Event in Miami highlights what you can do to raise awareness for smart power

October 21, 2010 By Andy Amsler

Yesterday, over a hundred community leaders in Florida attended an event hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, featuring University of Miami President and USGLC Florida State Advisory Committee co-chair Donna E. Shalala, on the importance of a smart power approach to America’s foreign policy and how people across the country are helping educate this year’s congressional candidates about the value of the International Affairs Budget. If you’d like to find out more about how you can take part, visit www.smartvote2010.org.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Geithner’s Goal: Rebalanced World Economy (Damian Paletta and David Wessel – Wall Street Journal)

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he would use weekend meetings of G-20 finance ministers to advance efforts to “rebalance” the world economy so it is less reliant on U.S. consumers, to move toward establishing “norms” on exchange-rate policy, and to persuade others the U.S. doesn’t aim to devalue its way to prosperity. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Geithner said the world sorely needs to agree on guidelines for exchange-rate policy. “Right now, there is no established sense of what’s fair,” he said. He also said the U.S. is pressing the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations to adopt numerical gauges to judge whether individual trade surpluses or deficits are “sustainable,” a way to measure progress towards the goal of more balanced global growth.

Smart Power

Dr. Greg and Afghanistan (Nicholas Kristof – New York Times)

The conventional wisdom is that education and development are impossible in insecure parts of Afghanistan that the Taliban control. That view is wrong. An organization set up by Mr. Mortenson and a number of others are showing that it is quite possible to run schools in Taliban-controlled areas. I visited some of Mr. Mortenson’s schools, literacy centers and vocational training centers, and they survive the Taliban not because of military protection (which they eschew) but because local people feel “ownership” rather than “occupation.”

Apps for Development, not Destruction (Kate Otto – Huffington Post)

The World Bank, who recently launched the “Apps for Development Competition” in order to connect the word’s best and the brightest minds at the intersection of software development and poverty-alleviation efforts. The premise is rooted in a challenge that may sound game-like, because of the superhuman efforts that will be required for success. But the challenge is all too real: Our world has just five years remaining to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — a set of ambitious, internationally agreed-upon targets that include ending poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education and gender equality, and environmental sustainability. The challenge at hand implies immense consequences should we fail, and the time frame feels restrictively short. But the World Bank believes that creating innovative applications of technology, using archived World Bank development data recently opened to the public, is an absolutely necessary next step.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Tea Party Foreign Policy a Bit Cloudy (Michael Shear – New York Times)

Among the more than 100 candidates who claim Tea Party support, opinions about foreign policy range from severely isolationist to unapologetically assertive of America’s role in the world. And in between are many candidates who appear to have spent little time at all thinking about such issues. It is not an academic question. Dozens of Tea Party-backed candidates could win seats Congress in less than two weeks. In a closely divided legislature, the views of those new representatives could help shape congressional action on trade policy, nuclear treaties with Russia, Middle East peace negotiations and the future of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We are all asking, what does it mean for foreign policy? It’s hard to divine because they haven’t articulated clear views,” said James M. Lindsay, a senior vice president at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Making effort toward peace with Taliban (Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung – Washington Post)

Senior administration officials briefed President Obama on Wednesday about the Afghan government’s accelerating push for peace with the Taliban, as several streams of potential negotiations emerged. In addition to discussions in and around Kabul being facilitated by coalition forces, a Taliban delegation traveled to Saudi Arabia early this month to seek Saudi sponsorship of talks with the Afghan government, sources said. Taliban representatives also sought to hold a meeting near Kandahar, which is in the Taliban heartland of southern Afghanistan and close to the Pakistani city of Quetta, where the Afghan Taliban leadership is located. After a 90-minute session on Afghanistan and Pakistan with his war cabinet in the White House Situation Room, Obama met with a delegation of senior Pakistani officials who are in Washington for talks about the future scope of U.S-Pakistan relations, a partnership whose strength is essential to the success of the Afghan war.