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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.
As President Obama was making his way to the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago last week, many hoped for something more concrete than just a fresh start with our neighbors in Latin America, who felt neglected and ignored for the past eight years. Those of us hoping that the president might take the opportunity to announce plans to seek congressional approval for two trade agreements that have been pending for two years or more--with Panama and Colombia--were disappointed.
This is a joint posting with David Beckmann, originally appearing on the Huffington Post Web site on March 17, 2009.
In the face of big global challenges, President Obama has rightly called for a new, smarter U.S. foreign policy that focuses on bolstering our long-term security, building our alliances, and expanding global prosperity. A central element of his new approach is elevating U.S. support for global development and balancing it with defense and diplomacy, which in practice means strengthening U.S. foreign assistance and other programs that fight poverty, disease, and lack of opportunity in developing nations.
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.
The U.S. Congress launched a new bipartisan Caucus for Congressional-World Bank Dialogue at a packed event on Capitol Hill July 16. The caucus, co-chaired by Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Betty McCollum (D-MN), provides a forum for members of Congress to engage the World Bank, parliamentarians and policy experts on poverty reduction, global development and trade.
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.
Yesterday President George Bush reported on his recent trip to Africa to members of the diplomatic corps, NGOs, and development policymakers at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. at an event hosted by the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation. President Bush relayed the details of what he called his "most exciting, exhilarating and uplifting trip" since becoming president and showed slides from his visits to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia. He argued Americans should be "mighty proud" of the work the U.S.
*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.
Late last week, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her global development agenda, promising to fight HIV/AIDS, end malaria deaths, continue her leadership on basic education for all, expand women's opportunity and children's health, eliminate poor country debt, and improve U.S. development assistance.