The new strategy emphasizes the importance of a continued global leadership role for the United States. Americans do not want to be the “world policeman” nor can our taxpayers carry every burden. Nevertheless, there will be times when America must intervene because of a national security crisis, genocide, ethnic cleansing or massive human rights violations.
The new strategy has nothing to do with promoting U.S. global dominance, nor is it telling other nations what to do. It does emphasize the many benefits associated with democracy, collective security, and political and economic freedom. It also changes U.S. policy in many ways such as increasing public diplomacy, and re-orienting foreign aid into bilateral “American Partnerships.”
This means that needy countries which are ruling justly, investing in their people, and encouraging economic freedom, should receive more aid. The strategy also recognizes that the ultimate answer is trade, not aid.
If foreign aid was the solution, the Third World would have few problems. Since 1945 the United States has given over $500 billion to less developed countries. If you count the other major industrial democracies, the aid figure is well over a trillion dollars.
Yet the people in many of these countries are no richer today, and in many cases are worse off, than they were decades ago. After pouring millions into countries like Zambia, living standards are just half of what they were 30 years ago.
While President Bush is recommending a $5 billion increase, the Forward Strategy for Freedom calls for another $500 billion increase. Before it was spread over 50 years, but in the new strategy this gain would come in just one year! The big difference is that it would not cost the taxpayers anything! The increase would come in trade, not aid.
The economic emphasis is especially important because in the post Cold War era we have recognized the importance of mobilizing for peace after a conflict is over. This means staying engaged after the fighting has stopped. We call this “winning the peace.”