The Passing of a Giant

March 21, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

The Daily GAB

President Obama is in South America this week on an official visit to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador. In each country, the President will focus on economic opportunities and job creation, an important goal for the U.S. in the region. Programs funded by the International Affairs Budget have helped make Latin America one of the most important export markets for American goods and services, as well as combated the threats in the region from narcotics trafficking and transnational crime. American engagement in the region has supported greater competiveness and economic opportunity through programs such as the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas and existing free trade agreements.  Members of Congress have also left Washington and returned to their home districts for a week of work.  The USGLC is also saddened by the passing of former Secretary of State Warren Christopher.  He was a trusted advisor and friend of the USGLC for many years, and we will miss his wise advice and counsel.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Warren Christopher, U.S. negotiator, dies at 85 (Reuters)

Christopher “passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at his home in Los Angeles” late on Friday of complications from kidney and bladder cancer, his family said in a statement. As the top U.S. statesman under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997, Christopher was a behind-the-scenes negotiator. Often called the “stealth” secretary of state, he was known for his understated, self-effacing manner.

USAID’s Ruth Levine Moving to Hewlett Foundation (Eliza Villarino, DEVEX)

Ruth Levine is leaving the U.S. Agency for International Development to oversee the new integrated program of global development and population at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Levine, USAID’s deputy assistant administrator for policy, planning and learning, is one of several former senior fellows at the Center for Global Development who assumed key development-related positions in the Obama administration in 2010.

Smart Power

Rich countries don’t need our aid, they say. Don’t believe it (Paul Vallely, the Independent)

Do not give money to help victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Japan is rich and doesn’t need your money. Or so a number of controversialists have begun to claim, in forums as respectable as Reuters and The New York Times. But does this make any sense?

NATO Needs Better Nonmilitary Options (Stanley Sloan, Defense News)

Against the backdrop of a decade of Western intervention in Afghanistan, the ongoing turmoil in the Arab world makes it clear the U.S. and its allies desperately need better coordination of their nonmilitary responses to security challenges.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Money talks for UN reforms to happen (Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Miami Herald)

Current events at the United Nations are demonstrating again the failures of that organization and the need for reform. One striking example is the UN Human Rights Council, which is set to soon pass several more anti-Israel resolutions, on top of 33 such measures passed by the Council in the past five years.

Libya crisis: military intervention can help development (Jonathan Glennie, the Guardian)

Much has been written about military intervention in Libya, both in the lead-up to it and now that it is underway. No one knows how the complexities of this particular situation will play out. But there are two things worth adding from a specifically developmental perspective.

Is the UN More Important Than Congress? (Michael Rubin, Commentary)

When the president spoke after the UN Security Council passed a resolution against Libya, he emphasized the triumph of multilateralism. “The United States is prepared to act as part of an international coalition,” the president said. “American leadership is essential, but that does not mean acting alone — it means shaping the conditions for the international community to act together,” he explained.