West Pledges Continued Support to Afghanistan (Anne Gearan, Associated Press)
The United States and other nations vowed Monday to keep supporting Afghanistan after most foreign forces leave the country in 2014, as the nation faces an enduring Taliban-led insurgency and possible financial collapse. “The United States is prepared to stand with the Afghan people for the long haul,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a global conference on Afghanistan’s future that was overshadowed by the absence of key regional player Pakistan. Although donor nations will not commit to specific figures at the one-day session Monday, they will sign up to the principle that economic and other advances in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban government in 2001 should be safeguarded with continued funding.
Foreign aid keeps us safe (Jeff Danovich, The Baltimore Sun)
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who wants to make our country less secure. However, many members of Congress would like to see cuts made to our international development budget, which would unquestionably harm the United States’ overall security. As an Iraq War veteran — and a civil affairs operator specifically — I have seen for myself how international development keeps all of us safe. At just over 1 percent of our overall budget — much less than what most Americans think we spend on foreign assistance — this combination is the most cost-effective way to keep us secure. Putting more resources into international development, if done correctly, would not add anything to our deficit. In fact, it would save us billions of dollars over the long run in wars that would not have to be fought. It would also save our most precious of resources: American lives.
US breach with Pakistan shows imbalance between diplomatic, security goals (Karen DeYoung and Karin Brulliard, Washington Post)
The State Department has long smarted over the preeminence of military and intelligence priorities, which seems to leave diplomacy in a distant third place. The result, diplomats say, is that there is little goodwill to cushion blows such as the U.S. airstrike last month that left two dozen Pakistani soldiers dead along the Afghanistan border. Many of [Secretary]Clinton’s diplomatic troops see the border clash as the latest example of a disconnect between what one State Department official called short-term security objectives and long-term diplomatic goals.