Today’s Headlines

April 19, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Who’s In the News

The freedom funder (Hilary Leila Krieger, the Jerusalem Post)

Granger, an eight-term Republican who took over the US House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee this session, is now the one holding the purse strings determining everything from the State Department’s budget to how much aid Israel and its neighbors will receive. That’s always an important role, but with major shake-ups on both the home front and international scene, it’s even more pivotal.

U.S. State Department, Foreign Aid Take Hit In Budget Deal (George Ingram, NPR interview)

We’ve been talking about 12 percent of the budget, the discretionary part of the budget. And in that part of the budget, when you look where most of the domestic spending occurs, a lot of the policymakers take a look at the education, highways and they say, we can’t cut those. And they look at foreign assistance and that’s something overseas. And they don’t fully understand the extent to which that’s in the national interest.

Smart Power

Diplomacy and foreign aid survive the budget deal, but only just (Gordon Adams, the Will and the Wallet)
The fiscal environment for FY 2012 is not promising for American civilian statecraft.  The House budget resolution passed last week would cut foreign policy funding (the International Affairs Budget function) 35% or $13.1 billion from the CR level provided for FY 2011.  While this level may grow in a Senate resolution, it is going to be increasingly difficult to “power up” the civilian diplomacy and foreign assistance agencies in the emerging budget environment.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Myth that Pakistan gets billions in US aid-fin min (Reuters)

Pakistan’s finance minister on Monday dismissed as “a myth” in the United States that his country is a major recipient of tens of billions of dollars in U.S. aid. Finance Minister Hafiz Shaikh told an audience in Washington that the United States had not delivered what it promised under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Law aid package, which is meant to provide $7.5 billion in civilian aid over five years. The law authorized $1.5 billion a year.

Not-So-Smart Power (Ken Adelman, FP)

Joseph Nye is as gifted at branding as he is at thinking, teaching, and serving the public. He turned “soft power” (essential to “smart power”) into a golden brand. In Washington, you know something has reached gold when the secretary of state wraps a “strategy” around it, as when Hillary Clinton, days before taking office, announced a “smart power” strategy with regard to the Middle East at her confirmation hearing on Jan. 13, 2009. Even higher is when a full-blown bipartisan commission is formed, as in the “Smart Power Commission” that Nye co-chaired back in 2007.

Panama trade deal gets green light (Erik Wasson, the Hill)

United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk has given the Panama trade agreement a green light, paving the way for a congressional vote on the long-stalled deal within months. Kirk notified Congress on Monday that Panama has cleared all the hurdles needed for passage of the U.S.-Panama trade agreement. He said technical discussions on implementing the legislation can now begin with Congress.