It’s Election Day

November 2, 2010 By Andy Amsler

It’s Election Day for the 112th Congress, and we encourage everyone to get out and vote and let your voice be heard.  Through our Smart Vote 2010 initiative, folks across the country have been talking with candidates about the importance of the International Affairs Budget and how critical this funding is to our national security, economic prosperity and humanitarian values as a nation.  We look forward to working with the new Congress to continue building on the bipartisan support for U.S. engagement with the world and a smart power approach to foreign policy.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Previewing the potential House Republican foreign-policy heavyweights (Foreign Policy – Will Inboden)

Most new Representatives will enter office with little foreign policy experience — with the notable exception of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans running for Congress. These vets — who will join several other Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom vets already serving in the House — won’t necessarily take the same positions on Iraq, Afghanistan, and national security. However, they will influence Congressional policy debates in at least two ways: bringing with them the credibility and insight gained from their firsthand experiences in theater, and through the informal networks they maintain with their military colleagues who are still deployed who can pass along back-channel assessments of front-line conditions.

President Obama, Asia is calling (Fareed Zakaria – Washington Post)

After the midterm elections, Barack Obama will get a chance to follow a long line of American presidents who have had setbacks at home. He will go abroad. His long-delayed Asian trip this week – India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan – is by chance perfectly timed. Asian powers are showing a striking – and growing – interest in American power. Just a few years ago, if you traveled to Asia, the talk was all about the irrelevance of the United States and the dawn of Chinese power. In 2006, analyst Joshua Kurlantzick declared that Chinese “soft power” in Southeast Asia had become so potent that, “for the first time in post-World War II history, the United States may be facing a situation in which another country’s appeal outstrips its own in an important region.”

Smart Power

In Speech and in Deed, Hillary Clinton Endorses Social Entrepreneurship (Auren Kaplan – Huffington Post)

The social entrepreneurship movement has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year. Early arriver TOMS Shoes has now received mainstream acceptance, having given away over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes to children in need all around the world as a result of their marriage of shoe-buying and shoe-giving — a Buy One, Give One business model that could revolutionize how social needs are met and goods delivered across the world. And as the recent Social Capital Markets, or SOCAP, conference has shown, the mainstream is beginning to identify a large-scale investment opportunity in social businesses. Now, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is throwing her hat in the ring in moving the social entrepreneurship movement forward. In a recent speech to the Commonwealth Club of California, Secretary Clinton lauded social entrepreneurs, saying that “Social entrepreneurs who marry capitalism and philanthropy are using the power of the free market to drive social and economic progress.”

Politics/Foreign Policy

Obama’s foreign policy after the midterms (Laura Rozen – Politico)

Some foreign policy observers have predicted that American presidents stymied on the domestic front by an opposition-led Congress tend to become more involved foreign policy presidents. But former U.S. diplomat Aaron Miller, in an article previewing Obama’s foreign policy waterfront after anticipated Republican gains in tomorrow’s midterm elections, urges Obama to resist the temptation, because in Miller’s views, there are so few foreign policy victories to be had. That said, Miller doesn’t believe Obama’s domestic right flank will prevent him from pursuing diplomatic opportunities that might become available.

Change We Can Believe in (Alon Ben-Meir – Huffington Post)

The new strategy must begin with President Obama’s visit to Israel after the midterm election. Rightly or wrongly, Obama’s decision not to visit Israel following his June 2009 Cairo speech and other trips to the region was interpreted as a slight to Israel. This month, the president will make his third official overseas visit as president to four Asian countries, including a Muslim majority country, Indonesia, once again skipping Israel and sending the message to the Israeli public that he is uninterested in engaging the Israelis directly. Because of President Obama’s long overdue visit to Israel, the Israeli public is becoming increasingly more skeptical of the president and his administration.

Sowing seeds for an organic revolution (William Wan – Washington Post)

In Chongming Island, China the small-scale farmer is a dying breed in China, made up mostly of the elderly left behind in the mass exodus of migrant workers to much higher-paying jobs in industrial cities. But on an island called Chongming, a two-hour drive east of Shanghai, a group of young urban professionals has begun to buck the trend. They are giving up high-paying salaries in the city and applying their business and Internet savvy to once-abandoned properties. They are trying to teach customers concepts such as eating locally and sustainability. And they are spearheading a fledgling movement that has long existed in the Western world but is only beginning to emerge in modern China: green living.