Viva Las Vegas

April 20, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Today, the USGLC team is on the road in Las Vegas, hosting two events to engage local business and community leaders on the importance of the International Affairs Budget. Senior Director Mark Green will be the featured speaker, discussing how investing in International Affairs programs protects our national security and economic prosperity. Today’s events are co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Las Vegas. Stay tuned to the USGLC blog for updates and photos!

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Former congressman and ambassador Mark Green to discuss foreign policy, budget issues in Vegas (Associated Press) Former Wisconsin congressman and U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Mark Green is heading to Las Vegas to share his thoughts on how foreign policy and national budget issues could affect Nevada. The event hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and the World Affairs Council of Las Vegas will be held Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Green is expected to discuss how foreign policy shapes national and economic security issues.

Smart Power

U.S. Funds Help Democracy Activists Evade Internet Crackdowns (Nicole Gaouette and Brendan Greeley, Bloomberg)The U.S. State Department is set to announce $28 million in grants to help Internet activists, particularly in countries where the governments restrict e-mail and social networks such as those offered by Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google Inc. The program, which has drawn Republican criticism and budget cuts, has produced software that is spreading widely in Iran and Syria, helping pro-democracy activists avoid detection, said Dan Baer, deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.

Foreign aid small part of federal budget (Appleton (WI) Post Crescent Letters to the Editor)

A recent poll indicated that, on average, Americans believe that 25 percent of the budget goes to foreign aid, and that we’d be better of if that level was reduced to 10 percent. Actually, foreign aid makes up less than 1 percent of the federal budget, so believing that eliminating it is the solution to our financial woes isn’t close to the answer.

Cuts to foreign aid won’t solve the deficit (Miles Kellerman, University of Wisconsin-Madison Daily Cardinal) In the federal budget, one aspect in particular has become a popular source of funding cuts: international affairs and foreign assistance. Indeed, this is a popular notion among Americans; 59 percent of us believe in cutting foreign aid, according to a January Gallup poll. But this is a sentiment fueled in part by ignorance. According to, the average American believes that foreign aid comprises 25 percent of the entire U.S. federal budget, and those same Americans felt that, on average, 10 percent would be more appropriate.

Foreign aid critical to global health (Seattle Times Letters to the Editor)

The Times’ April 17 piece, “U.S. foreign aid is not a luxury but a critical investment in global stability,” is directly on target. Global tuberculosis (TB) control is a perfect example of how a small investment today prevents future costs. Multiple-drug-resistant TB (MDR TB) germs develop when patients with active TB can’t obtain and take medications consistently for the several months needed for a cure.

A worthwhile program (Allentown (PA) Morning Call Letters to the Editor)

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan recommends cutting foreign affairs spending in his Roadmap for America’s Future. Granted, significant cuts are needed to balance the budget. But reducing foreign affairs dollars won’t effectively help budget woes, and it could hurt the United States.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Time to up the ante on Egypt (David Ignatius, Washington Post)

Today, the United States is allocating about $110 billion annually for the Afghan war, about $3.2 billion for military and economic aid to Pakistan, and about $150 million in special assistance to help Egypt’s democratic revolution. In terms of U.S. national interests, those spending levels don’t make sense. The pyramid is upside down.

CIDA: a broken agency that needs to be overhauled (The Globe & Mail editorial)

In a rapidly changing world, Canada needs to be able to respond quickly to urgent development needs overseas. Yet the agency tasked to do this is so overburdened by complex bureaucracy and excessive compliance requirements that it can take as long as 43 months for aid projects to receive approval. This is depriving Canada of its ability to address global inequities, and extend its power and influence in the world. The very goals of development have become subverted to those of “results-based management tables,” says James Haga, of Engineers without Borders. The group is part of Foreign Assistance Reform Network, a coalition of development organizations lobbying to reform Canada’s approach.

All Talks, No Action (Charles Kenny, Foreign Policy)

That the last 30 years have seen quality-of-life improvements throughout the developing world is in considerable part a testament to the power of variety of new goods and services — mobile telephony, vaccines, and bed nets, to name a few — to make a better life more affordable to even the poorest people. The last thing that governments should do is stand in the way of that progress. And they don’t need a global trade agreement to make the change.