The U.S. takes steps to ensure development resources are effective

October 7, 2010 By Andy Amsler

The Daily GAB

A new report may question the effectiveness of foreign assistance, but it also demonstrates the need to rebuild U.S. development programs, which have been understaffed and underfunded for far too long.  It’s a process to rebuild an operation that saw significant cuts after the end of the cold war, but with increased resources beginning in the Bush Administration and now continuing in the Obama Administration, development is now becoming a core pillar of our national security once again.  And with the new Presidential Development Directive, the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review near completion, and bipartisan support on Capitol Hill to reform and strengthen foreign assistance, the U.S. government is taking steps to ensure that our development resources are effective and provide a good return for the American taxpayer.

Today in Washington – Thursday, October 7, 2010
Secretary Clinton meets with UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Baroness Valerie Amos
12:05AM: President Obama signs the Intel Authorization Bill
President Obama meets with Secretary of the Treasury Geithner
Secretary Clinton meets with Administrator Shah and her development team
Administrator Shah hosts leaders of implementing partners and think tanks to discuss implementing U.S. development policy

Must Reads

Who’s In the News
Bill Clinton Lobbies For Earthquake Aid To Haiti (Jonathan M. Katz – The Huffington Post)

Former President Bill Clinton said desperately needed U.S. aid is coming to Haiti despite delays after listening on Wednesday to refugees in a sprawling homeless camp complain of a lack of food, jobs and housing nine months after a devastating earthquake. Clinton, the co-chair of the commission overseeing Haiti’s reconstruction, expressed frustration with the slow delivery of promised funds by donors who have delivered about $732 million of a promised $5.3 billion in funds for 2010-11, along with debt relief. Most notably absent is the United States, which has yet to deliver any of its promised $1.15 billion.

Clinton laments delay in U.S. aid (Politico)

Former President Bill Clinton told Haiti on Wednesday that long-delayed aid from the United States is on its way. “First of all, in the next day or so, it will become obvious that the United States is making a huge down payment on that,” Clinton, who leads a panel overseeing the rebuilding of the quake-torn country with Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, told reporters, according to the AP. “Secondly, I’m not too concerned, although I’m frustrated, because the Congress have approved the money that the secretary of state and the White House asked for.”

Smart Power

Iraq, Afghanistan among 22 Food-Insecure Countries (Juan Cole – Informed Comment)

Twenty-two countries are facing enormous challenges like repeated food crises and an extremely high prevalence of hunger due to a combination of natural disasters, conflict, and weak institutions. These countries are in what is termed a protracted crisis, FAO said in its “State of Food Insecurity in the World 2010” hunger report, jointly published today with the World Food Programme (WFP). Chronic hunger and food insecurity are the most common characteristics of a protracted crisis. On average, the proportion of people who are undernourished in countries facing these complex problems is almost three times as high as in other developing countries. ‘

Despite rising doubts at home, troops in one corner of Afghanistan see signs of progress (Karin Bulliard – The Washington Post)

As a major new offensive gets underway here in the Arghandab River valley and elsewhere in Kandahar province, criticism is rising in Washington about the coherence of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. President Obama is said to be troubled by mounting casualties, many in this southern Taliban stronghold. Skeptics in Congress and the White House are demanding more data on the progress of the war. But the Delta Company soldiers in this one corner of one district have a different view. They arrived two months ago in what was clearly Taliban land. Today it is contested land. To them, violence is a sign of progress: Now the Taliban has someone to fight.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Administration scrambles to explain why ambassadors were turned away from White House reception (Josh Rogin – Foreign Policy)

Several foreign ambassadors were shocked Tuesday night when they arrived at the White House for the annual “Chiefs of Mission” reception but were denied entry by security staff. Several threw up their hands and went home. Ambassadors from Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, and several other countries were held at the door, while European diplomats from France and Finland were allowed in. This led several ambassadors to speculate that it was an alphabetical problem — countries with names in the latter half of the alphabet were somehow affected by a registration error. Neither the administration nor the State Department would provide a full list of the countries affected by the SNAFU.

Morning Brief: In attempt to repair ties, U.S. apologizes to Pakistan for helicopter strike (David Kenner – Foreign Policy)

The United States apologized to Pakistan on Wednesday for a helicopter strike that destroyed a military outpost last week, killing two Pakistani soldiers and wounding four more. The incident has caused an abrupt decline in U.S.-Pakistani relations: The Pakistani government shut the main border crossing into Afghanistan, which the NATO-led coalition relies upon for its military supplies, demanding an admission of fault and an apology for the attack. Pakistan holds that its soldiers fired warning shots to indicate to the two U.S. helicopters that they were in Pakistani airspace. The latest statements released both by the U.S. embassy in Islamabad and from Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, appear to largely adopt Pakistan’s version of events. Initial coalition statements said that the helicopters had fired on the post in self-defense.