Today’s headlines

May 31, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

This morning, General Daniel Christman followed up his USGLC trip to Ohio with an op-ed in the Akron Beacon Journal, writing “My experiences in both the national security and economic arenas have made me a believer in the benefits we receive from a strong and effective international affairs budget. A small investment of just 1 percent of our federal budget provides a tremendous return in terms of keeping our families safe and our economy growing.” Yesterday, President Obama chose Memorial Day to announce his nomination for the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey. And while the Senate is in recess this week, the House is in session, and Republican leaders plan to hold a test vote on the debt ceiling today. Without any spending cuts attached, the “clean” bill to raise the debt ceiling is expected to fail. President Obama is scheduled to meet with House Republicans and Democrats this week to continue discussing a long-term debt reduction plan.

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Who’s In the News

Be smart about security (Lt. Gen.  Daniel W. Christman – Akron Beacon Journal)

Having served my country for almost four decades in the U.S. Army and now working to promote our nation’s first-rate businesses, I know it is more important than ever for America to maintain its leadership in the world. This is also critical for our state of Ohio as we continue to pull ourselves out of this economic downturn, create jobs and keep our families safe.

Gen. Dempsey, Adm. Winnefeld tapped to lead Joint Chiefs (Jamie Klatell – The Hill)

President Obama on Monday announced his choice of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Adm. James Winnefeld as vice chairman.  Dempsey, the current Army chief of staff, will be replaced by Gen. Ray Odierno, Obama said from the White House Rose Garden.

All Americans have a duty to honor Memorial Day (Rye Barcott – The Washington Post)

Few Americans would disagree with the sanctity of Memorial Day. Yet the holiday has become a shopping spree, a party. Retail sales surge as stores release new summer offerings. The holiday weekend is among the top 10 shopping periods each year. Meanwhile, the local parade in my home town is more sparsely attended, and fewer people appear to travel to cemeteries to pay respects to the war dead.

Smart Power

President Obama: US must remain a leader abroad (Carrie Budoff Brown – Politico)

“To the American people, even at a time when we have fiscal constraints, even at a time when I spend most of my day thinking about our economy and putting folks back to work … I want the American people to understand we’ve got to leave room for us to continue our tradition of providing leadership when it comes to freedom, democracy, human rights,” Obama said.

2012 Appropriations — State-Foreign Operations: Aid Programs Could See Significant Cuts (Emily Cadei – CQ)

When Republicans decided to largely exempt security-related spending from their budget-cutting plans for the current fiscal year, foreign aid was left exposed. This spring, advocates of diplomacy and development spending fended off the deepest cuts in 2011 appropriations for the State Department and foreign operations. But a number of programs and organizations still faced significant budget reductions in the final fiscal 2011 spending bill (PL 112-10).

Politics/Foreign Policy
US role in Asia on agenda for Gates’ final trip (Robert Burns – AP Newswire)

On his final overseas trip as secretary of defense, Robert Gates will make the case to a gathering of Asian defense chiefs in Singapore that expected budget-slashing in Washington will not weaken America’s commitment to Asia.

G8 leaders vow $20 billion in aid to Egypt and Tunisia (Jessica Rettig – US News)

For the G8 nations, Egypt, Tunisia, and the Arab Spring as a whole introduce an opportunity to support democratic ideals in the region, both in spirit and financially. The G8 heads met with prime ministers of both Egypt and Tunisia to discuss the needs of the countries with a democratic transition process already underway. Indeed, in what they call the “Deauville Partnership,” the leaders of the G8 crafted a multilateral aid package totaling about $20 billion over the next two years to prop up the two countries, which continue to recover from the throes of revolution.

The Debate Room: Foreign aid won’t eliminate poverty (William R. Duggan and John W. McArthur – Business Week)

Current foreign aid programs don’t address underlying causes of poverty. Pro or con?