News Clips 5.6.2011
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Today’s Headline: Please join MFAN and partners for a special event on Monday, May 9 with former Marine intelligence officer and Carolina for Kibera founder Rye Barcott, who has written an amazing book about citizen-led development in Africa. Click here to RSVP. “The long view stretches past the military’s brief deployments, encompassing planting and harvesting seasons, the construction of bridges and power lines, the writing of modern school curriculum, and the slow evolution of genuine democracy. This long view — critical to victory in Iraq and Afghanistan — is what we risk losing in the current frenzy of budget cutting on Capitol Hill.”
- Congress preparing options to cut Pakistani aid (FP Blog-Josh Rogin, May 5) The issue of how to deal with Pakistan divides both parties and both chambers. Traditional conservative/liberal distinctions do not apply, and lawmakers are bringing their long-held skepticism of Pakistani aid into the debate. In each party, there are roughly two camps — those who want to withhold or at least reduce aid now, and those who want to wait to see if information is forthcoming that Pakistani officials were actually involved in supporting bin Laden’s efforts to evade capture. “Under the current legislative scheme, I don’t think our military assistance is serving the interests we are intending it to serve,” Berman said in a Thursday interview with The Cable. “What I’m asking the administration to do is focus on getting Pakistan to change its approach and go after extremist groups. If they’re not successful, we should reconsider giving this money.” “We should cut off the military aid but not the economic development aid,” Moran told The Cable Thursday. “We should insist the aid be used for education and economic development, but not for subsidizing the military presence on the border with India, which is what its being used for now.”
- MFAN-related: A New Voice for Women in U.S. Aid (The Huffington Post-Ritu Sharma, May 5) Since its inception, Women Thrive Worldwide has been spearheading the advocacy for the creation of a new high-level position within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help put the needs and voices of women at the center of U.S. foreign assistance in a systematic way. Not just through stand-alone projects in traditional areas like education or health or microcredit, which are necessary, but also across economic assistance, infrastructure, agriculture, political participation and post-conflict programs.
- Can the World Feed 10 Billion People? (Foreign Policy-Raj Patel, May 4) A great deal of past agriculture policy has been designed either economically to bomb villages in order to save them, or to administer a technological quick fix in order to postpone politics. Collier wants to get rid of peasants. New fads want to keep them, but keep them knee-deep in chemicals. Yet if we are serious about feeding the hungry, in Malawi or anywhere else, we need to recognize that the majority of the hungry are women, and that we need more public, not private, spending on those least able to command rural resources. Because when it comes to growing food, those who tend the land are anything but fools.
- Clinton raises alarm on rising food prices (AP, May 6) Clinton told a meeting of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization that urgent steps are needed to hold down costs and boost agricultural production as food prices continue to rise. “We must act now, effectively and cooperatively, to blunt the negative impact of rising food prices and protect people and communities,” she said at the FAO’s headquarters in Rome. “Rising food prices can have a positive effect if they send a signal to farmers to grow and sell more. But that can only happen if there is transparency in markets and stocks, so signals about prices and food supply are accurately received,” Clinton said. She called for countries to adopt better policies this time around and said the United States was working with developing and industrialized nations “to encourage everyone to respond to rising food prices not with failed policies of the past but with a sounder approach.”