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Development, Security, and Aid

Development, Security, and Aid: Geopolitics and Geoeconomics at the U.S. Agency for International Development

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Development, Security, and Aid
    Book Description:

    In Development, Security, and Aid Jamey Essex offers a sophisticated study of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), examining the separate but intertwined discourses of geopolitics and geoeconomics. Geopolitics concentrates on territory, borders, and strategic political and military positioning within the international state system. Geoeconomics emphasizes economic power, growth, and connectedness within a global, and supposedly borderless, system. Both discourses have strongly influenced the strategies of USAID and the views of American policy makers, bureaucrats, and business leaders toward international development. Providing a unique geographical analysis of American development policy, Essex details USAID's establishment in 1961 and traces the agency's growth from the Cold War into an era of neoliberal globalization up to and beyond 9/11, the global war on terror, and the looming age of austerity. USAID promotes improvement for millions by providing emergency assistance and support for long-term economic and social development. Yet the agency's humanitarian efforts are strongly influenced, and often trumped, by its mandate to advance American foreign policies. As a site of, a strategy for, and an agent in the making of geopolitics and geoeconomics, USAID, Essex argues, has often struggled to reconcile its many institutional mandates and objectives. The agency has always occupied a precarious political position, one that is increasingly marked by the strong influence of military, corporate, and foreign-policy institutions in American development strategy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-4567-3
    Subjects: Population Studies, Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. CHAPTER ONE “One-Half of 1%”: Geopolitics, Geoeconomics, and USAID
    (pp. 1-16)

    Visitors to the public information center of the U.S. Agency for International Development (usaid), in downtown Washington’s Ronald Reagan Building, are greeted by the words “one-half of 1%,” bolted to the lobby wall in letters fashioned out of wood from official aid shipment crates (see figure 1). The small sign in front of this somewhat strange message indicates that “one-half of 1%” represents usaid’s share of the federal budget, a rather paltry sum dwarfed by the amount of federal money budgeted annually for military expenditures and servicing the national debt. The return on this minuscule budgetary outlay, the sign states,...

  6. CHAPTER TWO “In the World for Keeps”: From the Marshall Plan to the Vietnam War
    (pp. 17-50)

    The history of post–World War II development theory and practice is a well-trod path, and scholars have approached it from multiple theoretical perspectives. Theorizing and implementing development amid and atop the crumbling edifice of colonial empires was a multifaceted process, drawing on and fomenting multiple intellectual traditions, precipitating a period of institutional ferment, and challenging long-held assumptions about interstate relations. At the same time, the postwar emphasis on development for the newly independent Third World reasserted some of the principal, taken-for-granted notions of state form and function in an international system that was rapidly expanding in scope and simultaneously...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Geoeconomics Ascendant: Development, Interdependence, and Neoliberalization
    (pp. 51-83)

    The u.s. agency for international development’s (usaid) annual budget request and accompanying justification for fiscal year 1982 stressed mechanisms and themes that sought to reorient the agency and the overall U.S. assistance program toward greater participation with and reliance on market mechanisms and the private sector. As new agency head M. Peter McPherson stated in his introduction to usaid’s proposed budget, the administration of Ronald Reagan was “committed to increased opportunities for the private—both commercial and non-profit—sector to participate in aid programs” while maintaining foreign aid’s role as a vital element in protecting and advancing American interests abroad...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Two Decades of Neoliberalization: From the Cold War to the War on Terror
    (pp. 84-128)

    The shift toward neoliberalism within usaid and the broader world of development theory and practice should not be read simply as a product of the U.S. state’s ideologically driven strategists and handlers forcing an unwanted set of policies and structures upon developing states. This would ignore neoliberalism’s complex and uneven morphology, and the entanglements, compromises, and concessions made in processes of neoliberalization across multiple scales and sites. Indeed, the chorus of consenting voices that made the neoliberal project hegemonic in the 1990s included public- and private-sector leaders, intellectuals, and institutions from the Global South. Other scholars have aptly discussed the...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Development in Reverse: Crisis, Austerity, and the Future of USAID
    (pp. 129-158)

    In his remarks to a november 2011 student conference on the American role in global affairs held at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, U.S. Agency for International Development (usaid) Administrator Rajiv Shah punctuated the agency’s geostrategic tack in the wake of multiple intersecting global crises, growing doubts about the efficacy and costs of American-led military interventions associated with the global war on terror, and renewed political pressure on aid accounts in an era of severe budget cuts. Presenting development assistance, and usaid in particular, as the front line of American engagement with a developing world where “evil and...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 159-164)
    (pp. 165-178)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 179-184)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 185-186)