The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2017
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7. Educate the American public.

Polls show that the Amer-

ican public thinks that as much as a quarter of our national

budget goes to foreign aid (the true figure is about 1 percent),

and that much of this is wasted. The many and continuing suc-

cess stories need to be pre-

sented—from Plan Colombia

and the rebuilding of Europe

after World War II, to the

fact that Vladimir Putin fears

U.S. and other assistance to

promote Russian democracy

more than he fears NATO.

They need to know that world

health is improving, and

poverty is declining. Our best

global friends and partners are countries that have received

U.S. assistance since 1945. It is ironic that the USAID brand is

better and more favorably known overseas than in the United

States. Outmoded, Cold War–legacy provisions in the Foreign

Assistance Act that prohibit USAID from telling its story to the

American public need to be removed.

8. Get ready for the changing world.

Creating a robust

assistance agency will help the United States and our part-

ners better address the two most pressing problems we face

in international affairs: using our assistance to promote the

rule of law, and giving

people who live in countries

captured by kleptocratic dic-

tators the means to choose

leaders who will provide

citizens with basic services

and create conditions that

promote economic growth

and opportunity.

This will require developing more programs that can be

deployed effectively in nonpermissive environments. Large

assistance flows from private foundations and investors pres-

ent increasing opportunities for partnerships between govern-

ment aid and these sources of


Americans are a generous

people. We should be proud

of our assistance that has

saved lives, made possible

many accomplishments and

created a more stable and

prosperous world. When I

talk with nongovernmental

assistance providers and ask

them which national aid agencies are the best, they uniformly

cite USAID as having some of the most knowledgeable and

dedicated staff, both Americans and foreign nationals, who

regularly provide innovative and effective assistance under

difficult and often dangerous conditions. We owe it to these

hard-working professionals to create the conditions for their

continued success.


It is ironic that the USAID

brand is better and more

favorably known overseas

than in the United States.


U.S. Army logistician Terri

Mcfadden (center) consults

with USAID logistician Kelly

Bradley (right) at a World

Food Programme warehouse

in Harper, Liberia, on best

ways to transport supplies to

U.S.-supported Ebola clinics.