EDITOR’S NOTE: Sen. John Kerry will appear before old colleagues today at his confirmation hearing to succeed Hillary Clinton as the top U.S. diplomat. What could be the future of U.S. foreign aid under his leadership? Comments he made years ago provide some insights.
Sen. John Kerry will be questioned by his Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) colleagues this week during his confirmation hearing to become the next Secretary of State. My colleague Jenny Ottenhoff shared what she’d like to hear members ask Kerry, including a question on the future of US foreign aid. Turns out Sen. Kerry has a detailed answer to this: the one he delivered four years ago.
Here’s the question Ottenhoff and others are hoping SFRC members will ask Kerry on foreign aid:
As part of its effort to elevate and revitalize US development efforts, the Obama administration pledged to make the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) the “premiere development agency in the world”. As secretary of state, how will you work with USAID to help achieve this vision? What steps will you take to elevate development alongside diplomacy and defense?
I was going to draft a cheat sheet to help Kerry answer the question (H/T to Alexis Sowas’ cheat sheet for Kerry’s Pakistan question here), but Kerry answered the question himself in a major speech he delivered nearly four years ago at the Brookings Institution on development and diplomacy in the 21st century. CGD’s Sarah Jane Staats wrote about Kerry’s remarks in 2009, in which he called for a grand new vision to put diplomacy and development alongside defense, at the heart of America’s foreign policy. Here are the five steps he outlined to rebuild USAID and other foreign assistance programs:
Some of these reforms have come to fruition over the past three years. Congress approved funding for USAID to recruit and hire approximately 1,100 new staff through the Development Leadership Initiative. Other reforms are a work in progress—see the introduction of Rep. Howard Berman’s (D-CA) 923-page rewrite of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act. And others have yet to be considered—US foreign assistance still lacks focus or a grand strategy and there is no “lead agency” in charge of coordinating aid efforts.
I’ll be listening closely to the confirmation hearing tomorrow for whether Kerry picks up on these themes or changes his tune.
Republished with permission from the Center for Global Development. View original article.