Friday, December 19, 2008

Bush is not a unilateralist

Charges that President Bush only acts "go it alone" fall flat against evidence he has had many major foreign efforts that have been carried out in cooperation with the beneficiaries and with other aiding countries. Paul Dobrianski has been involved in many of these efforts as Undersecretary for democracy and global affairs. "Every issue here has a vibrant multilateral component to it. But who has noticed? One problem has been that the efforts are not in the hard-policy head-line areas, but in soft, long-term efforts that go on quietly, without much notice. For example, they began efforts to aid Afghan women to start small businesses early on they met with two young women who were starting a micro-finance bank - only two. Their next meeting they had to meet in the cafeteria at the US Embassy because 80 to 100 women attended. The next meeting was at the offices of the women financiers. A little targeted assitance had a large effect. Trafficking of persons = Early in his administration Bush created an office to focus on this problem - the first in the world. Today dozens of countries have such offices. Congo Basin - In 2002 the US announced a major effort to protect the world's second largest rain forest. With 40 governments and other groups. Avian Flu - In 2005 Bush started international partnerships to combat this flu. Democracy - With US leadership the UN created the Democracy Fund to aid projects to further democracy. Africa - Bush increased health funding by 4 times. And his effort for HIV/AIDS in Africa dwarfs what Clinton did. We have friends who are working actively in Uganda who say that Bush has been very good for Africa. Source: "Bush was no unilateralist," Wall Street Journal, December 13-14, 2008.

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