Talking to myself about foreign policy, US politics, technology, &c.

Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

U.S. AID Chief Chosen

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

From the department of it’s-about-freakin’-time: U.S. AID Chief Chosen

The 36-year old *cough* nominee from the  Agriculture *cough* department will be tasked with heading up what is supposed to be a co-equal tentacle of the US foreign policy establishment.

My friends inside AID have had a tough time; it’s hard to have the crew doing their job when your ship doesn’t have a captain.

This speaks partly to the incredible difficulties with the vetting process; ridiculously talented people are not taking jobs with the Administration – not because the pay is low or the work hard, but because the vetting process is too damn hard.

Of course, the vetting process has gotten so onerous because there is so much political theater to be made out of the high-wire act of Senate advice-and-consent positions. Given the depressing and destructive obstructionism of Republicans, Obama has to be careful – but it is another example of how the machinery of American government is being forced to a halt.

Development Does Some Good

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Sometimes when you deal with the world of international development you get the sense that it would be a lot more useful to take all the billions spent on foreign aid and burn them. At least that way you might get a really cool bonfire out of it.

The NYT has a beautiful slideshow on development developments in Malawi, one of the most spectactuarly awful countries on Earth as all health and education indicators go.

The great take away is that, through concerted efforts and billions of dollars, things have made a big jump. Infant mortality, for example, has been cut by more than half. That’s a real difference for a lot of real families.

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