Live from the Reagan Library

August 24, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Last night, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivered a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. In a follow-up interview with Sean Hannity of FOX News, Senator Rubio said “The role of America, one of the most important roles we play, is just to be an example to the world that you can have both prosperity and still be a compassionate country.”  Rubio will deliver a speech September 12th at the Jesse Helms Center on the role of America in the world today.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Rubio courts establishment GOPers (Scott Wong, Politico)

It might look like tea party hero Marco Rubio waded into enemy territory with stops in San Francisco and Beverly Hills this week. But rubbing shoulders with a different crowd is the point of the freshman senator’s three-day swing through the Golden State. The Florida Republican is out to prove he can appeal beyond the activist base, introducing himself to the state’s political and corporate elite, raising cash for his party from some of George W. Bush’s top donors, and paying homage to one of Republicans’ most venerable icons — Ronald Reagan.

Smart Power

Congress could resist additional aid to Libya (Theo Emery, Boston Globe)

Foreign policy experts say the immediate aftermath of an uprising is a crucial moment when support – whether technical or financial — needs to be extended to the government as it is formed. But such support for Libya could face hurdles in Congress, where many House members have been hostile to US involvement. Senator John F. Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a supporter of efforts to topple Khadafy, said that technical assistance and training, and not money, will probably be Libya’s greatest need after a new government is in place.

African leaders to pledge funds for Horn drought crisis (AFP)

African leaders will meet Thursday to pledge funds to tackle the famine in Somalia and extreme drought across the Horn of Africa which are putting millions of people at risk of starvation. African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping will appeal to the continents’ leaders and the international community to assist more than 12 million drought-hit people in the region, during a pledging conference in the Ethiopian capital. “(I) wish to make this clarion call to all Africans to . . . act out against hunger by providing both cash and in-kind support for urgent life-saving assistance to our brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa,” Ping said in a statement.

In Afghan fight, U.S. takes to the airwaves (Kevin Sieff, Washington Post)

In this rugged province where news travels almost exclusively by radio, the man who calls himself DJ Abed Lawang is one of the biggest names on the airwaves, known for playing hit Pashto ballads, telling jokes and hosting a popular call-in show about farming practices. But there’s one key fact the disc jockey has never told his listeners: He is broadcasting from a studio on a U.S. Army base, delivering messages authored by American military officers. He is one of more than 20 radio DJs in Paktika Province, and dozens more across the country, engaged in what the U.S. military considers a crucial operation — convincing residents in an area dominated by insurgents to embrace Afghan and NATO forces.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Libyan opposition leaders prepare for transition (Leila Fadel and Joby Warrick, Washington Post)

With rebel fighters celebrating in the streets of Tripoli on Tuesday, opposition leaders in this eastern Libyan city now face tough questions about how they will guide the country through what is expected to be a tumultuous transition. Some observers have begun to question whether the rebels — ostensibly led by the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council — are up to the task of restarting a failed economy after six months of war, restoring peace, and assuring Libyans and foreign benefactors that they are capable of leading the country.

Is Robert Ford trying to get thrown out of Syria? (Josh Rogin, The Cable)

U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford went on another trip outside Damascus to view the anti-government protests on Tuesday, this time in direct violation of travel restrictions placed on him by the Assad regime. “Ambassador Ford went down to Jassem, which is about 70 kilometers south of Damascus, to see for himself what was up there,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at today’s press briefing. “This has been another town that has been engaged in peaceful protest. He was there for about four hours. He had a chance there to talk to a number of Syrians, including those in the opposition, and then he drove back to Damascus.”