Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I read with incredulity that in this time of international challenge, the Peace Corps is not being adequately funded ["Peace Corps to Pare Ranks of Volunteers," In The Loop, Aug. 22].
Peace Corps programs affect people at the street level. From the vantage point of economic and social development, they do a magnificent job in promoting American interests abroad. In the realm of international friend-building, the challenges have never been more profound.
On a recent trip to Central America, I learned that China had given the people of Costa Rica a new national soccer stadium. China's no-strings approach to African aid, driven by its interest in extractive industries, also significantly undermines our interests on that continent. Furthermore, Islamic radicalization obviously is rooted in low-income Muslim communities.
Fifty years ago, John F. Kennedy viewed the Peace Corps as one antidote to a growing communist challenge in the underdeveloped world. President Bush's impulse to double the Peace Corps budget was on target regarding today's challenges. His lack of fortitude in adequately funding its programs is profoundly disturbing.
RICHARD M. KRIEG
The writer served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Brazil from 1969 to 1971.