The catastrophic domestic and global effects of coronavirus begs the question: why was the world so unprepared for this virus? In search of some answers, I recently spoke with Ambassador Roger Meece, former U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2004 – 2007) and Malawi (2000 – 2003) and a member of the USGLC’s Washington State Advisory Committee.
If the world learned anything from the SARS epidemic, it is that in order to counter a viral disease, a coordination of the world’s finest medical institutions and brightest minds is quintessential. As the number of confirmed cases climbs with each passing day, the WHO must act swiftly and declare the Coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. While multiple U.S. officials have vowed to support Chinese efforts to combat the epidemic, and are monitoring the situation closely, the U.S. government must also consider backing up its words by funding programs dedicated to fighting global epidemics.
Representing more than 30,000 Veterans for Smart Power across the country, nearly 50 top leaders of the USGLC’s growing veteran’s initiative came together on Capitol Hill earlier this month as part of an ongoing effort to elevate U.S. diplomatic and development programs alongside a strong defense. From Vietnam veterans to active guard and reserve members, this diverse group of men and women spent a day speaking with lawmakers and sharing personal stories of their time in uniform to highlight how our national security is strengthened by our civilian-led tools.
In recent weeks, our nation’s top national security experts – the military leaders of America’s combatant commands – briefed Congress on the national security threats facing the United States. While the challenges of great power competition from China and Russia were central to their testimonies, they also highlighted threats that require investing in development and diplomacy to keep America safe by addressing the drivers of extremism and instability, building allies and partner capacity, and promoting American values and diplomatic solutions to conflict.
The path forward in Venezuela remains uncertain since National Assembly President Juan Guaidó took the oath of office and declared himself the legitimate interim president of Venezuela. He was quickly recognized by the United States, Canada, and much of Central and Latin America, even as Russia, China, and Turkey warned they would continue to support President Maduro. While the Administration insists that no options are “off the table,” it has so far focused on a strong diplomatic and economic response to defend democratic values and encourage a peaceful transition of power. As the crisis unfolds, here are three critical issues to watch as the hunger and political crisis in Venezuela continues to spiral downward.
At the Heritage Foundation yesterday, National Security Advisor John Bolton introduced the Administration’s new Africa strategy, which he said reflects the president’s “central campaign promise” to put the interests of the American people first.
For every $1 we spend to prevent conflict and atrocities, we have the potential to save $16 in response costs, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace. And this week, in an effort to solidify state fragility as a national security priority, the House passed the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act of 2018. Now, we turn to the Senate to reframe America’s national security agenda and combat the threats posed by global fragility.
As Americans continue to debate the cost and importance of our country’s participation on the world stage, it is more important than ever to understand just what the men and women of the U.S. State Department really do. Thankfully, two new podcast series offer listeners an inside look into how America’s diplomats advance and defend U.S. national interests around the world.