Today’s Headlines

September 2, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Nides: We don’t want to fight DOD for money, but we might have to (Josh Rogin, the Cable)

Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides said yesterday that the State Department doesn’t want to get into a budget battle with the Pentagon over funding, but that he’s aware that dwindling national security funding may make competition inevitable. “We at State and USAID are not trying to rob the Pentagon to pay ourselves,” Nides said in a speech at the Center for American Progress. “As everyone knows, we’re facing the process of major budget cuts. These cuts could be the most significant we have had in two decades, and they could have a devastating impact on the work that we do.”

Smart Power

In Africa, U.S. Watches China’s Rise (Peter Wonacott, Wall Street Journal)

China is expanding its economic and political ties with countries across Africa, resulting in a rapid rise in influence here that has sparked concern from the U.S. government. Beijing’s investment and aid to African countries aims to tap both natural resources and a growing middle class. As China burrows into local economies, leaders from South Africa to Ethiopia have been touting its model for development—one that stresses state-led growth, validates tight-fisted political control and offers a powerful counterpoint to the free-market democracy mantra promoted by the U.S.

Smarter National-Security Spending: What a Concept (Mark Thompson, Time Magazine)

The nation’s approach to national security is warped by the way the different pieces of it — military, diplomatic, economic, development — are funded. When you speak to officers serving in Afghanistan, they bemoan the lack of civilian help the U.S. (and its allies) provide: most will take an agricultural expert over an artilleryman any day of the week.

Education aid enhances U.S. security, prosperity (Beth Wachira, Houston Chronicle)

Why should we give money for foreign aid? The benefits of education in Kenya affect the lives of citizens of Houston, especially because it is a port city. Education in the countries of the developing world increases the economic well-being of those countries, and also increases their consumption of U.S. exports. This has already started to happen, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that developing countries are now purchasing more than half of all U.S. exports. The Chamber pointed out that the number of jobs in the U.S. will increase as developing countries get in a position to buy even more U.S. products. Improving education in Kenya increases jobs in Houston.

For Refugees, the Price of Dignity (Tina Rosenberg, New York Times)

Somalia is now suffering its worst drought in 60 years. A quarter of the population has fled famine and conflict, heading west into Kenya. More than 1,300 people a day stream into the complex of refugee camps at Dadaab, Kenya, which is now housing more than 430,000 people in camps designed for 90,000. Many Somalis arrive near death after journeys of weeks with little food. Large numbers of them are children, often without parents.

Bishops to Super Committee: Treatment of Jobless, Hungry and Homeless Is Moral Measure of Deficit Reduction (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction meets to address the issue of long term budget deficit reduction, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote to them “We especially fear the costs of undermining poverty-focused international assistance, which is an essential tool to promote human life and dignity, advance solidarity with poorer nations, and enhance global security.“

Effects of the East African Famine (Meredith C. Baker, the Harvard Crimson)

Last January, I traveled with three other Harvard students and a University of Texas student to Wema Children’s Centre in western Kenya to help the orphanage stay afloat. Already barely scraping by, the orphanage directors worked two jobs to ensure that they could feed Wema’s 150 mouths a day. Although the orphanage, located in the Bukembe region of Kenya, is not directly affected by the lack of rainfall, it was hit hard by the skyrocketing food prices resulting from the damage to crops.

Scanning 2.4 Billion Eyes, India Tries to Connect Poor to Growth (Lydia Polgreen, New York Times)

Across this sprawling, chaotic nation, workers are creating what will be the world’s largest biometric database, a mind-bogglingly complex collection of 1.2 billion identities. But even more radical than its size is the scale of its ambition: to reduce the inequality corroding India’s economic rise by digitally linking every one of India’s people to the country’s growth juggernaut.