For decades, global health has been a core part of American foreign policy. Through supporting the well-being of some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, it is clear that America embraces generosity through its role as an international superpower. However, these acts should not be solely regarded as magnanimous or altruistic. Grappling with the health of global populations has crucial benefits for American interests.
For more than a year we have been analyzing the issue of childhood nutrition (along with a large number of other topics that go into the post-2015 discussion). Nutrition is obviously one of the most critical issues for development. Both children and adults need a good quality diet, but, like others in this field, we have come to believe that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life – from conception to age two – are vital for proper development.
In late February, when the Trump administration was poised to unveil a budget of deep cuts to the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development, a group of retired U.S. generals and admirals put pen to paper in defense of foreign assistance. “Now is not the time to retreat,” the letter to the U.S. Congress, signed by over 120 military leaders, concluded.
A decade and a half ago, we came together to bridge the political divide and address one of history’s worst public health crises. In 2002, 3.1 million people worldwide died of AIDS-related causes and 11 million children in sub-Saharan Africa had lost one or more parents to the disease. The AIDS epidemic was only getting worse; immediate action was necessary.

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