A Tale of Two Paths

Divergence in Development

Today’s developing world is fundamentally different than that of your grandparents. It is even different than when Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were in office. U.S. policy and strategy should keep pace with these changes. Today, there are two divergent paths for developing countries: dozens are richer, freer, healthier, and more self-sufficient, while dozens still struggle mightily. Those doing well need drastically less foreign assistance and instead crave trade, infrastructure, and a diversified economy. There are, however, 30 to 40 failed and failing states that are not advancing and are generating many of our biggest national security threats. Every White House National Security Strategy since 2002 specifically cites failed, fragile, or failing states as a critical global security challenge. There remains a major role for U.S. foreign assistance, but it must be applied to different challenges and opportunities to reflect a changed world.
Photo credit: KAMBOU SIA/AFP/Getty Images
Daniel F. Runde
Senior Vice President; William A. Schreyer Chair; Director, Project on Prosperity and Development