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John Edwards believes that the United States must be a global leader in the fight against poverty. Solving global poverty is a moral imperative, but it is also a security issue. Global poverty increases the risk to America by providing a safe harbor for instability, extremism, and terrorism. Edwards' strategy against global poverty will require every weapon in our national security arsenal. For the last six years, too many burdens have been placed on the Department of Defense--not because it has asked for this mission or is the best suited to handle these challenges, but because it has been the most capable and well-funded national security institution.
As president, John Edwards will fundamentally transform America's approach to the world. He will bring high-level attention to help people in three priority areas: primary education, preventive health, and greater economic and political opportunity.
Of note, Edwards vows to appoint a new cabinet-level position within the White House to coordinate global development policies across the federal government, including USAID, the State Department, Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the U.S. Trade Representative. The creation of a single, cabinet-level development agency (more than just a position) was one of the key recommendations in "On the Brink", a report of the Commission on Weak States and U.S. National Security, co-chaired by Stuart E. Eizenstat and John Edward Porter and sponsored by CGD.
Edwards also promises to replace the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 with a new Global Development Act to "modernize, consolidate and simplify foreign aid and call on Congress to revamp its committee structure to create clearer and more effective lines of authority."
Three cheers for John Edwards for being the first presidential candidate of the 2008 campaigns to put forth his proposal on global poverty. Who's next?
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.
The world is in the throes of a health, economic, and social crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slower global growth has significantly worsened the economic prospects for all countries, including the poorest ones. Low-income countries (LICs) are also finding it more difficult to service their external debt as well as to access private capital—concessional and non-concessional