Commentary Magazine has published a fascinating inside account of President Bush’s fight against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic during his two terms in office. As President Bush’s time in office winds down over the next couple of weeks, pundits, commentators, and the public will begin the process of evaluating his place in history. This extremely intimate and detailed look at the creation and evolution of such programs as the Global Fund and PEPFAR under the President’s leadership is definitely worth a look.
Excerpts below, full article here
Bush’s interest in AIDS as a critical global problem was evident from the very beginning of his presidency. In March 2001 he established a cabinet-level council chaired by his top foreign-policy and health aides, Colin Powell and Tommy Thompson. On May 11, he gathered in the Rose Garden with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to announce a maiden contribution of $200 million (subsequently increased to $500 million) to a new international AIDS fund now known as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. This represented a 30-percent increase over Bill Clinton’s final budget in total foreign spending on the disease (on top of the $13 billion being spent annually on the domestic crisis).
Although by autumn the President would be consumed with the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and the war in Afghanistan, his interest in the AIDS issue never wavered. In early 2002, he told Josh Bolten, his deputy chief of staff for policy, that he wanted to do more.