Paris in Springtime

May 25, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Today, Secretary Clinton will be speaking at the 50th annual OECD conference in Paris, France.  According to Undersecretary Hormats, Secretary Clinton will be discussing, among other things, country accountability, sustainable development, tax fairness, and economic development to promote a more prosperous world.  The focus of this year’s OECD conference is on trade and job growth with seminars and panels focusing on green economic growth, new sustainable development paradigms, and expanding trade and job opportunities worldwide.

Must Reads
Who’s In the News

US, Bill Gates call on rich nations to back poor farmers (Karin Zeitvogel – AFP)

Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates joined a top US official Tuesday in urging rich nations to invest in the world’s poor farmers to help end hunger — a move he said would also help improve food security.  “Looking at the food prices we’ve got — at food insecurity and the fact that three-quarters of the world’s poorest people live on small farms — and then at the scientific advances that we can make… it’s critical that we get agricultural research up and get food production up,” Gates told reporters on the sidelines of a forum on agriculture in the developing world.

On his way out, Gates defends aid (Abby Phillip – Politico)

In his “last major policy speech in Washington” on Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates defended sending money to Pakistan, despite continued strains in the country’s relationship with the United States and pressure from Congress to reduce spending and foreign aid.  “I do not think that the money that we have spent in Pakistan has been a waste,” Gates said at the American Enterprise Institute a few weeks before he plans to retire, at the end of June.

Smart Power

The cuts are harder than they look – $7.6 billion harder, in fact (Kerry Young and Emily Cadei – CQ, attached)

Only on Capitol Hill — where numbers flow in and out like the tides — can $23 billion in spending cuts be made to look like $30 billion.

Politics/Foreign Policy
Obama, Cameron predict success in Libya (Julie Pace – AP Newswire)

Predicting success in Libya, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Moammar Gadhafi would ultimately be forced to step down if NATO keeps up its military campaign with the U.S. playing a key role.  “I believe that we have built enough momentum that as long as we sustain the course we’re on, he will step down,” the visiting president said at a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

G-8 leaders to put focus on entrenching democratic movements in Arab nations (AP – The Washington Post)

The leaders of the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Italy and Russia will greet counterparts from Tunisia, Egypt and the head of the Arab League to hash out details of what some are calling a new “Marshall Plan” for these countries, similar to the massive U.S. aid to Europe after World War II that helped the continent rebuild and stave off communism.

Does the Tea Party need a foreign policy? (Marion Smith – the Heritage Foundation)

While many political observers agree that “the great mass of Tea Party America does not seem headed toward a new isolationism,” its silence on foreign policy issues has allowed isolationist voices to speak up for the Tea Party as a whole and to discredit the movement’s relevance to American diplomacy. This isolationist voice could be detrimental to America’s security and is at odds with the principles of America’s founding, from which tea parties rightly gain much inspiration. Tea parties have the opportunity to reject isolationism and advocate the founding principles of America’s indispensible role in the world.

At AIPAC, effort to shift focus back to agenda: Iran, foreign aid, Capitol Hill relationships (Ron Kampeas – JTA)

The lobbying group also was focused on maintaining current levels of aid for Israel at $3 billion a year and, more broadly, of sustaining foreign aid in general. Republicans and Tea Party leaders for the most part have committed themselves to sustaining those levels of assistance but want to slash foreign aid. AIPAC insiders oppose separating Israel aid from the regular foreign assistance package, saying it would undercut friendliness to Israel overseas and make Jews at home vulnerable to claims of special treatment. In a video at the launch of the conference, Ester Kurz, the lobby’s legislative director, made clear that AIPAC’s agenda encompasses all foreign aid. “Foreign aid is only 1 percent of our budget and virtually all of that is spent here at home,” she said.