May 18, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Yesterday, the USGLC was on the road in Columbus, Ohio, hosting a lunch for nearly 80 top military, business and community leaders. Keynoted by Lt. Gen. Daniel Christman, the afternoon discussion focused on both the national security and the economic importance of a strong and effective International Affairs Budget.  When it comes to the importance of our civilian-led tools in today’s complex and dangerous world, Christman said “what is increasingly recognized is that you can’t do it with boots on the ground alone. Smart Power complements boots on the ground with diplomats and with development.” He also discussed the critical economic importance of international trade and exports, especially for a state like Ohio, noting, “We have roughly 50 million American workers, which comprises almost 40 percent of our labor force, that is directly or indirectly associated with companies that engage with overseas markets.”

Must Reads

USGLC In the News

Investment could be ‘Smart’ move for Ohio (Gordon Gantt – The Lantern)

The federal government allocates only 1.4 percent to the international affairs budget, but the international relationships cultivated through that investment have an impact in Ohio and for students at Ohio State, said retired Lieutenant General Daniel W. Christman on Tuesday.

Who’s In the News

Jones rekindles foreign aid debate (Abby Phillip – Politico)

Nearly 64 years after Harry Truman laid out the case for reconstructing Europe’s economies, in a speech that became known as the Marshall Plan, few diplomatic, economic and foreign policy accomplishments have garnered such residual feelings of goodwill and accomplishment in the United States.  Now, days ahead of President Obama’s major address on the Middle East, former national security adviser Jim Jones, a well-respected voice in foreign policy circles, is suggesting that his vision should include a new Marshall Plan for emerging democracies.

Smart Power

Under Scrutiny, Pakistan Aid Has Its Defenders (Emily Cadei, CQ )

Even though several Senate veterans called on the Obama administration Tuesday to reconsider any further security aid to Pakistan, leading House members have signaled that they are prepared to defend those funds. Five Democratic senators wrote a letter Tuesday to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates calling for a full reassessment of Pakistan’s cooperation before delivering additional aid.

Five ways foreign aid could cost less while doing more (Ezra Klein – the Washington Post)

When it comes to the budget, nothing gets a rawer deal than foreign aid. Americans think foreign aid accounts for up to a quarter of our total spending when it should only be a tenth. In reality, it’s less than 1 percent of the federal budget. But even though we’re actually spending less than Americans think we should, the perception that we massively overspend makes it easier for politicians to slash foreign aid whenever they need to make some budget cuts.

Politics/Foreign Policy
‘Gang of Six’ on verge of collapse as Senator Coburn withdraws (Philip Rucker and Lori Montgomery – the Washington Post)

Since January, six senators have engaged in difficult negotiations and made painful concessions in a politically dangerous quest for something that has long eluded Washington: a bipartisan compromise to control the nation’s mounting debt.  By Tuesday evening, however, the “Gang of Six” was on the verge of collapse. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) withdrew from the bipartisan working group, saying the senators simply could not overcome the polarizing political pressure that each faces. The group’s two other Republicans said it would be hard to continue without Coburn.

Dems: Pakistan must go after Haqqani network if they want our money (Josh Rogin – The Cable blog)

Kerry gave a long readout of his trip to all Democratic senators on Tuesday at their weekly caucus lunch meeting, after which multiple Democratic senators reported they were more determined than ever to use foreign aid as leverage to pressure Islamabad to go after America’s enemies living in their midst.

Abandoning Pakistan: Can China fill the vacuum? (Franz-Stefan Gady – Huffington Post)

With the recent killing of Osama bin Laden and the uncertainty of Pakistan’s role, some U.S. lawmakers questioned the wisdom of continuing the multi-billion dollar civilian and military aid program to Pakistan. Amidst a struggling economy, high unemployment and global commitments, could the United States cut its aid and let China fill the vacuum?

Five reasons to leave Afghanistan (Anne Penketh – The Hill)

The death of Osama Bin Laden in a Navy SEALs strike deep inside Pakistan has focused new attention on the administration’s strategy in Afghanistan, which aims to enable a troop drawdown from July. Here are five reasons why President Obama should consider pulling out the 100,000 troops in Afghanistan now.