A Tragic Anniversary

August 8, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

This weekend, our own Mark Green joined Ambassador John Lange to mark the thirteenth anniversary of the tragic bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania with an opinion-editorial in the Daily Caller. They write that in the face of terrorism, American development and diplomacy programs built new allies and trading partners, and that programs funded by the International Affairs Budget “deserve much of the credit for America’s good standing in East Africa today.”

Must Reads

USGLC in the News

Worse Than They Feared (James Kitfield, National Journal)

Faced with a budget shortfall, appropriators are unlikely to act as protectors for the State Department…Even some conservative constituencies are frustrated. “I’m concerned about the disproportionate nature of these cuts to international-affairs accounts that make up only 1 percent of the federal budget,” said Mark Green, a former Republican congressman and ambassador who is now a senior director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. “We need political leaders willing to make the tough choices and invest in those tools that can prevent the spread of disease and despair and the conditions that could lead to the next military conflict.”

A Good Return on Investment (Mark Green and John Lange, The Daily Caller)

In the years after the embassy bombings, the U.S. launched a number of development efforts. Those efforts deserve much of the credit for America’s good standing in East Africa today. In Tanzania, for example, programs like the President’s Emergency plan for AIDS Relief, the President’s Malaria Initiative and projects supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have cut malaria deaths in half, reduced infant mortality by a third and reduced the rate of HIV infection from 18 percent in the 1980s to five percent today. Of course, the benefits of America’s close friendships with Kenya and Tanzania flow both ways. Not only are those countries stalwarts in the drive to prevent the spread of violent extremism, piracy and illegal drugs, but they are increasingly important trading partners for the U.S. America’s relationships with Tanzania and Kenya illustrate how strategic U.S. engagement protects our national security, helps to create jobs here at home and allows us to live up to our values as a world leader.

Smart Power

U.S. Aid Threatened by Budget Cuts? (Joel Davis, Foreign Policy Blogs)

As the U.S. debt crisis moves from the summer to the fall with the convening of the Congressional “super-committee,” it’s clear that everything will be on the chopping block, including one of the most important expressions of the U.S. role in the world: foreign aid. U.S. foreign aid is an interesting topic due to common misconceptions about it…U.S. foreign aid supports economic growth, agriculture and trade, global health, democracy training programs, conflict prevention programs, food aid and other humanitarian assistance. This assistance helps real people as well as earning goodwill for the U.S., goodwill that can be leveraged as soft power. And, as Serwer points out, U.S. aid can be a preventative and proactive tool to address problems before they become so large that they require an expensive military solution. These savings should be considered in any budget calculus meant to save money.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Poor Farmers No Threat to U.S. Business (Howard Buffett, Huffington Post Blogs)

P4P [Purchase for Progress] is the most innovative program I have seen; it is consistent with a business approach to solving poverty—something most CEOs of U.S. companies would and should applaud. As a businessman, it is the type of approach that I have searched for to incorporate into our charitable work…One point that seems to be missing in this discussion is that as countries work their way out of poverty, increase their GDP and overall wealth, they become consumers of goods produced from countries such as the U.S. Their purchasing power increases and they import our products— creating U.S. jobs and sustaining our industries, not threatening them.

All Guns, No Butter (James Traub, Foreign Policy-Opinion)

Ten years after the terrorist attack, both the fear of a sequel, and the faith in America’s capacity to shape a better world, have ebbed. Or perhaps that’s an overly analytical way of describing a national mood of sullen disillusionment with America’s imperial role. President Barack Obama acknowledged the spirit of fatigue when he declared in his June 22 speech charting the planned withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan that “it is time to focus on nation-building here at home.” But while the president conceded that “this decade of war has caused many to question the nature of America’s engagement around the world,” he admonished his listeners that “we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events.” It is precisely this obligation, however, that many Americans now want to dispose of like a boom-era mansion with a hopelessly underwater mortgage.

We need more funds to increase access to Aids drugs (Michel Kazatchkine, Guardian Blogs)

By providing antiretroviral medication we are not only saving the lives of those who go on treatment, we can be entirely confident that we are contributing to a sharp slowdown in the spread of the virus…Raising the funding to meet the “15 by 15” goal is going to be very challenging at a time when the world is facing the biggest economic crisis since the great depression of the 1930s. Yet the science is telling us that evidence in favour of putting millions more people on treatment is now overwhelming. And scaling up treatment now may prove to be the least expensive option if we want to bring this deadly pandemic, which still infects 1.8 million people every year, under control.