Eliminating USAID would have a strong policy impact and all but negligible fiscal one and would not be a good idea. It is also unlikely to happen, at least in the near future. Nonetheless, this statement by many Republican members of congress should be taken seriously because it reflects two related developments in the U.S. that will have major impacts on foreign policy if they become more important.
Richard Holbrooke’s death this week at the age of 69 brings to a close one of the most extraordinary diplomatic careers in American history. Holbrooke’s career began in 1962 and continued until his death. During these years, not only did Holbrooke work for every Democratic president from Kennedy to Obama, but he was involved in one way or another with many of the most important foreign policy issues facing the U.S. including the war in Vietnam, the reunification of Germany, the dissolution of Yugoslavia, and the war in Afghanistan, during a career of nearly fifty years.