Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 04/2009

The Future of Foreign Assistance Amid Global Economic and Financial Crisis

Laurie A. Garrett

January 2009

Council on Foreign Relations


Though the United States of America faces its toughest budgetary and economic challenges since the Great Depression, it cannot afford to eliminate, or even reduce, its foreign assistance spending. For clear reasons of political influence, national security, global stability, and humanitarian concern the United States must, at a minimum, stay the course in its commitments to global health and development, as well as basic humanitarian relief. The Bush administration sought not only to increase some aspects of foreign assistance, targeting key countries (Iraq and Afghanistan) and specific health targets, such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative, but also executed an array of programmatic and structural changes in U.S. aid efforts.