Today’s Headlines

August 29, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Conversations: Nancy Lindborg ; providing U.S. aid to the Horn of Africa (The Washington Post)
Q: How is USAID spending its $581 million to combat the most urgent problem — southern Somalia’s famine? A: In Somalia, we’re focused on three things, and we’ve spent over $92 million there. We’re providing immediate food assistance, with an emphasis on therapeutic foods [easily digestible food such as peanut paste or high-energy biscuits]. We’re also focused on health and sanitation, as we’re seeing the emergence of cholera and measles. Access to clean water — the ability to reduce mortality with that simple act is mind-boggling. Thirdly, we’re helping families to purchase food. In many parts of Somalia, there is actually some food in the marketplace. We have an $8 million food voucher program where we distribute vouchers that allow families to go to market and buy the food they need.

Mitt Romney on Foreign Aid (YouTube clip, New Hampshire public appearance)
Former Governor Mitt Romney answers a question at a campaign stop, saying “I look at foreign aid through this lens: does it make America stronger?”

Smart Power

Iowan to travel to Africa to see effects of U.S. aid (Jessica Opoien, Des Moines Register)
Teresa Dunbar is flying into a hurricane to reach a famine. She can’t help but wonder, amid canceled flights and rescheduled departures, if she’s crazy for doing this. Dunbar was scheduled to depart for Kenya today, on behalf of Catholic Relief Services and the Des Moines Diocese Global Advocacy Team. She, along with nine other delegates, will visit Nairobi and the Dadaab refugee camp to get a firsthand look at the implementation of United States’ aid and how potential budget cuts might affect aid programming.

To the Shores of Tripoli (Robert Kagen, Weekly Standard)
The common wisdom stemming from the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan is that failure to manage the transition to a new government capable of holding the country together can rapidly turn success into disaster. Presumably the president and his advisers know this. Yet the temptation to run away from Libya as quickly as possible, after a “win” for the president, will be enormous. President Obama needs to resist it.

Politics/Foreign Policy

A lesson of 9/11: Washington can work (Zoe Baird Budinger and Jeffrey H. Smith, Washington Post)
At a time when government seems unable to address our most pressing problems, we are about to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with rare evidence that Washington can work.

Pentagon mulls ways to make major cuts (Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times)
The Pentagon is considering a range of options to meet a bipartisan call to greatly reduce defense spending in what is a “perfect storm” rocking the military’s once-plump budget plans. The Army is looking at taking down combat brigades and ending some targeting and communications systems, and the Navy might delay ship construction and shed sailors.