The Security Dividend: What the United States Can Obtain from Investing More in International Health Care Capacity

Kermit Jones

With their increased emphasis on soft power, both the Bush and Obama Administrations have opened up a new front in the war of ideas regarding who will have the most influence over developing countries as the world moves through the twenty-first century. Currently the political and philosophical differences between the parties of this conflict are not as starkly defined as they were in George Kennan’s historic argument for containment (i.e., there is no “Evil Empire,” and “terrorism” can be a process, act, or method, but not a state). Yet the consequences of losing this international war on poverty have been defined as no less than a tangible threat to U.S. national security interests and moral leadership. This paper narrowly focuses on one particular type of strategy in this new war—foreign aid for health—and how, by helping countries to supply and train more of their own soldiers in this type of fight (i.e., non-physician health workers and surgically trained workers) the United States can achieve the best results in terms of sustainability, cost, and regional impact.