It was great to see all the tweets from his speech Wednesday evening, but sometimes a tweet alone just won’t do. Here are some highlights that are longer than 140 characters.
On improving access to technologies and finance for women: Women smallholders are especially disadvantaged by a number of factors, including poor access to credit, outdated land tenure laws and traditions that restrict their ability to own land, and uneven access to extension services. If we can break down these barriers, yields could be raised dramatically.
On the role of the U.S. in global development and stability: Even in very difficult times, the United States remains a wealthy nation with interests in every corner of the globe. Especially since the tragic events of September 11, it is evident that poorly-governed states with impoverished populations can pose grave threats to our national security. Nations that struggle with severe poverty and corrupt governance are at greater risk from terrorism and instability.
On the value of aid: We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars in recent years fighting wars and preparing for military scenarios in underdeveloped regions of the world. If properly targeted, foreign assistance programs can mitigate national security risks and improve U.S. connections to peoples and governments. They may well save huge military expenditures down the road and help change perceptions that U.S. foreign policy has been excessively militarized.
On moral standing: Beyond protecting our own interests, an effective foreign assistance program is essential to our moral standing as a nation. No superpower that claims to possess the moral high ground can afford to relinquish its leadership in addressing global disease, hunger, and ignorance….I believe our moral identity is an essential source of national power.
On transparency: As we move forward, we must embrace transparency. We should be forthcoming about where taxpayer dollars are spent, what goals they are meant to accomplish, and whether those goals are achieved.
On development and diplomacy: Further, we should be forthright in explaining that diplomacy and development are two distinct disciplines. Although diplomacy and development often can be mutually reinforcing, at their core, they have different priorities, resource requirements, and time horizons. Although we hope that our development efforts will yield short-term strategic benefits, that is not their primary purpose. In a development context, we are willing to take a much longer view of the world and devote resources to countries of less, or even minimal, strategic significance. We are willing to engage in missions for purely altruistic reasons. These differences underscore why development must be a goal that is independent of diplomacy, not merely its servant.
On Food Aid Reform and improvements for feeding hungry people: The recent passage of the Farm Bill was a step in the right direction…But they (Congress) can go further by supporting anticipated requests in the administration’s budget that would provide even more flexibility.
Connie Veillette is a Senior Fellow in global food security and aid effectiveness at The Lugar Center.