2007-2012 State Dept. & USAID Strategic Plan

by Nathan Hamm on 4/11/2007 · 3 comments

The State Department and USAID have released their strategic plan for fiscal years 2007-2012. The section on South and Central Asia starts on page 52 of the document with the following:

The United States can help transform South and Central Asia—with nearly a quarter of the world’s population—into a more democratic and economically vibrant region.

True, but the United States would actually have to try…

The State Department also recently reported on what the US has done to support human rights and democracy around the world in 2006. What I find fascinating about the South and Central Asia section is that neither the symbol “$” nor the word “dollar” appear in the report. I think many of these programs are great, but it is hard to gauge exactly how serious the commitment is without knowing how much money is backing it up.

RFE/RL has a story on the latter report here.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Joshua Foust April 11, 2007 at 11:49 am

I think rather you meant it’s hard to gauge if they’re being truthful without knowing how much money is backing it up. You yourself have documented the money starvation for public diplomacy to the region. We all know money talks, and money equals action, especially in Washington. And the money just isn’t there.

I speculate it is from embarrassment. I’m willing to believe some bureaucrats realize the strategic value of investing in Central Asia; however, most people in this country (and especially on the Hill) don’t even know where Central Asia is — despite the name.

Meanwhile, the World Bank is sending another $25 million to Afghanistan for further agriculture programs. Argue with their efficacy (heaven knows I have), but the World Bank at least walks the walk when it comes to actions matching rhetoric.

Bonnie Boyd April 11, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Yes, Thank You Nathan, because I missed this report. But not only does it fail to mention $$$, it also fails to mention Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, “which present the most significant challenges” will be able to send exhange students–that was their mention in this “strategic” document. This just underscores the lack of attention overall to this highly critical region.
Oh, this is not good.

Laurence April 14, 2007 at 3:23 am

Thank you for posting this. After what USAID has done in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian Authority to turn them into democratic and “economically vibrant” regions, perhaps Central Asia may be lucky there aren’t too many USAID $$$$ connected to this “strategic plan”…

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