Business Leaders Speak Out

June 29, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

This morning, the USGLC released a letter to Members of Congress signed by over 50 of the country’s top business leaders urging them to support a strong and effective International Affairs Budget.  Signed by leaders representing a diverse range of businesses including Boeing, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo and Walmart, the letter says “The International Affairs Budget funds valuable tools for advancing U.S. economic and strategic interests around the world and is vital for achieving a more prosperous future for American workers and businesses.”

Who’s In the News

Pawlenty warns against ‘isolationist’ GOP (Washington Times, Seth McLaughlin)

A growing schism within Republican ranks over U.S. intervention abroad spilled over into the 2012 presidential campaign Tuesday, with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty urging elected leaders to resist what he called “isolationist sentiments.”The comments were aimed at a slice of the GOP presidential field that has called for a reassessment of President Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan and a re-examination of the overall U.S. military posture around the globe.

Libya mission brings John McCain and John Kerry together again (Washington Post, Paul Kane)

Concerned about what they consider an isolationist and fearful drift in both of their parties, Kerry (D-Mass.) and McCain (R-Ariz.) are advocating an even more forceful role for America in the world. Although the two men disagree on troop levels in Afghanistan, they see U.S. military might as necessary to maintaining world order and U.S. business investment as a key to reviving the economies of many Middle Eastern states.

Obama gives first press conference in 3 months (Politico, Glen Thrush and Julie Mason)

The world has whirled in the 15 weeks since President Barack Obama last held a big press conference — and the questions have stacked up to his presidential seal. The last time Obama met the press, there wasn’t a single declared GOP candidate for president. Now there’s a swarm, and every one of them is blaming him for everything that ails the U.S. economy — and the rest of America’s problems as well.

Smart Power

I Tweet for Freedom (National Journal, James Kitfield)

If there is a single lesson that can already be distilled from the Arab Spring democracy movements sweeping through the Middle East, it is this: social media is mightier than the sword. Despots who once ruled in blacked-out realms are now challenged by flash mobs organized over the internet and wielding thousands of cell phone portals to the outside world.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Senate panel sees trade progress (Politico, Richard E. Cohen)

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced a breakthrough Tuesday on long-delayed trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, scheduling a key Thursday committee markup on a major trade package. The trade bill will also include an extension of the trade adjustment assistance program for unemployed workers, which the Obama Administration negotiated with Baucus and House Republicans. Key House Democrats have rejected those benefits as inadequate and continue to oppose the agreement with Colombia.

Nominee Questions Pakistan’s Battle Plan (Wall Street Journal, Julian Barnes)

Gen. Allen, deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command, argued that it would be ultimately in Islamabad’s interest to expel militant groups from their sanctuaries in Pakistan. “We will encourage and will continue to encourage our Pakistani friends to bring pressure to bear upon those safe havens,” he said. “It’s not just good for the outcome of our strategy and for the president’s vision on the outcome in Afghanistan; it’s good for Pakistan as well.”

Obama Advisor Defends Libya Policy to Senate (New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer)

A resolution authorizing American intervention in Libya was approved on Tuesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, hours after members skeptically grilled the administration’s legal adviser over his assertion that airstrikes and other military measures did not amount to hostilities. The resolution, approved 14 to 5, would allow President Obama to continue for one year the involvement of United States military forces in the NATO-led operation in Libya; it now heads to the full Senate.

New IMF head Christine Lagarde faces immediate crisis in Greece (Washington Post, Howard Schneider)

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde on Tuesday became the first woman and the first non-economist appointed to head the International Monetary Fund, an agency that is facing some of its deepest challenges since its founding 66 years ago. She will have to jump immediately into crisis negotiations over Greece, navigate demands from developing nations for more power in the agency, and cope with the internal fallout from the sexual assault arrest of former managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.