December 2, 2010; Source: Poverty Matters Blog (The Guardian) | The fallout from WikiLeaks’ collection and dissemination of a quarter million official U.S. State Department cables seems to be leading in directions less connected to any particular revelation in the cables, but more toward what they mean for Hillary Clinton’s effectiveness—and perhaps tenure—as secretary of state.
This blog posting from the Guardian in the UK (note that the blog’s masthead says that it is “in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation”) worries that Secretary Clinton’s advocacy of an expansion of development funding through USAID may be a casualty of the WikiLeaks revelations. Clinton had recently released an early version of State’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which had argued for boosting USAID development activity and linking development much more closely to diplomacy to achieve U.S. global security and political interests—offsetting dominance of the Pentagon in international relations.
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The final version of the QDDR had been slated for mid-December, but with the Department of State and Secretary Clinton herself preoccupied with dealing with the WikiLeaks cable scandal, the Poverty Matters blogger anticipates that Clinton’s “political muscle [has been] weakened by the revelations.”
The plan had been to reestablish USAID as the “premier development agency” in the world after its long, slow decline due to the Bush Administration’s disinvestment in USAID staffing and programs. The WikiLeaks cables have damaged not only the credibility of the Department of State, but also the leadership of Secretary Clinton. Domestic nonprofits working with USAID on international aid projects may have to reassess the plans they had made based on a Clinton-strengthened USAID.—Rick Cohen