Today’s Headlines

August 30, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Who’s In the News

Perry offers basics of his foreign policy approach in speech to veterans (Jason Embry, Austin American Statesman)

Gov. Rick Perry told thousands of veterans Monday that American commanders should always lead American forces and said the United States “cannot concede the moral authority of our nation to multilateral debating societies.” Perry spoke to the national Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, giving some of his most extensive remarks on foreign policy since announcing this month that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination.

Huntsman: China’s one-child policy causes instability and sex trafficking (Josh Rogin, The Cable)

China’s one-child policy has caused decades of sex-selective abortions and killing of baby girls that has resulted in over 30 million “unmarriageable” Chinese men, who are causing a rise in instability and sex trafficking, former ambassador and GOP presidential candidate John Huntsman wrote to Washington in a diplomatic cable newly released by WikiLeaks.

Smart Power

The Peace Corps: Is Fifty Years Enough? (Stephen Groff, The Huffington Post)

President Kennedy created the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961 by executive order. On September 22, Congress authorized the agency “to promote world peace and friendship.” setting three goals: to provide trained men and women to work in developing countries; to promote better understanding of Americans; and to promote better understanding of other people by Americans. These goals have guided the Peace Corps over the past fifty years and I count myself and some of my closest friends among the more than 200,000 Americans who have served under them in 139 countries around the world.

Foreign Service worth its expense (Terrence Williamson, Atlanta Journal Constitution)

In more than 25 years as a U.S. diplomat, I spent about half of my career serving abroad from Japan to Panama and Germany to the Ivory Coast, and I have been fortunate to witness the great things our country can do around the world. Our diplomats work to enhance our national and economic security interests by promoting political stability and economic prosperity abroad. We do this at a cost of slightly more than 1 percent of the entire federal budget — in fact, my colleagues in the Foreign Service and I barely could staff one aircraft carrier.

Drought not the real cause of East Africa famine (Thomas Keneally, CNN)

In Southern Somalia, Djibouti, parts of Ethiopia and in refugee camps in Kenya at the moment, up to 12 million people, basically half a Canada, are facing death. In Somalia, the people already in crisis number about four million. Mothers, for example, are again making the Sophie’s choice of how to share the small resources of remaining food amongst their children. And the tired old terms to explain it all are again repeated. The cause, we are told, is drought. The “caused by drought” formula is not only lazy journalism. We’ve heard that song sung so often in the past that it may now make us immune to the famine’s claim on us.

East African refugees to get donkey aid (Carolyn Dunn, CBC News)

The cost of transporting supplies from the distribution point back to a shelter is often out of reach for refugees in Dadaab, Kenya. The aid agency CARE is launching a program to pay donkey drivers so refugees won’t have to. The cost of transporting supplies from the distribution point back to a shelter is often out of reach for refugees in Dadaab, Kenya. The aid agency CARE is launching a program to pay donkey drivers so refugees won’t have to. An aid organization will soon pay for donkeys to carry supplies in Dadaab, Kenya, hoping it will make a big difference to people who trekked to the world’s biggest refugee camp for food, water and shelter.

Reducing waste in wartime contracts (Christopher Shays and Michael Thibault, Washington Post)

At least one in every six dollars of U.S. spending for contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, or more than $30 billion, has been wasted. And at least that much could again turn into waste if the host governments are unable or unwilling to sustain U.S.-funded projects after our involvement ends. Those sobering but conservative numbers are a key finding of the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will submit its report to Congress on Wednesday. All eight commissioners agree that major changes in law and policy are needed to avoid confusion and waste in the next contingency, whether it involves armed struggle overseas or response to disasters at home.

Family planning as a pro-life cause (Michael Gerson, Washington Post)

BWEREMANA, Democratic Republic of the Congo – In this part of Congo, the complications of childbirth are as dangerous as the militias in the countryside. One woman I met had given birth to 13 children, only six of whom survived. Women sometimes deliver in the fields while working. Medical help can be a few days’ journey away. Each birth raises the odds of a hemorrhage, infection or rupture. Those odds increase dramatically when births come early in life, or late in life, or in rapid succession. In Congo, almost one in five deaths of women during childbearing years is due to maternal causes.