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The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) just launched its new website. As many of you know, CGD's Steve Radelet is co-chair of this initiative. The new site provides information on how foreign assistance is in our national interest, why it is vital to modernize the current system, and how you can get involved in the effort.
In light of the current tough economic times, when it is crucial to ensure that every taxpayer dollar is spent strategically and effectively, foreign assistance is a cost-effective down payment on our security, prosperity, and global standing. Americans' economic well-being is tied to that of the rest of the world, and development assistance is an important means of improving that well-being while also restoring our moral standing in the world. Fighting poverty and supporting human dignity through smart investments abroad will address global challenges and 21st century threats to U.S. security and stability.
Some people, including both Presidential candidates, are saying we can't afford to make this investment right now. MFAN members believe we can't afford not to. Right now, our foreign assistance budget is less than one-half of one percent of our federal budget. Bolstering that investment seems a cost-effective way to enhance America's and the world's security and prosperity.
Secretary of Defense Gates and others have made a call to increase the focus on the civilian instruments of national security, reminding us we "cannot kill or capture our way to victory in the war on terror." Rather we must strengthen and modernize our soft power tools of diplomacy and foreign assistance. Help us rally a chorus behind these instruments to make change happen and build a better future through smarter U.S. development assistance.
Check out the new website and our own Modernizing U.S. Foreign Assistance Initiative site to get more information on how these can be achieved and how you can join the cause.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.