Madeleine Bunting: In the Wake of WikiLeaks Scandal, US Foreign Aid Reform Now in Doubt

The release of the full Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review report will likely be postponed, or worse, be shelved. That is the prediction of Madeleine Bunting, a columnist and associate editor for the Guardian, following the WikiLeaks cable scandal.

A draft summary of QDDR recommendations was leaked to the public in mid-November, courtesy of The Washington Post. It proposes reforms to strengthen the operations of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, including creating new offices and hiring more personnel, which will entail a big boost in the international affairs budget.

>> In Draft QDDR: More Hires, Smaller Contracts

According to Bunting, all plans that emerged from the QDDR are now in doubt.

She says: “Does [U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] have the political muscle to push this radical plan through? Does the State Department have the authority to take a lead role in this reshaping of the US role in the world? The answers to both questions look very shaky.”

Bunting notes that even before the WikiLeaks scandal broke out, Clinton’s proposal to get more money for foreign aid was a “tough sell in Congress” in view of the Republican victory in the midterm elections.

“Now the likelihood is that the QDDR will be postponed, perhaps shelved as more pressing issues of how to restore trust and credibility in US diplomacy dominate,” Bunting writes in the “Poverty Matters” blog.

About the author

  • Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.