Foreign Aid Goals and Programs

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Foreign Aid Goals and Programs
What are the goals and objectives of U.S. foreign assistance? Foreign assistance supports a great many objectives. Especially since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, foreign aid has taken on a more strategic sense of importance, cast frequently in terms of contributing to the global war on terrorism. In September 2002, President Bush released his Administration’s National Security Strategy that established global development, for the first time, as the third “pillar” of U.S. national security, along with defense and diplomacy. Also in 2002, executive branch foreign assistance budget justifications began to underscore the war on terrorism as the top foreign aid priority, highlighting amounts of U.S. assistance to about 30 “front-line” states in the terrorism war. The substantial reconstruction programs in Afghanistan and Iraq — which total more in FY2004 than the combined budgets of all other aid programs — are also part of the emphasis on using foreign aid to combat terrorism.

At roughly the same time that fighting terrorism became the leading concern of American foreign aid, the Bush Administration announced other significant initiatives that have defined and strengthened two additional key foreign assistance goals: promoting economic growth and reducing poverty, and combating the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a new aid delivery concept, established in early 2004, that is intended to concentrate significantly higher amounts of U.S. resources in a few low- and low-middle income countries that have demonstrated a strong commitment to political, economic, and social reforms. If fully funded, $5 billion will be available by FY2006 to support these “best development performers” in order to accelerate economic growth and lower the number of people living in absolute poverty.

Addressing global health problems has further become a core U.S. aid...
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