Sen. Graham on U.S. Leadership

August 23, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

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Who’s In the News

U.S. should spend more on foreign aid, Graham says (Adam Beam, The State)
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham on Monday called on the U.S. government to send more money to Middle East countries in turmoil to push them toward democracy. Speaking to the Columbia Rotary Club, Graham — the ranking Republican on a Senate foreign policy subcommittee — said he is working on a $1 billion package of aid for Egypt before that country’s November elections.  “Foreign aid is a very complicated, controversial topic, particularly when you’re broke. But … it is good for the American people and the American government to reach out and help those who live in peace with us. “Find me an example where two democracies went to war,” he added. “Democracies have a way, through the rule of law, of working out their problems.”

Fla. Sen. Rubio to speak at Reagan’s presidential library (Erika Bolstad, McClatchy)
Rubio will officially be someone to watch on Tuesday, when he travels to California for his first major speech outside of Florida or the U.S. Senate — as well as some fundraising for his just-launched political action committee. He’s expected to expound on a familiar theme of his own and Reagan’s at the former president’s library: the role of government in America. In that speech, he’s expected to focus on America’s role in the world — a speech expected to set him apart from some of his more isolationist colleagues who also came to the Senate with tea party backing.

Granger: Aid to Egypt depends on peace with Israel (Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post)
Washington’s $2 billion in annual aid to Egypt will be cut off if Cairo backs out of the peace treaty with Israel, Congresswoman Kay Granger – whose job as chairwoman of the US House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee means she literally writes America’s annual foreign aid bill – told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Shaheen: No fears about creation of a strong Afghan security force (John T. Bennett, The Hill)
U.S. and NATO officials will not regret creating a highly functional Afghanistan security force — even as most other parts of that government appear mostly dysfunctional, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said Monday. Obama administration and NATO leaders for the last year have repeatedly said the biggest key to U.S. and alliance forces being withdrawn by a 2014 objective is a highly capable Afghanistan security apparatus that can keep the peace and prevent extremist groups from returning.

Smart Power

Putting food security on a path towards resilience (Lloyd Le Page, Reuters)
The Horn of Africa is facing its worst drought in over half a century, and nearly five million people face starvation. We have little control over the political factors responsible for the terrible tragedies that play across our television screens and on the front pages of the world’s newspapers. But what can the world do to prevent the scale and toll in lives that makes this story news? How can we build agricultural systems resilient enough to absorb environmental shocks?

The Rugged Altruists (David Brooks, New York Times)
As you talk to people involved in the foreign aid business — on the giving and the receiving ends — you are struck by how much disillusionment there is. Rye Barcott was a student at the University of North Carolina who spent a summer sharing a 10-by-10 shack in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya. One night he awoke with diarrhea and stumbled to the public outhouse. He slid onto the cement floor and vomited as his bare body hit puddles of human waste.

What’s the right price tag for Pakistani minds and hearts? (Walter Pincus, Washington Post)
What does Washington do when a recent Pew Global Attitudes poll shows that only 12 percent of Pakistanis interviewed responded “favorable” when asked, “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the U.S.?” The Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, gave its response on Aug. 10. The BBG issued a solicitation notice that said it was seeking a contractor with Pakistan television connections (actually, it said in bureaucratic lingo that it “requires a contractor to have an established footprint in Pakistan’s television market”).

Rebuilding Libya (Barak Barfi, CNN)
The NTC faces a number of economic dilemmas as well. Before the revolution, Libya produced nearly 1.6 million barrels of oil per day, accounting for 96% of the country’s export earnings. But, since February, the taps have run dry, owing to disruption and damage to the oil infrastructure. In the interim, the NTC has largely survived on international aid and from the unfreezing of Libyan assets by foreign governments. But these funds have been unable to fuel the economy of rebel-controlled territories. Libyans complain that they have not been paid their monthly salaries. Nightly power outages have left many in the dark in cities like Tobruk, and even the rebel capital of Benghazi has experienced sporadic electricity cuts.

How to prepare Afghanistan for U.S. withdrawal (John Podesta, Brian Katulis, and Caroline Wadhams, The Washington Post) Third, the United States must more effectively use its leverage to encourage political and economic reforms. The strategic partnership agreement under negotiation offers an opportunity to clarify U.S. and Afghan objectives and to provide minimum conditions for ongoing U.S. support. The United States should establish within that agreement specific reforms required by the Afghans in return for continued assistance to the Afghan government and its National Security Forces. But as this security transition occurs we need to accelerate our efforts to help Afghanistan strengthen its political institutions, power-sharing arrangements and economic foundations to make sure the country will be able stand on its own.