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December 14, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

The Protester (TIME Magazine Person of the Year, Kurt Andersen, TIME Magazine)

Once upon a time, when major news events were chronicled strictly by professionals and printed on paper or transmitted through the air by the few for the masses, protesters were prime makers of history.

Smart Power

Shaping America’s Power (Jonathan Broder, CQ Weekly)

When it comes to America’s place in the world, the top Republican presidential contenders enthusiastically embrace the idea of American exceptionalism. In their debates and speeches, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich emphasize that Americans are a special people, with a special destiny to lead the world. And their prescription for continued global leadership calls for increased defense spending and a muscular worldwide presence to ensure that rivals such as China, Russia or Iran will think twice before defying the United States.

U.S. foreign aid is a small expenditure that yields a huge return (Susan Chandler and Carole Peterson, Honolulu Star Advertiser)

As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, our senior U.S. senator, Dan Inouye, is in the best position to push back on the 20 percent cuts that some members of the House of Representatives have proposed. Hawaii’s people should ask him to do so now, before the Dec. 16 deadline for next year’s budget bill. Cuts could cripple programs that promote international understanding, like the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii, and decrease investments around the world that promote global economic growth.

The politics of partnership (Gregory Adams, Oxfam Blog)

Today, Oxfam releases a new report featuring new research from Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Malawi, and Tanzania, identifying the real challenges donors confront when they trust and support local leaders. We’ll be launching the report on Tuesday with remarks from Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), Ghanaian Member of Parliament Albert Kan-Dapaah, health activist Martha Kwataine from Malawi, and businessman Evans Rweikiza of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation.

Deaths from malaria fall but funding woes loom: WHO (Kate Kelland, The Guardian)

Deaths from malaria have fallen dramatically in the past decade thanks to increased aid giving more people access to nets and medicines, but the economic slowdown could curb future progress, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.

Donor governments stop short of crossing the ‘finish line’ in global health (Kaitlin Christenson, Jim Connolly, and Mel Spigelman, The Hill)

Over the last decade, great progress has been made in developing new global health technologies that show potential to transform the deadliest diseases on earth. This progress has been delivered largely by Product Development Partnerships (PDPs), with critical support from the public, private and philanthropic sectors, which have filled the gap by developing new technologies to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases affecting the world’s most underserved populations.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Short-term spending bill to avoid government shutdown likely (Erik Wasson, The Hill)

The prospect of a short-term spending measure to keep the government operating into next week is becoming more likely. The White House on Tuesday said lawmakers should consider the short-term measure to buy more time for Senate Democrats and House Republicans to negotiate a $1 trillion omnibus bill and a separate tax package the White House wants to boost the economy.

Pausing Counterinsurgency Aid Illustrates Difficulties of Dealing with Pakistan (Sara Sorcher, National Journal)

However, there’s no requirement forcing the Obama administration to actually cut off any funds if the report finds Pakistan’s efforts are lagging — highlighting just how tricky it can be to pressure an ally that supports some counterterrorism operations and serves as a logistics lifeline for U.S. forces in the region.