The United States: From Multilateral Champion to Handicapped Donor…and Back Again?

August 12, 2013

In this paper we argue that the United States cannot afford not to revisit and reemphasize cooperation with other countries, or multilateralism, in its approach to development. That is true for aid itself because the United States is politically and bureaucratically handicapped compared to other donors in managing aid programs. The United States can better leverage its small aid budget through the multilateral institutions, particularly in countries such as Pakistan where it also has high-stakes security and diplomatic interests. Beyond aid, as its own geo-economic dominance declines, the United States needs to adjust to the growing premium on cooperation with other countries, including China, India, Brazil and other large and rapidly growing emerging markets, in shaping climate, immigration, financial and trade policies at the global level that matter for the world’s poor countries and poor people. If the United States is to contribute to development at the level its place in the world and its interests and values as a nation suggest it should, it needs to exploit its policy, technical and other advantages as a trading and investment partner and on climate and anticorruption issues, both in its bilateral relations with developing countries, and through the multilateral institutions.

Publication: This article was featured in PRISM V.4,N.3 published by the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University in September 2013. 

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