At less than 100 days in, it’s clear that the Trump Administration has a different approach to international engagement than previous presidents. The administration says that it wants to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of Americans and make better deals to protect Americans’ interests. So far, this has meant proposing cutting the foreign aid budget (including global health); withdrawing from international agreements and potentially from multilateral organizations; and further restricting migration. Our colleagues have done a great job explaining why we think these particular measures are likely be counterproductive at home and abroad.
But we would also argue that investing in global health, at least along certain dimensions, is entirely consistent with President Trump’s philosophy of America First—a real opportunity for his administration to improve the security of the American people by pushing through some much-needed reform. In that spirit, we’ve put together a proposal for a new executive initiative under the Trump Administration. We call it PAHAA: Protecting America’s Health at Home and Abroad.
We urge you to read the full (draft) document for yourself and share your feedback and recommendations directly in the comments. To summarize, we highlight the threat of pandemic disease, including the ongoing Avian flu outbreak, to American health, safety, security, and prosperity; recommend increased and more effective investment to combat the outbreak threat at home and abroad; and suggest ways that the Trump Administration can leverage American contributions to multilateral organizations, particularly the World Health Organization, to make better deals on behalf of the American people. We argue that multilateral organizations are a key platform to make sure other countries pay their fair share—but reform is necessary to get good value for American taxpayer dollars. We also applaud an important step already taken by the administration—the proposed Federal Emergency Response Fund for public health outbreaks—and urge the administration to ensure that it is adequately resourced and available for use both domestically and abroad, as needed to best contain a disease outbreak.
Importantly, we emphasize that this is not a research article; instead, it is an attempt to put forward a US-focused policy proposal for global health and pandemic preparedness for the new administration. So please do give it a read and share your thoughts below in the comments. We believe that these investments are a good deal for the American people—and we think President Trump will believe it too.