U.S. foreign assistance—the rationale behind it, the amount we give,
its orientation and organization—has changed dramatically in the last
decade. These changes have challenged its efficacy but have also
created new opportunities to modernize U.S. foreign assistance. The
importance of supporting development and reducing poverty
abroad are understood now as never before to be both moral imperatives
and prerequisites for sustained U.S. national security.
Since its origins after World War II, U.S. foreign assistance has served
our national interests in three fundamental ways: enhancing national
security, expanding global economic opportunities, and promoting
American values. These interests are mutually reinforcing, and when
the U.S. pursues them each strategically and in tandem it positions
itself as a pragmatic and principled world leader.
The international and domestic challenges of the 21st century—
including transnational threats such as economic instability, terrorism,
climate change, and disease—cannot be met with a foreign assistance
apparatus created to confront the challenges of the 20th century.
America’s reputation abroad cannot be restored without a
fresh, smart approach to U.S. foreign policy and engagement in the
world. Our defense and diplomatic tools must be strengthened and
modernized, and they must be complemented by equally robust tools
for development. U.S. global leadership is based not only on our military
clout or economic power, but on our moral stature, which derives
from helping others improve their lives and those of their communities