State-Defense Dialogue

August 16, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will come together this morning for a televised conversation at National Defense University, moderated by Frank Sesno of George Washington University. We’ll be watching to hear their thoughts on the current budget situation and the importance of using both civilian and military tools to keep our nation safe.  To watch a live stream of today’s event, visit or .

Must Reads

Who’s In the News
U.S. ambassador to Brazil called back to oversee the Foreign Service (Josh Rogin, the Cable)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is temporarily bringing back U.S. ambassador to Brazil Tom Shannon to serve as acting undersecretary of state for political affairs while the State Department awaits the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominee for the post, Wendy Sherman.

Problems Will Be Global — And Solutions Will Be, Too (Anne-Marie Slaughter, Foreign Policy)

For starters, the world will be much more multilateral. By 2025 the U.N. Security Council will have expanded from the present 15 members to between 25 and 30 and will include, either as de jure or de facto permanent members, Brazil, India, Japan, South Africa, either Egypt or Nigeria, and either Indonesia or Turkey. At the same time, regional organizations on every continent — the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, some version of the Organization of American States — will be much stronger. Each will follow its own version of economic and political integration, inspired by the European Union, and many will include representation from smaller subregional organizations. In the Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey could provide the core of a new Middle East free trade area; alternatively the European Union could be interlocked with an emerging Mediterranean Union.

 Smart Power
Following Through on Reforms (Porter McConnell, Oxfam America)
The OECD and international aid donors recently released a peer review on U.S. aid. Their verdict: reforms are great on paper, but they’re not yet delivering for poor people. The review highlights new U.S. policies – the PPD, the QDDR and USAID Forward – that commit the U.S. to a coherent approach. But, fragmentation remains a huge problem.

African famine shows need for smarter food policy (Chicago Tribune Editorial)
With the stock market gyrating, unemployment a constant worry and housing in a depression, Americans hardly can be blamed for ignoring East Africa. Yet Americans must not ignore the humanitarian disaster unfolding among some of the world’s neediest citizens. An estimated 12 million people require immediate emergency assistance to survive. Belatedly, the U.S. has stepped up its efforts to deliver food and provide simple health care. That will make a life-and-death difference, and our compassionate nation has no choice but to act. Going forward, however, what’s needed most is a sensible global food policy.

Foreign Aid Stirs Debate Amid Egypt’s Democratic Hopes (David Arnold, Voice of America)
In Washington, members of Congress will return to work in early September and attempt to determine 2012 foreign aid packages for dozens of countries. What Congress decides to give Egypt next year could determine whether the country remains an ally. U.S. lawmakers will likely have to decide on Egypt’s foreign aid package long before the Egypt’s parliamentary elections, planned for November, and long before anyone knows who will prevail: Islamists or any of the dozens of new political parties that have sprouted up.

Somalia famine aid stolen; UN investigating (Katharine Houreld, AP)

Thousands of sacks of food aid meant for Somalia’s famine victims have been stolen and are being sold at markets in the same neighborhoods where skeletal children in filthy refugee camps can’t find enough to eat, an Associated Press investigation has found. The U.N.’s World Food Program for the first time acknowledged it has been investigating food theft in Somalia for two months. The WFP said that the “scale and intensity” of the famine crisis does not allow for a suspension of assistance, saying that doing so would lead to “many unnecessary deaths.”

Politics/Foreign Policy
The Phantom Menace (Daniel Byman and Charles King, New York Times)
The 2008 war demonstrated the explosive potential created by the presence of phantom states: places that field military forces, hold elections, build local economies and educate children, yet inhabit the foggy netherworld between de facto existence and international legitimacy.