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Soft Sell (CLARK's Department of International Assistance Proposal)

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DoveTurnedHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 12:33 PM
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Soft Sell (CLARK's Department of International Assistance Proposal)
One of the more surprising proposals of the Democratic primary campaign has so far been one of the least reported. Wesley Clark, criticizing the Bush administration for being too quick to seek military solutions to the world's problems, has proposed increasing American foreign aid and creating a cabinet-level Department of International Assistance to oversee it. For those who say the general has only a resum and no ideas to help distinguish himself from the Democratic pack, the plan, laid out in his book Winning Modern Wars, should stand as a corrective. Right or wrong, Clark seems to be staking out a position as the candidate who is most likely to turn American foreign policy in a less aggressive direction, focusing both on unruffling allied feathers and on placating those who actively seek to do us ill.

The proposal is certain to come in for mockery from the right. Most conservatives are hostile to foreign aid, both as a waste of money and on the principle that aid undercuts poor countries' incentives to fight corruption, achieve better governance, and manage their own development. And the idea of a cabinet-level department will surely inspire extra derision from those who don't think there should even be a Department of Education or Homeland Security. A Department of Giving Money Away--with a Secretary of Giving Money Away? Please.

As easy as the idea is to mock, let's hope the general sticks with it. The idea behind the department is one accepted not just by soft, lefty types: George W. Bush himself has intermittently conceded that, in the long-run war against terror, American "soft power" is a necessary complement to smoking terrorists out of their caves and blowing them apart. The United States has launched Arabic-language radio stations and magazines to sell American culture to the Arab world. Bush announced an increase in overall aid--on the condition that poor countries reform themselves before they receive it--with the Millennium Challenge Account program, launched in Monterrey in March 2002. And in the 2003 State of the Union address, he announced an increase in funding for fighting AIDS in the developing world, in a speech mainly given over to making the case for war. The juxtaposition was not haphazard. It was, however, all too rare.

The American government gives far less aid as a share of gross national income (GNI) than any other major developed country: 0.11 percent, with middle-income Egypt and Israel getting the largest share as part of the Camp David accords. This compares with 0.23 percent for Japan and 0.27 percent for Germany, the other two biggest donors by volume. The small, rich European countries devote the greatest share of their income to aid: 1.03 percent from Denmark, 0.83 percent from Norway, 0.82 percent from the Netherlands.

<...>

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=foreign&s=greene100703

DTH
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bicentennial_baby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks DTH
I was going to post this article earlier today, but I did'nt have time before school. You da man!
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 12:44 PM
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2. George Washington Proposed A Dept. Of Peace
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 12:46 PM by cryingshame
And left money from his estate for the establishment of such.

Clark... "has proposed increasing American foreign aid and creating a cabinet-level Department of International Assistance to oversee it."

America spends VERY little on foreign aid. We are bottom of the list as compared to Europe.

This Department would make the National Endowment For Democracy obsolete. As a Department of the US government there would Congressional oversight and less chance of dirty business.

Although ANY government Department or Branch can be subject to poor and corrupted leadership.

Look at Ashcroft's Dept. of Justice, Powell's Dept of State or the Scalia thugs on the Supreme Court.


For a look at the little known NED check here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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RandomUser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. You're right
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 12:48 PM by RandomUser
This cabinet level position would make the NED obsolete and make foreign aid more accountable.
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DoveTurnedHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I Didn't Know That About Washington
Very interesting!

DTH
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Heard It When Kucinich Was At Harkin's Iowa TownHall
Couple of weeks ago. Dennis is also proposing a Dept. of Peace and Harkin mentioned about George Washington...
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boxster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:13 PM
Response to Original message
6. Not only was the story under-reported, but your thread
was under-trafficked!

Hmm, is it just me or is this book going to come out at a pretty opportune time?

I think it's hilarious that conservatives are "hostile to foreign aid", but they have no problem spending billions rebuilding stuff they blow up. We can't fund schools here, but we can fund them in Iraq.

My favorite part of the idiot BushCo plan is that countries pretty much have to remake themselves in our image if they want help. It's a nice corporate tactic - make the goal unreachable so that you never have to pay out the bonus.
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