One Tool America Needs -- By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, August 1, 2007;
'. . . Congress has chosen this moment to gut one of the most innovative and effective American outreach efforts since the Peace Corps.
'The Millennium Challenge Corp. is grown-up foreign aid. Under this three-year-old program, a board certifies countries that "are likely to use assistance wisely" -- nations committed to democratic and free-market reform and fighting corruption -- and works with them as partners on projects to combat poverty and encourage economic growth. . . . Nations that backtrack on reform and good governance have their "compacts" cut off, . . . [T]he MCC has made agreements with 13 nations.
'. . . Ambassador John Danilovich . . . , was in a state of dignified bewilderment. The Senate Appropriations Committee, demonstrating bipartisan shortsightedness, had just reduced funding for the MCC from the administration's $3 billion request to $1.2 billion, throwing future compacts into question. "Why," he asked, "do they want to undermine a foreign policy lever which is actually working?"
'[According to a] Pew survey . . : Eight of the 10 countries most favorable to the United States in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. It is not a coincidence that American bilateral assistance to African countries over the past six years -- to fight AIDS, malaria and poverty -- has quadrupled. As a rule, people do not hate you when you save their children.'
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One suggestion: Check to see how your reps voted. Thank those who have shown they care about the people and the nations involved and for America's image abroad-- and reprimand those who haven't. Then remind them that you vote, too.