How Power is Measured

October 14, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

This morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke on economic statecraft in New York City, saying “our great challenge is not facing down any single military foe, but upholding our global leadership at a time when power is more often measured and exercised in economic terms.” Yesterday, Ranking Members of House committees submitted recommendation letters to the Super Committee. In his letter, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman (D-CA) wrote “I would urge that your committee take special care that international affairs spending is not singled out to bear the brunt of future reductions, which would be dangerous and counterproductive.” In addition, House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Norm Dicks (D-WA) also laid out  in his letter the cost of human lives if international affairs spending is slashed.

Must Reads

USGLC in the News

Hillary Clinton to lay out her “doctrine on economic statecraft” in New York speech Friday (Laura Rozen, The Envoy)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give a major address on her vision for economic statecraft in New York Friday. In the address…Clinton will lay out what her aides say she sees as a major strategic legacy of her tenure as Secretary of State: a doctrine calling on the U.S. diplomatic corps to make advancing United States economic interests a central mission of the U.S. diplomatic agenda.


Who’s in the News

New Bill Will Ensure More Transparent and Effective U.S. Foreign Aid  (Business Wire)

Bread for the World congratulates Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and 30 other co-sponsors from both parties for introducing the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012 (H.R. 3159). The bill will ensure that U.S. foreign assistance programs will be more transparent, accountable, and effective.  “H.R. 3159 affirms the bipartisan consensus in Congress of the need to reform U.S. foreign aid, especially in these times of tight budgets,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “Even if we only allocate less than 1 percent of the federal budget to foreign aid, we have to make sure we use these dollars effectively to enable poor people in developing countries to lift themselves from hunger and poverty.”

Romney: China must respect the free-trade system (Mitt Romney, Washington Post)
The feckless economic policies of the Obama administration have resulted in a 10 percent decline in our median income, persistent unemployment above 8 percent and collapsing home and asset values.  Understandably, some ask whether we should abandon the economic principles behind our historic prosperity. Should government redistribute wealth? Is free enterprise a flawed system? Should we abandon free trade? No, no and no. Redistribution is what once impoverished China and the Soviet Union. Free enterprise is the only permanent cure for poverty. Free trade has the demonstrated ability to make the people of both trading nations more prosperous.

Smart Power
Oxfam Urging SupComm To Protect Foreign Aid (Andrew Joseph, National Journal)
Oxfam America, the international relief and development organization, is blanketing Washington with a new ad campaign meant to encourage Congress to protect foreign aid.  The ads, which premiered today and cost $60,000, will run in NJ DailyCQ TodayPoliticoRoll Call and The Economist. There will also be 22 ads up at National Airport for a month during the November travel rush.

The Role of Faith Groups in Foreign Aid and Development (Sally Steenland, Center for American Progress)
Sally Steenland talks with Zeenat Rahman, acting director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Initiatives at the U.S. Agency for International Development, about the crisis in the Horn of Africa, the agency’s work with faith-based partners, and why foreign aid and development are important not just as a reflection of America’s values but as strategic tools for national security and strengthening our economy.

The Struggle for Daily Bread (David Rieff, New York Times)
If the word crisis is vastly overused, to speak of a global food crisis is, if anything, an understatement.  The first signs of trouble appeared in 2000, when global grain stocks declined for the first time in several decades, but it was not until the spring of 2007 that the full gravity of what was occurring became clear.

Politics/Foreign Policy
Lawmakers advise supercommittee to be cautious (Alan Fram, Business Week)
Congress flooded its supercommittee with a jumble of advice Thursday about how to tame the government’s out-of-control debt, mostly urging it to aggressively find savings but to also be cautious about cutting programs lawmakers care about most.  Most of the suggestions came from Democrats on 16 Republican-run House committees who sent letters to the special debt-cutting panel. Generally, their advice was to create jobs, raise revenue and avoid damaging cuts to public works, health care and other programs they said are crucial to an economic recovery.

Twilight of the Wise Man (Jacob Heilbrunn, Foreign Policy)
It isn’t just the career of the Senate’s senior-most Republican that is at stake here; it is an entire tradition of Republican foreign policy that is being repudiated by the party faithful…But Lugar’s predicament is wholly predictable. It’s the logical terminus, you could even say, of a career devoted to a party that has always been divided between the presumptions of its grandee class on the one hand and a resentful and bellicose populist movement on the other. Over the decades, those resentments have repeatedly been papered over, only to re-emerge with increasing virulence. Perhaps the surprising thing isn’t that Lugar and his fellow remnants of the establishment are on the run. It’s that they survived as long as they did inside a party that often regarded the idea of a patrician elite with consternation.

The Accommodator: Obama’s Foreign Policy (Colin Dueck, The Hoover Institution)
Almost three years into his administration, obversers continue to debate the nature of President Obama’s overall foreign policy approach.  What is the “Obama doctrine”? Some say it is a policy of international engagement.  Some point to Libya, and suggest that the Obama doctrine is one of humanitarian intervention multilaterally and at minimal cost.  Some look to today’s fiscal constraints and say that it is all about insolvency.

America the Overcommitted (Jeremi Suri, The New York Times)
American foreign policy today is reactive, unfocused and ineffective. The Obama administration is concentrating almost entirely on preventing bad situations from getting worse. This is true in Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea and Iran. The Arab-Israeli peace process is dead, and the White House is struggling to salvage some remaining hope. Europe is teetering on the edge of financial collapse, and America can only encourage its allies to buy more time on depleting credit.