U.S. Aid Policy Needs to Take Risks and Reward Big Ideas

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President Trump’s proposed budget looks to slash almost $26 billion from diplomacy and foreign aid programs next year. Those in favor of such a move argue that U.S. foreign aid and economic development spending is an inefficient and wasteful use of taxpayer money. However, in June, 16 retired generals and admirals testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that international economic development assistance “is not charity – it is an essential, modern tool of U.S. national security.” The Cipher Brief’s Fritz Lodge spoke with former Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Andrew Natsios about the value of foreign economic development, what role it has played in U.S. foreign policy, and the dangers of walking it back.

The Cipher Brief: In your mind, how does international economic development affect U.S. national security and what policies has the U.S. historically pursued to promote that development?

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