Pounding the Pavement

March 16, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Today, members of the USGLC, representing organizations ranging from Bread for the World to Boeing, will take to Capitol Hill to personally make the case to more than 70 members of Congress or their staffs that a strong and effective International Affairs Budget is a critical part of national security funding. Also this morning, USAID Administrator Shah and MCC CEO Yohannes will testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This afternoon, President Obama will meet with Administrator Shah in the Oval Office to discuss USAID humanitarian assistance efforts including those in the Middle East, Africa, Haiti, Afghanistan and Pakistan and the disaster assistance being provided to the Japanese government as they respond to the recent major earthquake and tsunami.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Names: Sheba Crocker is the new #2 at State’s Policy Planning shop (Josh Rogin, the Cable)

Sheba Crocker has begun her new role as principal deputy director of the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning, the number two slot behind new Policy Planning Director Jake Sullivan. Crocker was chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and previously worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies as a senior associate with the CSIS Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project.

Smart Power

Petraeus: Taliban momentum halted in Afghanistan, but harder fighting ahead (Karen DeYoung, The Washington Post)

The general expressed concern, however, that “levels of funding for our State Department and [U.S. Agency for International Development] partners will not sufficiently enable them to build on the hard-fought security achievements of our men and women in uniform.” He warned the committee, “Inadequate resourcing of our civilian partners could, in fact, jeopardize accomplishment of the overall mission.”

What Aid Makes Sense for Japan? (Various Authors, Room for Debate series, New York Times)

Japan is the third-largest economy in the world. No country is more technologically advanced, and its people are highly educated and skilled. It was as prepared as any nation could have been for a devastating earthquake and tsunami. But dealing with the human loss, the widespread devastation and the nuclear plant crisis is overwhelming. International assistance of some sort is necessary. What kind of help does Japan need, and what aid would be counterproductive? What can the United States and the rest of the world do to help the country recover?

Politics/Foreign Policy

State: GOP budget cuts would hurt our Libya response (Josh Rogin, The Cable)

Republican proposals for cutting the international affairs budget would harm the U.S. ability to respond to the political changes and humanitarian crises throughout the Arab world, according to two top officials dealing with the issue.

Rebel council seeks to transform Libya (Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met in Paris on Monday night with a member of Libya’s rebel leadership to assess the group’s intentions and capabilities, and she heard from a movement under siege and desperate for international recognition, assistance and a no-fly zone. Gaddafi’s forces are methodically edging toward Benghazi, where the rebels have created a government-in-waiting known as the National Transitional Council.

A regional strategy for democracy in the Middle East (Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington Post)

President Obama has reportedly settled on a country-specific strategy for the Middle East uprisings. Instead of crafting a regional plan, the United States will deal with protests for democracy and freedom in each state on its own terms. This approach is inadequate to both the challenges and the opportunities arising from the political turbulence.