U.S. can’t afford to skimp on development

October 19, 2010 By Andy Amsler

USGLC Chairman Dan Glickman is in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning arguing the “U.S. can’t afford to skimp on development.”  His letter in response to an editorial on “rebooting foreign aid” lays out the case that “more and better” development is in both the national security and economic interests of the country—and this enjoys bipartisan support as well as support from military leaders.  From his experience in Congress and as Agriculture Secretary, he says, “I know that international development is a wise investment for the U.S. taxpayer for our own economic future.”

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Getting balance right is key to U.S. development policy (Samuel A. Worthington –The Will and the Wallet)

There is always tension between short- and long-term objectives. We face it every day in the decisions we make, both as individuals and collectively as a country. Do we buy a flashy new laptop now, or stick with our slow old desktop and save to send our children to college? Should government forego additional taxes to stimulate the economy, or would it be better to raise them and avert a potential long-term fiscal crisis? The same tension exists for U.S. government investments in international development.  Short-term projects based primarily on immediate national security needs and objectives often compete for resources that would otherwise be dedicated to effective development work aimed at poverty alleviation and institutional capacity-building. At the heart of this tension is the need to address both short- and long-term objectives well, rather than having an ad hoc approach that fails on both fronts.

Petraeus rewrites the playbook in Afghanistan (David Ignatius – Washington Post)

Gen. David Petraeus appears to be making a strategic pivot in Afghanistan, supplementing his primary mission as military commander with the “warrior-statesman” role he had in Iraq, where he was able to fuse the political and military elements of the campaign. Petraeus has long been a proponent of the idea that wars in tribal societies are inevitably a mix of talk and shoot. He pounded the Sunni and Shiite insurgents in Iraq, and at the same time he opened new channels for them to find a path to accommodation with the U.S.-backed government.

Smart Power

Sources: U.S. finalizing aid package to help Pakistan fight extremists (Elise Labott – CNN)

The Obama administration is putting the final touches on a security assistance package totaling as much as $2 billion over five years to help Pakistan fight extremists on its border with Afghanistan, senior U.S. officials and diplomatic sources tell CNN. The aid is expected to be announced later this week when Pakistani officials are in Washington to hold high-level talks. The package aims to address Pakistan’s insistence it does not have the capability to go after terrorists, and needs more support from the United States, the sources said. The aid will help the Pakistanis purchase helicopters, weapons systems and equipment to intercept communications.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Morning Brief: Iran participates in international strategy talks on Afghanistan (David Kenner – Foreign Policy)

For the first time, Iran sent representatives to attend discussions with members of the U.S. and NATO-led force in Afghanistan regarding the coalition’s political and military strategy to end the war there. The Iranians even ended a briefing by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, but did not speak during the military discussions. Mohammad Ali Qanezadeh, the director of Asian affairs at Iran’s foreign ministry, spoke when the meetings turned to political solutions to the Afghan war. He urged the international coalition to adopt a “holistic” approach to the conflict, using military force, political reconciliation, and development assistance to their benefit.

US, Cuban diplos met about jailed US man (Paul Haven – Associated Press)

Washington’s top diplomat for the Americas had a rare face-to-face meeting with Cuba’s foreign minister to discuss the fate of an American jailed in Cuba for nearly 11 months on suspicion of spying, the State Department said Monday. Assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela met Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Sept. 24 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The meeting is thought to be among the highest-level diplomatic encounters between the two Cold War enemies since President Obama took office in 2008. “The meeting was to encourage the release of Alan Gross,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “Unfortunately, that has not yet happened.”

Today in Washington – Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Secretary Clinton held a meeting on the cookstoves initiative, at the Department of State.
11:15AM: President Obama meets with Treasury Secretary Geithner
President Obama signs the Executive Order on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
4:30PM: President Obama meets with Secretary of Defense Gates

The Daily GAB is the clipping service of the USGLC