Speaking Out from South Carolina

August 26, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

A bipartisan pair of South Carolina State Legislators, both military veterans, wrote a strong opinion editorial in The State newspaper yesterday. State Reps. James Smith and Jim Harrison wrote that “As former active-duty service members and current state legislators representing different parties, we have personally seen the impact foreign aid can have in places such as Haiti, Bosnia and Afghanistan, and we add our voices to those calling for it to remain a top priority in our national security plan.”

Must Reads

USGLC In the News

Foreign aid a good investment in U.S. security (Jim Harrison and James Smith, the State)

There’s more than enough that divides us in Washington, but there is one crucial public policy principle that the past seven secretaries of state, more than 50 retired three- and four-star generals and both Democrats and Republicans can agree on: By supporting U.S. foreign aid, the United States can help stop the spread of terrorism, help bring stability to those countries that are in our strategic national interest and help advance U.S. national security in a cost-effective manner.

Who’s In the News

10 Things You Should Know About the State Department and USAID (Thomas Nides, Huffington Post)

Do you ever wonder what the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) do every day and what it means for you? In the eight months since I joined the State Department, I’ve learned firsthand about the important and wide ranging work done by the women and men who work here and around the world to enhance our national and economic security. We help train the Mexican National Police forces who battle violent drug gangs just south of our border and serve alongside our military in Iraq and Afghanistan. We negotiate trade agreements and promote U.S. exports by reducing barriers to commerce.

Why Libya sceptics were proved badly wrong (Anne-Marie Slaughter, Financial Times)

Let us do a thought experiment. Imagine the UN did not vote to authorise the use of force in Libya in March. Nato did nothing; Colonel Muammer Gaddafi over-ran Benghazi; the US stood by; the Libyan opposition was reduced to sporadic uprisings, quickly crushed. The regimes in Yemen and Syria took note, and put down their own uprisings with greater vigour. The west let brutality and oppression triumph again in the Middle East.

Smart Power

Emerging economies: At the weigh-in (Economist video)

New video illustrating how the emerging economies now have more heft and reach than the developed ones.

Libya’s lesson points toward US ‘smart’ power (Bangor Daily News Editorial)

Even if rebels can hold Libya’s capital city of Tripoli and Moammar Gadhafi leaves the country he has led for 40-plus years, U.S. and NATO military involvement cannot necessarily be declared a success. That chapter will be written only after — and only if — Libyans can form a strong but open government.

Budget cuts threaten lives abroad and the economy at home (Christopher J. Elias, MFAN Blog)

As the president and CEO of PATH, a nonprofit organization that helps to improve the health of some of the world’s poorest people, I am deeply concerned about the drastic cuts to global health funding proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives for the fiscal year 2012 budget. In the 70 countries where PATH works, we see firsthand the benefits of the leadership role that the U.S. government plays in global health not only in terms of lives saved abroad, but also in relation to U.S. diplomacy efforts and the U.S. economy. We recognize that the success of global health, as well as every other development sector, depends on the stability of the international affairs budget overall.

Politics/Foreign Policy

In helping Afghanistan build up its security forces, U.S. is trimming the frills (Joshua Partlow, Washington Post) That’s because Caldwell is tasked with making the Afghan army and police capable of holding off the Taliban — but in a way the United States can afford. Growing political concern in the United States over the high cost of the American mission has made for a blunt new imperative: The Afghan security forces, which cost the United States $11.6 billion this year, need to get cheaper — fast.

Blast Hits U.N. Building in Nigeria (Senan Murray, New York Times)

A huge explosion rocked the main United Nations building in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, on Friday, sending billows of smoke over the area and spreading panic among citizens. News agency reports quoted witnesses as saying the blast had been the result of a suicide car-bomber’s attack, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility and the police declined to confirm those reports.