Okay, Mr. President. You’ve won re-election and are promising hope and change again. New hope. New change. This is a democracy so we all are entitled to provide our advice, or set of demands, to you — the guy who, when first elected, was described by The Onion’s fake news site in a story entitled Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.
Here are a few lists of interest to Humanosphere that came out the day after your landslide electoral victory:
- ONE’s campaign to fight malnutrition and Feed the Future (and buy the author’s book)
- Three top foreign policy needs from UN Dispatch
- Top five global health priorities from the Center for Global Development
- Ten (somewhat broad and ambitious) requests from World Vision, including making poverty history
- Finally, figure out to avoid falling off the Climate Cliff while not tumbling over the Fiscal Cliff
But are these wish lists just wishful thinking with this master of hope and change ceremonies?
As Tom Bollyky of the Council on Foreign Relations notes, the only area of bipartisan agreement out there seems to have been to cut foreign aid.
Foreign relief needs have been increasing globally and yet our nation (the “wealthiest nation on Earth” the president said last night in his victory speech) still devotes less than one percent of the federal budget to aid. And much of what we categorize as foreign aid is arguably aiding us more than the needy.
Neither the late Mitt Romney (politically speaking) or Barack Obama have said much of anything about foreign aid and development during this campaign.
The final presidential debate, on foreign policy, was mostly about saber-rattling at our enemies and economic security. I think the only single word that could qualify as being about foreign aid came from Romney, but I forgot what it was ….
The biggest change and sign of hope for the aid and development community would be if the Obama Administration starts making foreign aid a priority — or at least as big a priority as it was for George W. Bush.