Around the Country

July 14, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Veterans and business leaders from around the country convened on Washington this week for the USGLC’s annual conference. These top leaders networked, attended private breakfasts, and met with their Members of Congress on Capitol Hill. In between stops, some also had time to share their support for a strong and effective International Affairs Budget with local media outlets back home. Through their interviews with drive time radio, local TV and hometown newspapers, the message of our conference was communicated across the country. Give a listen to Petty Officer Dante Turiczek on the radio in Reno, Nevada and State Representative and Afghanistan war veteran James Smith live in Columbia, South Carolina.

Must Reads

USGLC in the News

Clinton links US diplomacy to jobs   (Miami Herald, Daniel Lippman)

Amid the fierce debate about massive federal budget deficits, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued Tuesday that continued U.S. government spending abroad was crucial to America’s economic growth and global leadership. Speaking to the Global Leadership Coalition, a group of businesses and nonprofits that advocate for greater U.S. engagement abroad, Clinton said government spending on diplomacy helped open up new markets for U.S. companies and produced jobs for Americans at home.

Pawlenty would defend State and foreign aid budget (Foreign Policy, Josh Rogin)

“These are difficult economic times and you have a significant part of the Republican Party calling for retrenchment. The governor doesn’t accept that view and believes we ought to maintain defense spending and maintain the international affairs account,” Pawlenty’s senior foreign policy advisor Brian Hook said at yesterday’s U.S. Global Leadership Coalition conference. ”

Invest in U.S. global leadership (Politico Op-Ed, Tom Daschle and Tom Ridge)

The two of us have different political points of view and will undoubtedly support different candidates next November. But we agree on this: America’s security and prosperity depend on our continued engagement and leadership around the world. The total international affairs budget represents a little more than 1 percent of total federal outlays. But that small investment produces significant benefits for the American people.

Do Well and Do Good: US Global Leadership Coalition Highlights (MCHIP, Amanda Makulec)
One of the key takeaways from the panel was a sentiment repeated in different ways: businesses can do well – financially – and do good at the same time. Many developing countries’ economies are expanding at rates far surpassing the growth seen in the American economy and elsewhere, growing by 6% or more (compared to growth of around 2.5% in developed economies).

Smart Power

Can U.S. Development Strategy in Pakistan Survive a Spat Over Military Aid? (Center for Global Development, Wren Elhai)

Now, in this latest period of turmoil, Congressional critics are already moving to slash civilian aid. That would be counterproductive. Cutting civilian assistance because it is an easier target than military aid is poor policy. If security assistance is failing to achieve security goals, it makes sense to reassess that assistance. But the foundation of U.S. Pakistan policy is right—the decoupled, two-track civilian and military approach described in Kerry-Lugar-Berman.

Politics/Foreign Policy

How to Fix USAID (The Atlantic, Joshua Faust)

The real way you fix a dysfunctional USAID is by actually fixing USAID. Very few people would argue the agency is as effective, or as efficient, as it could be. But the way you make USAID an effective, efficient agency is by changing USAID so that it becomes more effective and efficient: hiring more direct staff, ditching the messy and counterproductive reliance on projects, investing in strategic design, hiring a competent contracting management team, and so on (these are guesses, there are obviously other ways to improve the agency’s workings).

Top Republicans clash over debt-limit plan (Washington Post, Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery)

Two top Republican leaders clashed Wednesday over a plan that could allow the government to avoid a potentially catastrophic default but would not ensure the deep cuts in federal spending that party members seek. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who offered a proposal this week that would allow President Obama to raise the federal debt limit without guaranteed spending cuts, warned that the Republican Party could “destroy” its brand with voters if Congress allows the government to default.