Senator Arthur Vandenberg, former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1947-1949), was an important U.S. foreign policy advocate who nurtured bipartisan consensus on many issues in his time. He was the legislative architect of the Marshall Plan and was also instrumental in securing bipartisan support for NATO and the United Nations.
The Marshall Plan and other initiatives that followed (such as the Alliance for Progress and USAID) were created in the context of great power competition. We are perhaps returning to an age of renewed great power competition. The developing world today is much richer, freer, and has more options. In this context, American foreign assistance is still needed, but in a radically changed world.
Foreign assistance in the United States has always operated in the context of enlightened self-interest. In Senator Vandenberg’s time there were significant critics of assistance who doubted the effectiveness of foreign aid just as there are today. How do we make the case for American foreign assistance in this new era? What are the major global challenges and opportunities that we might take advantage of by investing U.S. foreign assistance dollars?
CSIS wants to honor the legacy of Senator Vandenberg’s contribution to public service by identifying areas of bipartisan agreement. This event will launch a project focused on “Building Bipartisan Solutions for Foreign Policy Issues: The Arthur Vandenberg Legacy Initiative.” Please join us for a public armchair discussion with Senator Norm Coleman (R) and Senator Tom Daschle (D).