Back in Action

September 6, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Congress returns to Washington this week, with the budget on top of everyone’s agenda.  The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday will adopt its FY12 302(b) allocations.  The Senate’s funding level for the International Affairs Budget is expected to be notably higher than the House, which makes very deep cuts to non war-related programs.  With FY12 beginning in just a few weeks, both chambers will need to work quickly to put a stopgap measure in place for the start of the fiscal year.  The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the “super committee,” also begins its work this week, holding its first meeting on Thursday.  That same day the President will address a joint session of Congress on jobs growth. Tomorrow evening, the Republican presidential candidates will gather for a debate at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. In advance of that debate, President Reagan’s Defense Secretary, Frank Carlucci, penned an op-ed in Politico, urging the candidates to “ensure continued American leadership” by maintaining a “strong and effective international affairs budget.”

USGLC In the News

GOP rivals should be Ronald Reagan strong (Frank Carlucci, Politico)
Our foreign policy programs funded with international affairs appropriations make sure that American leadership in the world is never questioned. By promoting security and stability in the most dangerous corners of the globe through a strategic combination of civilian and military power, we strike a balance that strengthens our national security in an effective and efficient manner. Our international affairs budget is 1 percent of the federal budget. And Reagan saw the wisdom of this investment and the real benefits it brings to the American people.

School Stuff, the World & Laura Bush (Steve Clemons, The Atlantic)
What is less known about Former First Lady Laura Bush is how committed she was to international bridge-building and encouraging Americans to connect abroad. The US Global Leadership Coalition really ought to get Laura Bush to their annual gala next year and challenge each Member of Congress — particularly the ones who have not traveled internationally — to attend to hear her make the case for supporting America’s pretty meager aid and global assistance portfolio.

Who’s In the News

Gen. James ‘Hoss’ Cartwright: I have no regrets (Josh Rogin, The Cable)
In a small, windowless office with barren walls in the Pentagon’s E-ring, four-star Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright sits behind an empty desk. He’s spent the month of August on “terminal leave,” tying up the loose ends of his 40-year military career, in which he rose to become the second-highest-ranking uniformed military man in the nation, before losing his chance at one final promotion.  Speaking of Afghanistan, Cartwright said You can’t kill your way or buy your way to success in those activities. It’s got to be diplomatic.”

Smart Power

Turkey Enters Foreign Aid Business (Ayla Albayrak, Wall Street Journal)

As Turks returned Monday from a month of fasting and holidays over Ramadan, their government proudly declared the amount of aid they had gathered together to send to fellow Muslims in Somalia: More than $237 million.

Reaching Haiti’s cholera victims as hard as curing the disease (Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald)
A year after a cholera outbreak, getting to rural communities remains a challenge. Meanwhile, aid organizations are preparing to leave the country.  The cholera epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives in Haiti has fallen from its peak. But the disease, which has infected more than 400,000 Haitians since its initial outbreak a year ago, is continuing to have a major impact on far flung villages surrounding communities like this one in the lower Aribonite Valley. It’s main water supply, the 199-mile Artibonite River, was the initial source for spreading the epidemic.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Unpopular US Congress returns this week (Reuters)
A highly unpopular U.S. Congress returns to work from a month-long recess this week facing a crush of challenges — from creating jobs to expanding U.S. trade to finding another $1.2 trillion or so in spending cuts. Here is a look at what’s on their legislative agenda.

With Fall of Qaddafi, Congress Leaving Libya Decisions to White House (Emily Cadei, CQ )
Sidelined by the White House for the duration of Libya’s civil war, Congress is showing little inclination to assert itself in the aftermath, either. Lawmakers’ inability to shape U.S. policy toward the North African country then or now is likely to further weaken the legislative branch’s influence over the use of American force overseas.


The Clock Is Ticking (New York Times Editorial)
A minimally successful end to the Afghan war depends on weakening the Taliban militarily and helping Afghanistan build up a government that won’t implode as soon as American troops are gone.

The 2012 Election Will Come Down to Seven States (Larry Sabato, Wall Street Journal)
Straw polls, real polls, debates, caucuses, primaries—that’s the public side of presidential campaigns 14 months before Election Day. But behind the scenes, strategists for President Obama and his major Republican opponents are already focused like a laser on the Electoral College.