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This commentary also appeared on The Huffington Post and Global Post
Last week at a United Nations conference, donors pledged more than $10 billion to finance reconstruction and development investments in Haiti. The United States promised a hefty $1.15 billion.
But pledging money is the easy part. The United States, the lead donor and friend with the greatest interest in Haiti's future development, can do much more, in two ways: its own aid programs can be more effective; and it can take steps beyond aid that are far more critical to long-run prosperity for Haiti's people.
We are at the start of what promises to be an unusually difficult year in the global economy. Policy decisions in the United States and other rich world countries will matter immensely for poor and vulnerable people living in developing countries.
There was another meeting in Doha this past weekend through yesterday. This time it was the United Nations not the WTO that failed to close any deal.
I attended because CGD organized a "side event" on our COD Aid initiative -- more on that in another comment later this week.
Everyone says August in Washington, D.C. is quiet. That is of course, unless you are planning to attend the presidential conventions and from what I can tell, just about everyone is sending someone to the conventions. And this time around, CGD is going to both of them.
And now for a really bad idea: according to the Financial Times Michel Barnier, France's farm minister, told a food crisis summit in Berne that Africa and Latin America should adopt their own versions of Europe's Common Agricultural Policy -- massive trade-distorting subsidies -- as a response to rising demand for food.
In Memphis today, Senator Clinton called for a Cabinet-level poverty czar. This person would be "solely and fully devoted to ending poverty as we know it, that will focus the attention of our nation on this issue and never let it go."
*This is a joint post with Steve Radelet
The extraordinary challenges and opportunities of today require a new vision of American global leadership based on the strength of our core values, ideas and ingenuity. They call for an integrated foreign policy that promotes our values, enhances our security, helps create economic and political opportunities for people around the world, and restores America's faltering image abroad. We cannot rely exclusively or even primarily on military might to meet these goals. Instead, we must make greater use of all the tools of statecraft through "smart power," including diplomacy, trade, investment, intelligence, and a strong and effective foreign assistance strategy.
President Bush is going to Latin America, and that has inspired a round of commentary in the mainstream press. A New York Times editorial urges the President to focus on democracy, human rights and social justice, and applauds the recent doubling of U.S. aid to the region. Democracy and social justice and a dollop of aid (the current budget of $1.6 billion is barely 1 percent of spending by Latin governments on health and education) are good things.