Clinton Pledges to Boost Foreign Aid

New Secretary of State Sees Increasing Aid Budget as Key to Ensuring "Global Leadership Role"

As new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks to put her own signature on America’s foreign policy moving forward, it is starting to become clear what her promise of “smart power” means: supplementing the Bush-era legacy of bellicose interventionism with an added dose of taxpayer dollars for foreign aid.

I believe in development and I believe with all my heart that it truly is an equal partner along with defense and diplomacy” in advancing foreign policy goals, Clinton told USAID employees today, pledging to “make sure that USAID assumes once again the global leadership role you deserve it to have.” To that end Clinton is advocating an increased budget foreign aid budget.

But it’s not as if the Bush Administration totally shunned foreign economic and military aid: indeed the numbers rose every year he was in office. The Obama Administration seems likely to continue that trend, while putting even more effort into using it as a carrot to subsidize friends and its withdrawal as a stick with which to punish the less cooperative.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of