Farewell Sarge

January 19, 2011 By Christopher Williams

This afternoon USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah will give a major address on the Administration’s directions and priorities in development, including the new Feed the Future initiative.  The event is at 2 p.m., and you can watch it here.  Today we also mourn the loss of a true champion of the International Affairs Budget, Sargent Shriver.  As the first director of the Peace Corps, Shriver left a legacy of over 200,000 Americans who have served as “mini-ambassadors” for our nation in villages and communities in some of the most remote parts of the world.  Peace Corps volunteers demonstrate the highest ideals of America as they go about their work every day, and the nation owes “Sarge” a tremendous debt of gratitude.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

R. Sargent Shriver, Peace Corps Leader, Dies at 95 (Robert McFadden – The New York Times)

R. Sargent Shriver, the Kennedy in-law who became the founding director of the Peace Corps, the architect of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty, a United States ambassador to France and the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1972, died on Tuesday in Bethesda, Md. He was 95.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Sharing the Burden of Peace (Robert Wright – The New York Times)

Have you braced yourself for the Pentagon “spending cuts” recently unveiled by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates? Don’t bother. Though many journalists used that term to describe the Gates budget, Gates himself conceded that “this is really all about a reduction in the rate of growth” in spending. I’m sure Gates did his best, comparing the bang-per-buck of different weapons systems and dropping the ones that failed this cost-benefit analysis. But there’s a different kind of cost-benefit analysis, and if the Obama administration used it, we could actually cut defense spending.

Clinton: U.S., China Must Build Cooperative Relationship (Olga Belogolova – National Journal)

With Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington for a state visit, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says that while the United States must stand by its values and interests, the relationship should not be “zero-sum.” In an interview with NBC’s Meredith Vieira that aired this morning, Clinton said that looking for common ground is important “because this will be one of the most consequential relationships of the 21st century.”

U.S. stakes out revised China stance (Josh Gerstein – Politico)

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit this week highlights a recalibration in President Barack Obama’s policy toward the rising power — a retooling that experts say was born of frustrations the Obama White House encountered in its early efforts to move China on issues such as human rights, trade imbalances and North Korea. White House officials painted Obama’s high-profile November 2009 visit to China as a success and were publicly livid about media accounts that depicted the trip as a failure.

New START Signals a New Start on Treaties (Don Kraus – The Washington Post)

Getting two-thirds of the Senate to agree on anything is a daunting task. So it was no small feat when the Senate approved New START, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, during its December lame duck session. New START was the first major international agreement passed by the Senate since the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997. The United States is a bit schizophrenic when it comes to treaties. The U.S. government does a great job negotiating them.