Corridors of Power: U.S. Foreign Aid, Sarkozy’s New Adviser, and Oslo Revisited

Corridors of Power: U.S. Foreign Aid, Sarkozy’s New Adviser, and Oslo Revisited

Editor's note: Corridors of Power is written by World Politics Review Editor-at-Large Roland Flamini and appears every Monday. This week's edition appears Tuesday due to Monday's Memorial Day holiday in the United States.

A GHOST AT THE COMMITTEE -- Randall Tobias will not be present when the U.S. Congress takes up foreign aid appropriations after Memorial Day, but he will certainly be there in spirit. Tobias resigned as head of USAID, the U.S. Agency for International Development, following that rather bizarre Washington madam scandal, in which he was the only publicly identified alleged high-profile client. But it is largely the Tobias foreign aid package that will be under scrutiny when his acting successor, Henrietta Flore, goes before the committee.

Prior to his departure, Tobias had massively restructured the USAID decision process, bringing it into line with the Bush administration's "baddies-don't-get-our-goodies" policy. But from all accounts Tobias had ruffled a lot of feathers at State and the White House by drawing up proposals for fiscal year 2008 in closed-door deliberations with a few top aides, with no departmental or outside consultation. Some officials are said to have been startled at how inflexible Tobias had been in making aid conditional on improvements in human rights, reducing corruption, and adherence to rule of law.

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