Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed the benefits of foreign aid at the annual “Investing in the Future: A Smart Power Approach to Global Leadership” conference hosted by the US Global Leadership Coalition. The conference, attended by World Bank President Bob Zoellick, Governor Tom Ridge, Senator Tom Daschle and other top national military, business and community leaders, included a very important speech by Sec. of State Clinton about the importance of our international affairs budget. Here’s an encouraging quote from yesterday’s speech that conveys her position:
“The 1 percent of our budget we spend on all diplomacy and development is not what is driving our deficit. Not only can we afford to maintain a strong civilian presence, we cannot afford not to. The simple truth is, if we don’t seize the opportunities available today, other countries will; other countries will fight for their companies while ours fend for themselves. Other countries will promote their own models and serve their own interests, instead of opening markets, reinforcing the rule of law and creating widespread inclusive growth. Other countries will create the jobs that should be created here, and even claim the mantle of global leadership.”
Mrs. Clinton supported her argument with an interesting example. She cited the Marshall Plan and its long-term dual effects as it both restructured and developed Europe while establishing a long-term economic partnership with the US that now grosses $250 billion annually. To support her comparison, she explained:
“As we help these nations meet their own challenges and grow their own economies, their men and women will buy their first cars, their first computers, and everything from movies to medical equipment. And many new consumers will buy them from us.”
And, Mrs. Clinton isn’t the only political leader who is working to protect and encourage our foreign assistance. Last week, Senator Marco Rubio lauded foreign aid and explaining its benefits in a video chat with his constituents. And President Obama himself asserted just last week at his Twitter town hall event that smart and effective foreign aid is critical to healing our own economy and maintaining our position as a global leader. Read the quotes above and let us know what you think.