Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category

  • Libya’s sharp lesson for America’s foreign priorities

    on May 5, 11 • in All Columns, Foreign Policy • with Comments Off

    Libya’s sharp lesson for America’s foreign priorities

    For any country that Washington considers strategic enough to bomb – never mind commit NATO or American men and women to die in – Libya offers the latest in a long line of learning opportunities. If we can agree on even one conclusion from the past two decades, let it be this: US foreign policy must raise the bar (substantially) for military intervention – and raise the ante (dramatically) to support the kind of real economic development that stabilizes volatile states and enables democratic freedoms. Conventional wisdom on Libya reads like the traditional blend of

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  • American philanthropy and foreign assistance in hard times

    on Dec 22, 08 • in Foreign Policy, Social Policy • with Comments Off

    At home, social-services groups and charities face enormous budget shortfalls just as demand is intensifying. Abroad, systemic increases in food prices have pushed the number of people facing starvation to nearly 1 billion. In normal times, American generosity is legendary. Between 65 and 85 percent of families make charitable donations every year. In 2003, the average donated was more than $1,800. But in the midst of a financial crisis, a seized-up economy, home foreclosures, and half a million jobs lost last month alone, how can Americans be expected to just … give money away? Because

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  • The only way to alter China’s hand in Darfur

    on Apr 30, 08 • in All Columns, Foreign Policy • with Comments Off

    China won’t be shamed into submission on Darfur. “Genocide Olympics” branding is a waste of time that is being paid for with lives. The media loves a good street circus – this month, Jonathan Alter declared the Olympics “the world’s last lever” to settle Darfur, as if TV stunts and Olympic ceremonies propel geopolitics. But Beijing’s support for Sudan’s Khartoum government won’t be blunted by Western pressure. The West must constructively enlist China. Khartoum’s thugs spur ethnic hatred to incite the janjaweed militias toward something that looks like genocide. But it’s important to understand that

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  • Ending Extreme Poverty, Part V: Practical Steps

    on Mar 14, 08 • in All Columns, Featured, Foreign Policy, Poverty • with Comments Off

    Ending Extreme Poverty, Part V:  Practical Steps

    In this series, we’ve unpacked popular myths about extreme poverty. We’ve looked at how we’ve gotten stuck. We’ve laid out some key levers for change. And we’ve considered the consequences of success. The developed world, well-motivated governments, and civil society among the last billion poor clearly have the means to eliminate extreme poverty in one lifetime. Lodging assumes a basic part in giving security to unfortunate families. There are terrible outcomes when it is absent from families. Research demonstrates the way that expulsion can enduringly affect families’ capacity to get fundamental necessities (e.g., food, dress,

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  • Part IV: The risks of fighting poverty too well

    on Mar 13, 08 • in Foreign Policy • with Comments Off

    It’s not difficult to imagine a world without extreme poverty. It would seem natural in an age with more broad-gauged wealth than has ever been seen in human history. But as the recent history of China shows, the prospect raises some tough questions. Are the world’s institutions actually ready for the massive shift entailed by lifting the last 1 billion people out of poverty? Do we fully understand the political and resource implications of being “too successful,” as many believe and some fear China has been? A closer look at China is important, because it’s an

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  • Part III: What it takes to open a door for the poor

    on Mar 12, 08 • in Foreign Policy • with Comments Off

    The real work of lifting the last billion out of poverty, the experienced and the expert will tell you, happens country by country, village by village: Digging wells, delivering bed nets, building schools. Faced with this reality, the greatest asset anyone from a wealthy nation might bring to the challenge of eradicating extreme poverty is a healthy balance of audacity and humility. Not to mention a refusal to mistake cynicism for sophistication. Big levers for working the problem are within reach, but tend to be overlooked in practice or to be controversial in the popular

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  • Part II: Why so much aid for the poor has made so little difference

    on Mar 11, 08 • in Foreign Policy • with Comments Off

    Is poverty a problem of policy or destiny? Experts tend to pull in one of two directions. Some focus on the social fundamentals for prosperity. Others, on the technical and financial requirements for sustainable growth. It’s cultural. In this view, policy is beside the point. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam says that “social capital” – how closely people in a community are connected – supports the basis for trust essential to commerce. Economist Gregory Clark of the University of Californiaargues that prosperous societies grow their economies through Industrial Revolution values such as patience, hard work, innovation, and education. Some cultures support such

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  • A five-part series on the prospect of eradicating extreme poverty

    on Mar 10, 08 • in Foreign Policy • with Comments Off

    Could it be possible to eradicate abject poverty in one lifetime? Ever since it was first asked, the question has seemed an improbable wish – a salve for the heart, untenable to the mind. But today, the answer is as clear as it is imperative: Yes. The idea that every living person can have the basics essential to human survival – and from there, begin to climb the ladder of economic development – is a prospect within reach. It does not require a master plan that solves all the world’s problems. It does demand that

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  • A political solution in Iraq

    on Dec 2, 07 • in Foreign Policy • with Comments Off

    You would expect more from serious contenders for the U.S. presidency. Yet in outlining their plans for Iraq – the most difficult foreign policy challenge facing this country – all the major candidates have called for is some version of our current course, or withdrawal. Those are not answers – and the voters know it. With violence in Iraq receding (relatively, and at least for now), the major candidates have the perfect pretext to give you their vision of a political solution. Yet their silence has been stunning. The best (or least worst) option in Iraq is

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  • Ethics reform – good politics is local

    on Jun 28, 07 • in Foreign Policy • with Comments Off

    The Democrats won the 2006 congressional elections on two issues: Iraq and cleaning up corruption in Washington. Which problem seems tougher to you? For Congress, ending centuries of sectarian violence and launching democracy in a fractious Middle Eastern nation now looks more likely than agreeing on even modest ethics reform. Fortunately, while Congress deliberates, the national call for clean government is being heard and heeded in city halls across the country – many of which have much to teach the Hill. Consider Atlanta. Former mayor Bill Campbell and 11 aides and associates were convicted or

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