United States Foreign Assistance Programs

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[The following is the testimony presented before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2004.]

The United States assistance programs are key to achieving our foreign policy goals in Europe and Eurasia, and we greatly appreciate your current and past support in providing us with this important diplomatic tool.

Assistance Advances American Interests

In the region covered by my bureau, there is strong evidence of how foreign assistance can serve U.S. national security interests. Our military assistance, through the foreign military finance (FMF), international military education, and training (IMET) and the voluntary peacekeeping operations (PKO) accounts, is helping us gain capable allies in the war on terrorism and it strengthens the capabilities of our new North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. Our political and economic transition assistance through the Freedom Support Act (FSA) and Support for East European Democracy Act (SEED) is expanding Europe's zone of democracy and prosperity eastward. The intense engagement we achieve through our assistance, with governments and the broader society, is building strong ties that will help anchor U.S. relations with these countries for years to come. Moreover, the support we give to nurture grassroots nongovernmental organizations will help these indigenous groups sustain the impetus for open and competitive political and economic systems, even beyond the lifespan of formal American assistance. No other donor is as active as the United States in this area, and we will continue to support civil society organizations as they strive to implant themselves.

Since this Committee examined our foreign assistance in Europe and Eurasia a year ago, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have demonstrated that our assistance pays large dividends. They support U.S. foreign policy priorities and are valued partners for the United States in the global war on terrorism. Of the twenty-seven transition countries, all of which have received substantial U.S. assistance since the early 1990's, twenty-four are active supporters of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and/or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan). Three Central Asian countries have provided some form of basing to our troops. Our overall foreign assistance has played a key role in cementing bilateral relations. Our military assistance has allowed these countries to contribute effectively to OEF, OIF, and the war on terrorism.

Our military assistance has also made it possible for many of these states to be part of critical peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans. Our security aid through the FMF, IMET and PKO accounts enhances interoperability of European and Eurasian militaries with NATO. We have helped new NATO entrants build capabilities that they will contribute to the alliance. We have strengthened the ability of other nations to contribute to U.N. peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Increasingly, these countries are not just consumers of assistance but contributors to our global security interests.

The United States has a strong national security interest in fostering stability, prosperity and democracy in those European and Eurasian countries that lived under Communism and Soviet domination. The picture is mixed and the challenges are complex. This can be seen very clearly by examining another significant development of the past year that I know this Committee followed closely--the regime change in Georgia. While Georgia is a relatively small country, the Revolution of Roses that took place there last November had huge reverberations in the former Soviet Union. …