Clinton: do you really need all those SUVs?

August 16, 2010

Emma Ashburn covered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in which she  defended international health spending at a time of domestic belt-tightening.

“At a time when American unemployment is recorded as slightly less than 10 percent, and we know structural unemployment is worse, and we’re asking hard-working, maybe unemployed Americans, to keep paying their taxes, some of that money will go to fund our development and diplomacy efforts worldwide.”

“I have to be able to look them in the eye and tell them they’re getting their money’s worth,” Clinton said. USA/

In pressing for the Global Health Initiative, which provides $63 billion over 2009-2014 to combat health problems like malaria and HIV/AIDS, Clinton drew some chuckles when she suggested that aid workers could tighten their belts a little too.

“If we’re going to have a country team, in a country, working together, they don’t all need their own SUVs. We have got to get smart about how we spend our money,” she said.

Cutting back supplies in, say, Nigeria would mean more money could be spent in places like Afghanistan, where the life expectancy is about 44 years. Ten aid workers, including six Americans, were killed two weeks ago in Afghanistan where they were treating eye diseases and other ailments.

The U.S. government’s health assistance in places like Afghanistan “gives you an opportunity to connect with segments of the population that may or may not be particularly supportive of anything else that we and others are doing,” Clinton said.

In a midterm election year, Clinton took pains to point out that health aid for developing countries was not a partisan issue, and commended former Republican President George W. Bush’s administration for “ground-breaking work” in global health.

“This is clearly not a Democratic or Republican issue, this is a nonpartisan issue that really comes from the heart of America.  And our leadership in this field has been possible because of strong support on both sides of the aisle,” she said.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Clinton at Johns Hopkins SAIS)


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“If we’re going to have a country team, in a country, working together, they don’t all need their own SUVs. We have got to get smart about how we spend our money,” she said.

Ok Hillary, why don’t we get really smart and take care of our own people in the USA first. Then those unappreciative third world countries can spend their own money on health care for their people instead of military equipment.

Posted by RayGunsmess | Report as abusive

Because Ray, if you give a dollar to a homeless man here he gets a beer. If you give a dollar to a homeless man in Chad, he eats for a week.
Your point of aid money enabling increased military spending is a valid concern when we give to the top of the political structure in corrupt countries. But much of aid spending is through NGOs which distribute directly to the common people.

Posted by Mr.C | Report as abusive

In a time when the economy and American auto manufacturers and jobs are struggling, why are we nitpicking this topic? I understand the need to reduce emissions but if we’re going to attack that issue, why don’t we outlaw all vehicles made prior to 2007 (Supreme Court ruled greenhouse gases a pollutant)? The whining and hypocrisy of the far left only serves to bolster the far right’s drive to annoy liberals even more. Focus on attacking the real problem, reducing emissions, and don’t unreasonably and ignorantly attack hard working, free-market loving Americans.

Posted by Kekoa | Report as abusive

Or, we could look closely and find a vast amount of humans just as human as us stuck in a life of hell under corrupt “governments” whose decisions they have no control over.

Than we could look to history and find that it was violent colonisation that resulted, through the raping of native freedom and resources, that resulted in the situation now being experienced. Who raped them? The countries who now hold all international sway due only to their monetary power gained through stealing the lives (slavery) and natural resources of the individuals you describe as ‘unappreciative’. Without this period of history our economies and lives would be nothing like we experience them today.

And THEN you could look closely at the current international industrial relations and find that the vast majority of our affluence is STILL based on the suffering of those in struggling nations, due to the goods we consume being so relatively inexpensive because of inhumanely poorly paid labout (of which we see nothing, we just happily take), and the externalising of environmental costs (we’ve ruined ours so we’ve started on overseas environments long ago..).

I think it does us well to look a little closer at our involvement sometimes before we throw away our compassion.

If you’re interested Phillip McMichael has written a great book “Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective” which sets a lot out really clearly, helped me understand anyway.

Posted by allygoodo | Report as abusive