Top Military Leader Makes the Case for U.S. Global Leadership

December 15, 2011 By Mac Stoddard

This morning, USGLC National Security Advisory Council member General Anthony Zinni published an op-ed in The Union Leader making the case for American global leadership.  General Zinni writes “Our security is threatened by extreme poverty, instability and pandemic diseases that can spread in the blink of an eye.  In order to manage that chaos, the United States must invest in all of the tools of national power, and that includes development and diplomacy alongside defense.”

Must Reads

USGLC in the News

We need a President committed to global leadership (General Anthony Zinni, The Union Leader)

While the Granite State and the frontlines of America’s fight against terrorism may appear to be worlds apart, our efforts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq have very real implications for families here and across our nation. With its first-in-the-nation primary, New Hampshire plays an influential role in determining the next President of the United States, and as I have observed after over four decades in the U.S. Marine Corps, America’s global leadership is essential to our country’s security at home.

Who’s in the News

Conference outlines pathways to prosperity for South Sudan (Ashish Kumar Sen, The Washington Times)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday urged the leaders of oil-rich South Sudan to manage natural resources prudently and warned them against falling prey to unscrupulous corporations and countries.  “We know that [natural resources] will either help your country finance its own path out of poverty, or you will fall prey to the natural-resource curse, which will enrich a small elite, outside interests, corporations and countries, and leave your people hardly better off then when you started,” she told a development conference for South Sudan at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington.

Investing in health and security (Bill Frist, Politico)

While Congress remains deadlocked in fiscal debates, American families are holding their own budget negotiations. How much can we spend this year on gifts for the children, home projects or even food for the holidays? Congress and families alike are tightening their belts, cutting costs and planning ahead.  This week, Congress is to vote on a drastic reduction of foreign assistance. While most Americans shy away from the language of foreign aid, polls show that despite continuing economic problems, more than half all Americans support funding for health, including education and emergency relief, in developing nations.

Smart Power

Iraq Withdrawal Highlights the Need for Smart Power (Kevin Govern, The Jurist)

This is not to argue that the United States should revert to the days when the U.S. used its military to bully foreign governments into accepting favorable trade concessions. That time is long gone, and rightly so. But the pendulum has now swung too far in the opposite direction. Some more-explicit linkage between disbursement of aid dollars and advancement of U.S. business interests would be appropriate — advisable, even — given that our rivals are employing similar tactics with considerable success, leaving us boxed out of critical markets. Furthermore, these commercial linkages foster ties that yield long-term economic benefits, too. The investment of U.S. money and the presence of U.S. companies in foreign markets improves their human capital, raises their GDP, inculcates Western values and solidifies relationships with allies that, in the future, can go on to become important trading partners.

Global health aid continues to grow — but more slowly — during recession (David Brown, The Washington Post)

Spending to improve health in developing countries has continued to grow during the three-year economic downturn, although at only half the blistering pace it did a decade ago.  As increases in spending by “donor countries,” such as the United States, have slowed, the World Bank has picked up up the slack, lending large amounts of money to middle-income countries, in part as a way to counter the effects of the recession. Recipient countries have also increased spending out of their own domestic budgets.

Politics/Foreign Policy

U.S. War in Iraq Declared Officially Over (Thom Shanker and Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times)

The United States military officially declared an end to its mission in Iraq on Thursday even as violence continues to plague the country and the Muslim world remains distrustful of American power.  In a fortified concrete courtyard at the airport in Baghdad, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta thanked the more than one million American service members who have served in Iraq for “the remarkable progress” made over the past nine years but acknowledged the severe challenges that face the struggling democracy.

Gingrich’s Foreign Policy Words Summon the Cold War, but Enemy Is Iran (Trip Gabriel, The New York Times)

Should Newt Gingrich become president, his foreign policy vision might remind many people of the cold war. But this time the threat would be from a nuclear-armed Iran rather than the Soviet Union.  Mr. Gingrich, who is fond of big overarching ideas, has yet to give a major foreign policy speech, but he has staked out positions while campaigning that suggest a nascent Gingrich Doctrine, one that looks to decades of struggle against radical Islam.