to build fewer walls and more bridges. USAID, under the creative and able leadership of Raj Shah, is doing exactly that.” Tomorrow, the fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness will kick off in Busan, Korea, where Secretary Clinton will be speaking. Click here for the latest news and updates.

Must Reads

USGLC in the News

Foreign aid helps America and the world (Mark Schlakman, The Tallahassee Democrat)
For Congress and the president to make meaningful progress, it will be equally important to ensure that any cuts are smart rather than haphazard — targeted to eliminate waste and ineffective programs while maintaining what works. This applies to both domestic and foreign programs. One key area that is routinely mischaracterized and taken out of context is foreign aid, which represents less than 1 percent of the total federal budget yet helps to strengthen our allies, deprive extremists such as al-Qaida of new recruits, and protect millions of women and children from AIDS and preventable, life-threatening diseases such as malaria. All of these are vital to our national interests.

Who’s in the News
Ending global aid in a generation (Tony Blair, Washington Post)
The international goal must be to make sure many more countries are transformed. This will require building on the success of aid, broadening our thinking beyond aid to strengthen states and markets, and developing a new set of global relationships to tackle global issues. Each challenge is, of course, hard in itself — but they are also clear and achievable. I believe that within a generation no country need be dependent on aid. This matters around the world but especially to Africa, the continent most dependent on aid and a focus of my own work.

Foreign aid makes fiscal sense (Samuel A. Worthington, CNN)
Foreign aid, a topic often overlooked on the presidential campaign trail, seems to sport a giant bull’s-eye among Republicans this election season. GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry proposed setting foreign aid accounts to zero if elected. One of his opponents, Mitt Romney, suggested last month that China should bear more responsibility for direct humanitarian aid abroad, instead of collecting interest on loans to the United States. These candidates and others imply that cutting this one-line item is the key to balancing our federal budget and a near panacea for economic woes at home.

Smart Power
‘Ridiculous,’ Price calls candidate’s proposal to end foreign aid (John Frank and Rob Christensen, The News & Observer)
Democratic Rep. David Price criticized GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s proposal to eliminate foreign aid and require countries to start “at zero” to justify any aid received in the future…Price asked how “the party of internationalists such as Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan” could cut foreign aid to zero. He said foreign aid, which was less than 1 percent of the federal budget, was a cost effective investment to strengthen key allies such as Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Afghanistan and Egypt. Price is the co-chair of the House Democracy Partnership which works with parliaments in 14 development democracies including Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia and Haiti.

North Korea’s Children in Need of Food Aid, Agencies Warn (Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times)
North Korea’s harvests this fall were expected to increase by 8.5 percent compared with a year ago, but the most vulnerable segments of the population, especially young children, still urgently need international aid, two United Nations agencies said Friday…South Korea and the United States officially deny linking humanitarian aid to political issues. But North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, military tension with South Korea and fears that the North might divert food aid to its military have helped curtail contributions from potential donors.

The FP Interview: Bill and Melinda Gates (Charles Kenny, Foreign Policy)
We’re saving lives for a few thousand per life — that’s literally millions of lives that can be saved and countries that can be put on a sustainable path, along with the stability and security and medical benefits to the world at large. Even for the rich countries that are stretched to make their commitments, there are ways that I don’t believe are that damaging that would let them meet, or get close to, their commitments.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy: Politics Stops At the Water’s Edge (Michael A. Cohen, NPR)
Last Tuesday night was the tenth Republican presidential debate this year and the second to focus on national security and foreign policy. One would think that after this many discussions among the GOP aspirants, voters would have a clear sense of how a Republican commander-in-chief would deal with the myriad foreign-policy issues he (or she!) will find on his plate in January 2013. Think again…In any case, those Americans looking for answers to questions about foreign policy issues the next president will actually be dealing with on foreign policy were likely to be disappointed.

Analysis: Attack hands Pakistan a chance to squeeze U.S. (Chris Allbritton, Reuters)
Pakistan’s military has been handed a rare opportunity to press its strategic ambitions in neighboring Afghanistan after a cross-border NATO attack that killed 24 of its soldiers over the weekend. Fury over the incident at home, where anti-American sentiment runs high, makes it likely that both the army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, and the civilian government will play hardball with their ostensible ally, the United States.

Special Editorial: A Flock of Hawks (William Kristol, Weekly Standard)
The most important fact to emerge from the debate—and from the GOP campaign so far—is that the 1980 to 2008, Reagan-Bush-Dole-Bush-McCain GOP foreign policy center has held. The two candidates who have positioned themselves as challengers of that core Republican tradition, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, together have the support of about 10 percent of Republican primary voters in polls…So we have a race in which the two frontrunners, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, along with the second tier candidates, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum, are in basic agreement about foreign policy fundamentals.