Today in Washington – Monday, October 4, 2010
2:00PM: President Obama meets with the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board
The Daily GAB
Over the weekend The Atlantic took a look at the USGLC’s new military poll, which among other things shows that “89 percent of active duty and retired officers believe it’s crucial to emphasize development and diplomacy initiatives in addition to military strength.” National Security Advisory Council member Admiral James Loy, USCG (Ret) was also on C-Span to emphasize the poll results and stress the importance of elevating diplomacy and development alongside a strong defense. And Defense News anchor Vago Muradian profiled the poll in his closing segment yesterday – watch the video here.
USGLC in the News
Military Officers Call for More Foreign Aid (Elizabeth Weingarten – The Atlantic)
Earlier in the week, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) released a poll that surveyed active duty and retired military officers for their views on non-military, development based foreign aid. The participants said, among other things, that keeping America safe shouldn’t just be a job for the military: National security is about development and humanitarianism, too. The poll reveals a shifting mentality within the typically gun-ho U.S. military that began with the 2006 “surge” in Iraq. According to the report, 89 percent of active duty and retired officers believe it’s crucial to emphasize development and diplomacy initiatives in addition to military strength. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed cited the importance of non-military programs, like food assistance and health, education and economic-based development plans, as “fairly important” or “very important” in “achieving the country’s national security objectives.”
Who’s In the News
Will Obama’s foreign policy follow his new democracy rhetoric? (Fred Hiatt – Washington Post)
As President Obama is about to embark on a major tour of Asia, it is important that the President back up his rhetoric on democracy building with real action. While the United States has made real progress with countries such as South Korea, Indonesia, and Japan on developing democracies, other countries such as Brazil, and India are still a work in progress. At the heart of the issue for the United States is the need for these countries to promote democracy not only within their country, but with the countries around them. Though Brazil and India are developing democracy within their own countries, their partnerships with the dictatorships in Burma and Venezuela only stymie U.S. interests within their respective regions. While the President’s promotion of democracy is important, his words will only matter if he can back them up.
Names: Lynne Weil from USAID to State (Josh Rogin – Foreign Policy)
The head of public affairs at the U.S. Agency for International Development leaves the agency today to join the public diplomacy shop in Foggy Bottom. Lynne Weil, who started as the top communications staffer for USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah in March, turns over the press shop to her deputy Lars Anderson, who is also in charge of communications matters involving Afghanistan and Pakistan. No word yet if Anderson will get the job permanently or if Shah will seek a full time replacement for Weil.
Pound-foolish on national security (Michael Gerson – Washington Post)
A month ago, with much fanfare and relief, President Obama announced that American involvement in Iraq was entering a post-military phase. “Our dedicated civilians – diplomats, aid workers and advisers – are moving into the lead to support Iraq,” the president said. The State Department would begin taking over training and capacity-building roles previously performed by the Defense Department, in preparation for the departure of all American troops by the end of next year. This phase of the Iraq war was dubbed “New Dawn.” Congress has responded to this strategy by cutting funds for civilian efforts in Iraq in ways that may undermine hard-won achievements and endanger American lives. Resources were reduced in the 2010 supplemental spending bill and slashed by the Senate Appropriations Committee in the 2011 budget. This week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates — in a rare instance of one Cabinet secretary fighting for another department’s funding – responded: “The Congress took a huge whack at the budget the State Department submitted for this process of transition. And it is one of these cases where, having invested an enormous amount of money [in the war], we are now arguing about a tiny amount of money, in terms of bringing this to a successful conclusion.”
America: Once engaged, now ready to lead (Robert Kagan – Washington Post)
Almost two years into the Obama presidency, there is a discernible shift in the administration’s foreign policy. If Phase One was about repairing America’s image around the world by showing a friendlier face to everyone, especially adversaries, Phase Two will be about wielding renewed American influence, even if it means challenging some and disappointing others. If Phase One was about “resetting” relations with great powers, especially Russia and China, Phase Two will be about discovering the limits of reset and taking a harder line when we disagree. If Phase One placed more emphasis on great-power cooperation and the nebulous concept of a “G-20 world,” Phase Two will be built around core U.S. alliances with democratic nations. If Phase One was focused on being Not Bush, Phase Two will be about shedding that self-imposed straitjacket and pursuing traditional American interests and principles even if George W. Bush pursued them, too.
The UN Thinks the End Is in Sight in Afghanistan (Stephen Schlesinger – Huffington Post)
There may be a dim, but brightening, beacon, at the end of the Afghan tunnel. At least that’s what the UN’s emissary to Afghan conflict, Staffan de Mistura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan, conveyed to a group at a private meeting held by the UN’s International Peace Institute in New York City last Thursday September 30th. Mr. De Mistura, a distinguished 38 year career official of the organization who is in his seventh month in Kabul, said that, while the Taliban have never admitted it, he believes they have concluded that they cannot win the war militarily. This may be a self-serving message for a UN official to transmit, but De Mistura, a dual citizen of Italy and Sweden, is considered one of the UN’s star diplomats and would not necessarily wish to place the organization in the position of claiming progress if they was none.
Who’s In? (Editorial – New York Times)
As the global economic balance shifts, the United States and other of the post-World War II powers say they’re ready to make room. The Group of 8 rich countries ceded to the Group of 20, where the interests of Germany and France must vie with those of India. Despite that, the maneuvering before this week’s meetings of the International Monetary Fund suggest that the big players may not be as ready as they claim. The I.M.F. is not as significant as it was 50 years ago, when it policed a system of fixed exchange rates. It still has a major role to play, with hundreds of billions to prop up countries that run into financial trouble. Developing countries — which have long resented the fund’s demands that they open up their markets — are eager to have more of a say in its deliberations.