Posted by: bklunk | May 30, 2007


On the one hand, the Bush administration has provided far more support than previous U.S. administrations for programs like this. On the other,  critics, probably with some cause, will be concerned about the emphasis on abstinence as an AIDS prevention strategy. The lovely thing about money is that it is fungible

Bush Seeks to Double Spending for AIDS Program – New York Times

WASHINGTON, May 30 — President Bush asked Congress today to double the amount the United States spends to fight “this modern-day plague” of AIDS in developing countries. He proposed spending $30 billion over a five-year period beginning in September 2008.
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Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Bush with Baron Mosima Loyiso Tantoh, 4, and his mother, Manyongo Mosima Tantoh, who is H.I.V. positive.
Bush’s Proposal for AIDS ProgramVideo
Bush’s Proposal for AIDS Program

The United States’ current campaign against AIDS, with $15 billion in committed spending, has made possible the treatment of 1.1 million infected people in 15 countries, most of them in Africa — an achievement Mr. Bush called “a promising start.” If America steps up its commitment to $30 billion, 2.5 million people can be treated and as many as 12 million cases of infection can be prevented, Mr. Bush said.

“This money will be spent wisely,” Mr. Bush said in the White House Rose Garden, where the brilliant sunshine and the music of birds seemed incongruous, given the seriousness of the subject.

Mr. Bush said that compacts with other governments, with private organizations and with faith-based groups would ensure that the money is not wasted.

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  1. I think this is a great proposal from President Bush. Now that Bush is starting to come to the end of his presidency it seems he is trying to do more what the people want. In class today we talked about how he has one of the lowest support percentages in president history, and maybe he is trying to bring up his support by trying to help out countries that are not well off. Even though this is a lot of money I think for the most part people of the U.S. will support this because it goes to helping the “modern-day plague,” as Bush quoted. The United States has made its reputation of being the country to go out and “save” other ones, but in this case I think that it is a great way to help others in need.

  2. Good application of some state level analysis. But a couple of ideas. (1) In the context of the US Government budget, $15-30 billion is not that much. But it is much more than the US has been willing to pony up in the past. (2) I doubt this will help the president’s popularity much, but lame duck presidents often pay attention to their legacies, how they will be remembered historically.

  3. I agree with Devonie in that Bush is in a sense trying to change up his adgenda to do more of the things he percieves the public want. But I also feel that it is almost more of a symbolic gesture. Its very true that compared to the amount we are currently spending of defense, for example, that $30 billion isn’t a lot. I think that in a lot of situations, especially in dealing with humanitarin aid, the United States is looked too since we are one of the wealthiest countries as well as a very powerful one. Lately, it seems like the U.S. hasn’t been doing a very good job on aid front. It goes back to the idea of seft versus hard power. We are certainly very good at exercising that hard power and flexing our military and economic power, but we sometimes forget about the other part, and don’t always lead by example. We have the resources to do a lot of good, especially on the AIDs front, and I think this is definately a step in the right direction, and I hope it will continue to get more and more support and help in years to come. I think we will need it.

  4. It is true that Bush’s lame duck position allows him to put more foreign policies through, especially if it corresponds with society’s values (ie. humanitarianism). His motives for doing something like this are many—they could include economic reasons (the Dependency and World Systems theory both explain the exploitation of the periphery by the core and this situation could be a twisted form of future exploitation), personal reasons, enhancing the US’s reputation, etc. There could be so many hidden agendas to his generosity that I would be afraid to accept it myself, but as long as there are less people dying then it has to be good, right?

  5. I support this gesture by president, since my opinion is that Aids issue is more important than war in Iraq, but it is the case that U.S throug out last couple decades had focus more on its hard power. Aids could be greater, if not already , threat to U.S since it could affect any citizen directly or indirectly.
    When I am thinking about this spending, I realize that is such a small fraction of U.S budget and it was suposed to be used earlier for Aids spending, but I also think that 30 bil. is more than my country’s budget for the whole year, so when I am thinking about it from my perspective it is still a lot of money.
    It is also the case that this gesture came to late and it is done mostly to salvage presidents reputation.

  6. I think the cynical side of me is saying that President Bush is only doing this to boost the reputation of the United States. Because of the Iraq War, the United States’ reputation has considerably declined, thus, are soft power is probably at an all time low. This may be an effort by President Bush to boost the United States’ reputation by saying “we care about Africa!” But I also agree with Professor Klunk that this is not going to do that much to change people’s perception of the United States.

    I also think that it is important to note that to fight AIDS in another culture, you need to be sensitive to the needs of that culture. Dean Ensign told a story about how when organizations were passing out white condoms to a certain group of people in Africa, the people weren’t using them. This was because in that culture the people put white cloth over the deceased. This made the men uneasy about putting a white condom on themselves. We will have to wait and see if having faith-based organizations and abstinence programs are the best way to fight AIDS in other parts of the world. If it’s not, then we will likely see more criticism against the United States. This may lead Bush’s effort to strengthen the United States’ reputation to backfire.

  7. I also think this is just an attempt by Bush to promote his own image. There are several places in the world right now where people are extremely miserable. Darfur just happens to have the limelight right now. If he really cared about suffering in other countries he would spotlight some of the ones that are not getting as much attention right now, instead of taking a stance against something that is already obvious to everyone.

    Bush is a Hamiltonian masquerading as a Jacksonian and a Wilsonian at the same time. He is supposedly morally conservative and a realist when it comes to war, and he wants to democratize the world and help humanity to appease the left leaning swing voters… but really he is just a Hamiltonian: a corporate business man, playing the cards in the way that will most maximize profits. Now that he has good advisers, (unlike the days of Arbusto), he can actually pull it off.

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