Turning Good Intentions to Action
By Rob Mosbacher | AUGUST 5, 2014
How the United States should refocus and retool its soft-power economic diplomacy.
If the United States hopes to maintain a level of influence in the world commensurate with its economic and military strength, it must modernize and dramatically improve some of its soft-power foreign policy tools. Many of those tools have proven ineffective, and fail to reflect the transformational changes in the past two decades prompted by technology, connectivity, and global markets.
For example, unrestricted aid grants to foreign governments, commonly known as "budget support," often do more to perpetuate poor governance than improve it. Assistance for programs that are neither scalable nor sustainable after their funding ends are frequently a waste of taxpayer money.Assistance for programs that are neither scalable nor sustainable after their funding ends are frequently a waste of taxpayer money. And support for projects that are based upon "inputs" (such as the number of people enrolled in a program) rather than "outcomes" (such as the number of people who actually completed and benefited from the program), are examples of soft-power approaches that represent an old way of thinking.