“Development for Development’s Sake”
Secretary Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday provides a good overview of where the United States is now in terms of its foreign policies—all in roughly 5,900 words. She again highlighted the administration’s commitment to development as a strategic, economic, and moral imperative. “It is central to advancing American interests—as central as diplomacy and defense,” she said.
But here’s the zinger: “Our approach is not, however, development for development’s sake," she continued. "It is an integrated strategy for solving problems.”
That message may work with policy wonks inside the Beltway, but it would fall flat with villagers. Translated in layperson’s terms, the message it conveys is: “We are helping your village to develop because it is good for the diplomatic and defense interests of the United States." Whatever happened to giving help because it is needed—and not because it fits our diplomatic and defense interests?
I've spent nearly 20 years as a reporter travelling in developing countries. All the development work I have seen on the ground tells me that ultimately, development
aimed at alleviating poverty is in everybody’s interest.
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