The ONE offices were abuzz today as we listened intently as both President Obama and Governor Romney shared remarks on their foreign policy agendas at the UN General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative. Both candidates outlined what American foreign assistance would look like under their administrations.
In Governor Romney’s address on foreign aid today, he expressed his support of development assistance, including key humanitarian programs like PEPFAR. In his remarks, Romney stated that for “American foreign aid to become more effective, it must embrace the power of partnerships, access the transformative nature of free enterprise, and leverage the abundant resources that can come from the private sector.”
Governor Romney described what he sees as the three main objects of US foreign aid: to address humanitarian need, to foster American strategic interests, and to “elevate people and brings about lasting change in communities and in nations.”
Romney “laid out a new approach for a new era” in which the U.S. would combine aid with trade and private investment to empower individuals, encourage innovation, and reward entrepreneurs.
Earlier this morning, President Obama took the stage at the UN General Assembly. The President emphasized that during this “time of economic challenge, the world has come together to broaden prosperity . . . [by] pursuing a development agenda that fuels growth and breaks dependency, and worked with African leaders to help them feed their nations.” In his remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative, he also highlighted the need to put women and girls at the center of the development agenda.
Obama took this opportunity to mention the “new partnerships [that] have been forged to combat corruption and promote government that is open and transparent” and the “new commitments have been made through the Equal Futures Partnership to ensure that women and girls can fully participate in politics and pursue opportunity.”
It is evident that under both a second Obama administration and a Romney administration, the United States would remain actively engaged in the world and back private sector efforts to create long-term economic growth that can lead to prosperity and dignity for the world’s poorest people.
The remarks today at the Clinton Global Initiative and the UN General Assembly underscore the fact that, even during an intense election season, the fight against extreme poverty and the need for strong American leadership in the world is one thing we can agree on.
ONE welcomes this discourse on foreign aid, and we look forward to hearing more about each candidate’s agenda for foreign policy leading up to Election Day.