USGLC National Security Advisory Council Members Admiral James Loy, USCG (Ret.), and General Harry Raduege, USAF (Ret.), appeared yesterday on This Week in Defense saying how important it is for the new Congress to recognize the importance of the International Affairs Budget. As the civilian smart power tools of development and diplomacy have been underfunded for too long, the two former military officers encouraged an education campaign for new members of Congress to demonstrate their importance to our national security. This is good timing as freshmen members arrived in DC yesterday to begin orientation.
Who’s In the News
Clinton and Gates: Why the Senate should ratify New START (Hilary Rodham Clinton and Robert Gates – Washington Post)
For decades, American inspectors have monitored Russian nuclear forces, putting into practice President Ronald Reagan’s favorite maxim, “Trust, but verify.” But since the old START Treaty expired last December, we have relied on trust alone. Until a new treaty comes into force, our inspectors will not have access to Russian missile silos and the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals will lack the stability that comes with a rigorous inspection regime. Before this session of Congress ends, we urge senators to approve an arms control treaty that would again allow U.S. inspectors access to Russian strategic sites and reduce the number of nuclear weapons held by both nations to a level not seen since the 1950s. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), signed by President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April, builds on foundations laid by American leaders from both political parties over the past four decades. It has broad bipartisan backing.
Albright: Tea Party foreign policy unknown (Bridget Johnson – The Hill)
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Sunday that the Tea Party’s foreign policy stance was unclear, but maintained that the U.S. needs to be “engaged internationally.” “Every single problem that we are looking at — whether it’s fighting terrorism or dealing with a broken nuclear nonproliferation system or the climate change and energy issues or the gap between the rich and the poor — requires American leadership, but it also requires being engaged in partners,” Albright said on ABC’s “This Week” when asked by host Christiane Amanpour how foreign policy would take shape with new Tea Party influence in Congress. “We don’t know what the Tea Party’s foreign policy is,” said Albright, who served under President Clinton.
Aid Spawns Backlash in Haiti (Jose de Cordoba – Wall Street Journal)
The Hopital de l’Universite d’Etat d’Haiti, the country’s largest public hospital, is so chronically underfunded and decrepit that it has the reputation as a place where people come to die, not get better. After January’s devastating earthquake, there was hope the hospital could turn things around. Scores of foreign doctors from international medical charities flew in to treat the injured. Charities donated new equipment, and the hospital set up its first intensive care unit. There was talk of ongoing cooperation with foreign medical schools. Ten months later, the foreign doctors and charities are gone. The intensive care unit is closed. An unused defibrillator and a cardiac monitor lie askew atop a cart. Nobody at the hospital is trained on how to use either piece of equipment. “Now the hospital is the way it was before the earthquake,” says Alix Lassegue, the facility’s director.
PEPFAR Showing Greater Effectiveness, Efficiency Against HIV/AIDS (Stephen Kaufman – America.gov)
Nearly seven years after the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was announced, the program is having an “extraordinary impact” on the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, with data showing that more than 2.5 million people have been directly supported by its treatments through 2009, according to U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and PEPFAR Administrator Dr. Eric Goosby. Through PEPFAR and contributions to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the United States has committed approximately $32 billion to fight HIV/AIDS. Goosby spoke with reporters in Washington November 10, saying “PEPFAR has shown that indeed one disease responded to with significant resource infusion can have outcomes that have changed the way we think about global health.” The program, now operating in more than 30 countries, is showing increased efficiency and effectiveness, with more than 60,000 patients receiving anti-retroviral medication every month, and expansions in prevention and care programs.
More Money Matters: The Debt Commission Budget Cuts You Haven’t Heard (L.A. Holmes – Fox News)
The United States has long been the leader in delivering foreign aid and assistance to allies and developing nations worldwide. The Debt Commission thinks we can afford to be a bit less generous. “Since 2008, the budget for international development and humanitarian assistance has increase [sic] over 80 percent from over $17 billion to over $32 billion, and is expected to grow another 40 percent to over $45 billion by 2015—more than double previous levels,” the commission proposal reads. Reducing the proposed budget for humanitarian aid and international development by 10 percent saves $4.5 billion and still allows for a 30 percent increase in aid by 2015. Additionally, the United States pays more than $3.5 billion in “voluntary” funds to the United Nations each year. The Debt Commission suggests trimming that good will expenditure by 10 percent, saving $300 million a year. Cutting global contributions is not the only international savings plan the commission recommends.
Gates Foundation Convenes ‘Global Savings Forum’ To Help World’s Poor (Donna Gordon Blankinship – Huffington Post)
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is getting ready to do some matchmaking on a global scale. The world’s largest charitable foundation is bringing together bankers, government officials, regulators, telecommunications companies and community organizers from around the world next week to cut some deals to benefit the poor. The Global Savings Forum, set for Tuesday and Wednesday in Seattle, includes the usual conference fodder: speeches by dignitaries like Melinda Gates, who is expected to make a major grant announcement; and by Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, the United Nations’ special advocate for inclusive finance for development. But the conference’s main focus will be getting people talking in small groups, to share ideas and technology and maybe cut a few business deals across borders, said Bob Christen, director for the foundation’s financial services for the poor program.
Food Security Program Partnership Supports G20 Goals (America.gov)
The development agenda set by the G20 leaders at their meeting in Seoul, South Korea, November 12, calls for members to help countries reduce their dependence on foreign assistance by mobilizing foreign investment and domestic capital to foster sustained economic growth. A new fund aimed specifically at improving global food security is a tool that is helping to accomplish that goal. Partners in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a new fund to increase agriculture productivity and reduce poverty, announced November 4 that Ethiopia, Niger and Mongolia will receive the fund’s second round of grants totaling $97 million. The grants will help each country increase food security, raise rural incomes and reduce poverty by enabling small-holder farmers to grow more crops and earn more. Twenty developing countries from regions including Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America applied for the fund’s second round of grants, with a total request of nearly $1 billion.
U.S. Plan Envisions Path to Ending Afghan Combat (Peter Baker and Rod Nordland – New York Times)
The Obama administration has developed a plan to begin transferring security duties in select areas of Afghanistan to that country’s forces over the next 18 to 24 months, with an eye toward ending the American combat mission there by 2014, officials said Sunday. The phased four-year plan to wind down American and allied fighting in Afghanistan will be presented at a NATO summit meeting in Lisbon later this week, the officials said. It will reflect the most concrete vision for transition in Afghanistan assembled by civilian and military officials since President Obama took office last year. In many respects, the concept follows the precedent set in Iraq, where a similar troop surge and strategy shift under President George W. Bush in 2007 enabled American-led coalition forces to eventually hand over security duties to the Iraqis region by region. By last summer, Mr. Obama was able to pull out two-thirds of United States forces from Iraq and declare America’s combat mission there over.
Defend Defense (Gary Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly – Weekly Standard)
Do conservatives want a smaller and better government than we now have—properly limited and governed by the rule of law, but also energetically capable of accomplishing its appropriate ends? Or do conservatives just want to cut government willy-nilly, not only reducing its overall size but endangering its ability to carry out its proper functions? Some on the anti-all-government right are salivating at the chance, as the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) puts it, to slay the “sacred cow” of Pentagon budgets. Meanwhile, the Democratic left, in the person of Barney Frank, is more than willing to engage in such “scrutiny,” and is now rallying behind the proposal of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the heads of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, to cut more than $100 billion in “excess” military spending. And the media, of course, are all agog at the possibility of a “bipartisan” consensus on ending the supposedly profligate ways of the Pentagon.