The indispensable role of America in the world (Salt Lake Tribune)

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE |The challenges we face in the world today are different but no less severe: Chinese military activities in South China Sea, Russian aggression in Ukraine, Cyber-attacks, North Korean nuclear ambitions. But they also include softer threats ranging from unprecedented food insecurity and famines to mass migration and refugee flows to the threats of violent extremism and pandemic disease. Yet the solution to these problems still depends in large part on strong and clear U.S. leadership. And while U.S. foreign assistance is often criticized for being a large and ineffective part of the federal budget, this could not be further from the truth.

In recent years, the United States has led an unprecedented and incredibly successful global effort to combat global poverty and disease through bipartisan initiatives such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the Feed the Future global food security program. These programs are representative of the U.S. leadership that has helped reduce the deaths of mothers and children under five worldwide by more than half since 1990. A few other U.S.-led success stories include providing HIV/AIDS treatment to more than 11.5 million Africans who otherwise faced a death sentence, reducing malaria incidence by more than 75 percent in the hardest hit countries, reducing global hunger and malnutrition by nearly 30 percent since 2000, and expanding access to life-saving vaccines to more than 500 million children around the world. The US has led these initiatives that have saved tens of millions of lives with a foreign assistance investment that represents less than 1 percent of the US federal budget.

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