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‘Let’s Get On With Fixing’ Foreign Aid, Editorial Says

“Poverty, famine and disease overseas lead to lawlessness, instability, revolution and terrorism that threaten American interests … That’s why our second most important means of self-defense after the military is foreign aid,” according to a Los Angeles Times editorial. “To their credit, President [Barack] Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton realize this, and repeatedly have said as much – they just don’t appear to be in a great hurry to put that philosophy into practice.”

“[T]here is near universal agreement” in the development community, “that USAID in particular, and American foreign aid efforts in general, are a muddle,” the Los Angeles Times writes. “In addition to a lack of clear goals, our aid system, which spent $26 billion on development last year, is largely devoid of mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating its effectiveness.” The editorial notes efforts on Capitol Hill to improve foreign aid, adding that while “it’s nice that so much attention is being paid … these bills simply mandate reviews and reforms that are already underway, albeit at a glacial pace; Clinton and Obama have both initiated separate evaluations of the aid system, whose initial findings aren’t expected until next year.”

The editorial concludes: “The president has a staggering to-do list, but the USAID nomination should have been made months ago, and the defects of the current system are widely known and well documented. Let’s get on with fixing it” (11/12).