On the Road Again

January 13, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Secretary of State Clinton has spent the week in the Middle East, traveling to the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Yemen. The Secretary put a key focus on civil society, hosting a town hall meeting with Omani citizens and leaders. She also met with heads of state, including Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh  and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani and conducted various media interviews with international news outlets. Her unannounced visit to Yemen also put the spotlight on national security issues, and cooperation between the United States and Yemen in combating terrorism.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News
House foreign affairs chair: Haiti needs leaders
(Jennifer Kay, AP)

Real recovery and development in Haiti depends on accountability and strong leadership by the Caribbean country’s government, the new chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Tuesday.  Ros-Lehtinen said future U.S. and international support for Haiti depends on concrete efforts to curb corruption and graft. The congresswoman said she planned to reintroduce legislation to increase oversight of U.S. funding to Haiti.

Clinton Bluntly Presses Arab Leaders on Reform (Mark Landler, New York Times)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a scalding critique of Arab leaders here on Thursday, saying they badly needed reforms to jump-start their economies and overcome dwindling natural resources, or risk having extremists take root in their societies.

Smart Power
Please Read This
(Rich Galen blog post)

I have been in Kenya since Saturday night on a trip sponsored by the ONE Campaign. The Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy here, Lee Brudvig, gave us another good reason to maintain these programs: At their relatively modest costs, they help keep anti-American rabble-rousing at bay because the very people who are most directly affected by these programs tend to be the poorest and thus, the most fertile ground for terrorist recruitment.

Doing Things Differently in Haiti (Mark Feierstein, Huffington Post)

Today, the United States, other donors and our NGOs partners are doing things differently. We are coordinating our efforts, mobilizing private sector expertise and working closely with the government through the entity charged with overseeing the reconstruction, the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission.

A Year Later, Haiti Still Struggles (Joel Dreyfuss, NPR)

No doubt, many of the NGOs saved lives and provided badly needed care. But their efforts are uncoordinated and often at cross-purposes with government policies. For example, the flood of volunteer doctors providing free emergency care has forced several Haitian hospitals into bankruptcy, weakening an already fragile medical ecosystem. Thousands of organizations, many of them well-meaning, have toiled in Haiti in recent decades; they have made little discernible difference in the lives of most Haitians.

Politics/Foreign Policy
Republicans eye a return to George. W. Bush’s budget
(David Rogers, Politico)

To the surprise of even themselves, the Republicans’ battle cry in the budget wars this year comes down more and more to one refrain: “Bring back Bush.”Already, George W. Bush’s signature high-end tax cuts — once opposed by the current White House — have been extended through the life of President Barack Obama’s first term. And having blocked a bipartisan compromise, Republicans now want Obama to roll back domestic appropriations to the 2008 levels set in a Christmas omnibus bill three years ago — truly the last major budget measure of the Bush presidency.

Bill would propose a 10 percent cut in the federal workforce (Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post)

Rep. Kevin Brady’s bill, the Cut Unsustainable and Top-heavy Spending (CUTS) Act is the first detailed series of spending proposals introduced in the GOP-controlled House that targets government operations and the federal workforce. The bill contains a 10% reduction in funding in foreign aid for development and humanitarian purposes.