Thursday Readings

Foreign Aid Remains Critical Component Of Foreign Policy
Robert Kaplan contends that in a post-Cold War world many who view foreign aid as a primarily humanitarian endeavor underestimate its importance to advancing US interests globally. And this, ironically, undermines those interests.

“According to a commonly received narrative prevalent in the media, because communism has been vanquished, foreign policy is finally able to pursue idealistic ends untainted by realpolitik. Henceforth, foreign aid should be purely humanitarian, with minimal concern for whether or not it benefits U.S. national interest.

“Ironically, this very altruism that abjures national interest has made America’s foreign assistance programs not better but worse. Foreign aid is like any other organized pursuit: It requires a competitive mindset to excel. Aid workers must be aware of the ideological, philosophical and political opposition they will likely encounter in the field and prepare strategies to defeat it. They must learn to compete, in other words,” writes the Stratfor analyst.

US Advantages Will Survive Domestic Dysfunction
Writing in The Diplomat, Robert E. Kelly argues that the advantage the United States holds over its global partners will not be lessened by domestic dysfunction.

Taking a swipe at the previous president, Kelly, an associate professor of international relations in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at Pusan National University, says that “the structural depths of American power carried the United States through the disastrous Bush 43 presidency, and they will through the ups-and-downs of Washington’s current dysfunctions.”

Syria May Have Reached The Tipping Point
Terry Glavin of the Ottawa Citizen believes the worst has come to Syria.

“It’s not just that there is no such thing as Syria any more. The other penny that hasn’t dropped is that there is no such thing as an America that is a force for progress in the world any more, either, at least not for the moment. History’s clock has turned backwards.

“The Syrian Center for Policy Research and the UN Relief Works Agency have concluded that the impact of the Syrian crisis on income, education, and health has rolled back all the usual human development indexes by about 35 years,” he writes.


Iran’s foreign minister says a nuclear agreement could happen this week, reports The New York Times

The U.S. is working to improve intelligence cooperation with Germany but a sweeping “no-spy” agreement between the two countries is unlikely, reports Reuters.





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