Development As Critical As Diplomacy, Defense To U.S. National Security

The Hill: Why foreign aid is just as powerful as diplomacy and defense
Andrew S. Natsios, executive professor at the George H. W. Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University and director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs

“Since the Bush administration created the doctrine of the three D’s — Defense, Diplomacy, and Development — after 9/11, diplomacy and development have often been conflated as part of policymakers’ arsenal of soft power tools. Confusing the two very distinct, but equally important, disciplines does a disservice to both and has often compromised their effectiveness. … While aid programs should be coordinated with U.S. diplomacy and defense strategies, they should not be subordinated to them. Otherwise, the development challenges that pose threats to both the United States and developing countries will go unaddressed. … USAID and our foreign assistance programs have played a critical role in addressing economic crisis, disease, state collapse, and famine of the 21st century. They will continue to be effective only if they are allowed some independence to focus on what works and avoid what does not work. … Only when development is treated as equal to diplomacy and defense will its great potential be fully realized and the American people protected” (7/5).

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