Dec 23, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Diplomacy & Development: Best Friends For Life (or BFFLs in government speak)

Best Friends For Life

As Republicans gear themselves up to take over the House, the debate around the States’ finances, and the terror of Government spending is starting anew.  Unsurprisingly, among the potential targets for cuts in funding is the area of development and foreign aid.  As Barak mentioned in a previous article, domestically we’ve a pretty mixed up opinion when it comes to issues of foreign spending, and this flawed understanding is something legislators don’t hesitate to take advantage of.

I definitely wouldn’t argue that we’re doing everything right where foreign aid is concerned, historically we’ve a pretty shaky record in the area of aid.  Yet the type of results we tend to expect in the amount of time we’re willing to commit also tends to be fairly absurd.  It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that what we need isn’t less spending, or even more spending, but more effective spending, unfortunately we have a hard time agreeing on just what that means.

A few days ago Secretary Clinton spoke on the release of the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review or in government terms “QDDR” (oh how I hate acronyms).  The review aims to shape future changes in US policy in the areas of development and diplomacy, by among other things utilizing “civilian power” and getting agencies like the Department of State and USAID to work cooperatively.  If successful in bringing about any actual policy change, QDDR could nip some of the foreign aid spending rhetoric in the bud before our incoming legislators have a chance to go too far in gutting funding.



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Founded in 2004, Democracy and Society is a biannual print journal published by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. The D&S Blog provides web-only content, including special reports and investigative series, on issues relating to democracy and development.

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