So the biggest news these past few west is the US debt ceiling crisis and the sudden watered-down bill that was not supported by either side (or rather all three sides if you include the Tea Party). One of the most expected parts of the final “compromise” was that of large deficit reductions. Everyone expects that. What is not reported in many mainstream media sites is that US foreign aid or foreign assistance or in development speak—“Official Development Assistance” (dubious term since US aid is hardly ever for development) will be one of the biggest victims of the cuts–see this devex article.
The average American would cheer. However, you do expect some Americans to be rationale over development expenditure admist this period of austerity (well not many unlike the UK). These people are those who are in the Center (American spelling; British would be Centre) for Global Development (CGD or CGDev), the so-called counterpart to London’s renown Overseas Development Institute (ODI) (a future entry will explain the vast differences between the two). These “development experts” have been arguing against cutting US aid/ODA/foreign assistance–see for example this, and now crying against the Republicans/Tea Partiers for creating an implausible “foreign assistance” bill (see this). They’ve also pleaded with Congress not to cut funding to the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) (see this). All wee nice and great but…
CGD itself has always been an anti aid supporter. The first clear indication is that of people like Todd Moss who co-author the Ghost of 0.7 article with Micheal Clemens, disagreeing with the need for a target for ODA. Then in a huge string of articles, such as this, this and this (and dozens of others, mostly by Clemens), CGD paints a negative view of the MDGs, stating that they cannot be implemented/measured, are unsuitable for Africa (a la Easterly, who is a friend of CGD) and simply not the right way for development. In doing so, CGD feeds into the exact rhetoric that the right-wingers and Tea Partiers and some Republicans (and even Democrats) are saying: foreign aid/foreign assistance is bad. By promoting a “no to 0.7%” view, CGD is saying, America can lower its aid budget, don’t increase it, don’t give out money. It says that there shouldn’t be an aid target, so in a legislators mind, there’s nothing from reducing the budget from around 0.21% of GDP to 0.07%of GDP (I’m taking a figure one tenth of the UN target). By attacking the MDGs, CGD creates the very anti-development sentiment that extreme politicians or political figures like: Charity begins at home.
Of course there are flaws in the 0.7% argument I have mentioned it before. In the same article and others however, I still support the need for a aid target and not go down the line with the Moss and Clemens argument. Similarly, for the MDGs, I have shown that they are flawed in areas but flawed mostly due to people’s misinterpretation of it. However, what CGD has constantly been saying is that: aid and the MDGs are terrible. And thus this matches the logic of those who see that the US aid budget is the main area to cut. Now CGD laments and cries, “please don’t do it”.
CGD has only themselves to blame. You said it, they will do it.
(Short entry. May be expanded.)