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View Diary: Obama, Sri Lanka, and Outsourcing: Some Perspective and Context (304 comments)

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  •  I'm not suggesting USAID exists for altruistic (2+ / 0-)
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    dmh44, Onomastic

    reasons. I specifically noted it exists in no small part to promote our foreign policy agenda using foreign aid as its primary mechanism instead of war.

    I have no idea how you arrived at the notion that this has anything to do with altruism. It is self-protection using our technology and financial resources as the primary means.

    This is their self-description

    This Is USAID

    The United States has a long history of extending a helping hand to those people overseas struggling to make a better life, recover from a disaster or striving to live in a free and democratic country. It is this caring that stands as a hallmark of the United States around the world -- and shows the world our true character as a nation.

    U.S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America's foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets while improving the lives of the citizens of the developing world. Spending less than one-half of 1 percent of the federal budget, USAID works around the world to achieve these goals.

    USAID's history goes back to the Marshall Plan reconstruction of Europe after World War Two and the Truman Administration's Point Four Program. In 1961, the Foreign Assistance Act was signed into law and USAID was created by executive order.

    Since that time, USAID has been the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.

    USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. Our Work supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting:

       * economic growth, agriculture and trade;
       * global health; and,
       * democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.

    We provide assistance in five regions of the world:

       * Sub-Saharan Africa;
       * Asia;
       * Latin America and the Caribbean,
       * Europe and Eurasia; and
       * The Middle East.

    •  well, you didn't suggest, you claimed... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that USAID was created for reasons other than the reality that motivated it's creation. I thought it a good idea to clarify.

      I added the altruism tidbit to the conversation. I don't feel that's out of order, considering the forum of discussion.

      Of course, my bringing altruism into the conversation somewhat predicts a claim, or at least the flavor of a claim, in USAID's self-description. Despite the flavor of altruism of that is sprinkled in the self-description, USAID is primarily about opportunities for American business that can be framed as "development" and aligned with US foreign policy.

      In other words, USAID's economic growth, agriculture and trade, global health, and democracy efforts have alot to do with creating conditions that will benefit US companies at least as much if not a great deal more than these programs will benefit the local populations. These efforts will make up a much larger part of USAID's budget in most countries.

      Conflict prevention - in the sense of on-the-ground programs - and humanitarian assistance make up a much smaller part of USAID's effort. Note that writing that does not "trash" USAID's support for conflict prevention or humanitarian assistance. It just frames it in reality.

      While there are a number of countries where USAID programs have a component that could be considered "self-protection using our technology and financial resources as the primary means", those countries are a relatively small proportion of USAID's portfolios.

      I've worked extensively with and around USAID folks. There's no lack of clarity about this issue. And it is right there in USAID's self-description, it's not secret code or behind the scenes.

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