70 Military Leaders Speak Out

April 1, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Today, the USGLC released a letter signed by 70 top military leaders calling on Congress to support a strong and effective International Affairs Budget and reiterating how critical this funding is to our national security. In the letter, 70 retired three and four star Generals and Admirals say together, “Development and diplomacy keep us safer by addressing threats in the most dangerous corners of the world and by preventing conflicts before they occur.”  They continue saying, “At just over one percent of federal spending, the International Affairs Budget is a strong return on our investment.” Click here to read the letter, the press release and see the full page ad in Roll Call. Also today, don’t miss USAID Administrator Shah’s 2011 Annual Letter and  USGLC Board Member Ritu Sharma’s op-ed in the Baltimore Sun.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Rajiv Shah to Shed Light on USAID Contracting Reform Progress (Eliza Villarino, DEVEX)

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah is appearing today (April 1) before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan to discuss USAID’s contracting reforms, particularly in relation to the two war-torn countries.

Shah: GOP budget would kill 70,000 children (Josh Rogin, the Cable)

As Congress struggles to negotiate a budget deal to keep the government running, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) told lawmakers Wednesday that the GOP version of the budget bill would result in the deaths of at least 70,000 children who depend on American food and health assistance around the world.

Bush: Don’t leave Afghanistan early (Jordan Fabian, the Hill)

Bush issued a rebuke to supporters of isolationism who want to withdraw from international engagement. “Part of our objective is to remind people that isolationism will end up subjecting certain people to horrors that — I don’t see how our country could live with that kind of decision,” he said.

Punishing the hungry to shrink the deficit (Ritu Sharma, Baltimore Sun)

It’s wrong for Congress to punish hungry people when it won’t even reduce the deficit. This week, I started a liquid fast. I’m fasting to get Congress to stop using deficit reduction as a tool for the indefensible slashing of budgets that provide basic support to the poor and the hungry, at home and abroad. I am fasting because hunger and poverty are, at bottom, women’s issues. Women and girls make up a little over half of the world’s population, but they account for over 60 percent of the world’s hunger.

Smart Power

Once Dead, Now Fully Alive: How Foreign Aid Is Making a Difference in Zambia (Miyon Kautz, the Huffington Post)

I have been paying taxes my entire adult life. But I never saw those tax dollars put to such good use until three years ago, when I moved to the large, land-locked African country of Zambia. The 12 million people here are beautiful, generous, caring and, tragically, 1.1 million of them are living with HIV. An estimated 600,000 children have lost at least one parent to AIDS.

From U.S. Aid Recipient to Donor Partner: The Republic of Korea’s Health Ministry Honors USAID (Nisha Desai Biswal, Impact Blog)

For nearly 50 years USAID has been in the business of providing assistance to individuals in need to alleviate suffering, save lives, and foster a brighter future for families around the world. Our mission here at USAID is a unique one: to put ourselves out of business.

Politics/Foreign Policy

GOP senators itching to move on from 2011 spending-cut spat (Alexander Bolton, the Hill)

Senate Republicans are growing impatient with the stalemate over 2011 funding levels and want to save their political capital for a debate on the debt limit and entitlement reform. But they must contend with bloc of House conservatives who want an unqualified budget victory over President Obama.

Isolationism: America’s next step? (Stephan Helgesen, nmpolitics.net)

Isolationism takes many forms but always results in a loss, whether it’s a narrowing of perspective, retreat from relationships or the reduction of foreign aid. In the last 62 years, the United States spent approximately $800 billion on foreign aid, with about 154 countries receiving it (Israel receives the most).

Foreign Aid Isn’t the Answer (Marian Tupy, WSJ)

An indebted British government released its budget last week and, as promised, cut not one penny from its handouts to poor countries. Rather, increasing Western aid to Africa has become a mark of political piety and good citizenship.

Leading the Way for Global Higher Education (Francisco Sanchez, ITA)

Today we depart for Jakarta, Indonesia for the first leg of the largest Commerce-led education trade mission ever. I am excited for this mission as we are bringing 56 colleges and universities to explore the opportunities to recruit international students to study in the U.S. as well as possibly setting up partnership and student and faculty exchanges.