Who Do You Trust?

March 31, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Yesterday, we saw two distinguished military leaders speak out for a strong and effective International Affairs Budget. In North Dakota, General Michael Haugen wrote an op-ed saying in part “We live in an interconnected world that becomes smaller every day, and the benefits of investing in international engagement are clear.” Meanwhile, back in Washington, Admiral James Loy fired off a strong response to a column in The Hill by Dick Morris, asking in the title “On national security, who do you trust: Gen. Petraeus or Dick Morris?” Also yesterday, USAID Administrator Shah testified on Capitol Hill on behalf of the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget request, saying “Representing less than one percent of the federal budget, the President’s FY 2012 request balances difficult trade-offs with a clear-eyed assessment of where we can most effectively achieve dramatic, meaningful results for the American people and the developing world.” On the Hill, Democrats and Republicans may have reached a tentative budget deal on FY 2011 that would cut $33 billion for the year (a compromise from the $61 billion in cuts passed by the House last month).

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

State Department shuffle (Laura Rozen, the Envoy)

Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg is leaving his post as Hillary Clinton’s second-in-command to become the dean of the Maxwell School of Public Affairs at Syracuse University, Obama administration officials announced Wednesday.

Sen. Marco Rubio on FOX News’ Your World With Neil Cavuto

Sen. Rubio: “The United States always has to act in its national interest. There is a national interest in the United States to be involved at some level in [the Middle East] and some of these countries. Now, obviously the money has to be well spent, it needs to be monitored, and it always has to justify itself. I would say foreign aid serves our national interest, and by the way foreign aid is not the reason we’re running trillions of dollars in debt. Our debt problem, by in large, is in three major entitlement programs that we need to reform if we want to save them.”

Rajiv Shah: In Fiscal 2012, US to Halve Aid in 20 Countries (Ma. Rizza Leonzon, DEVEX)

For fiscal 2012, U.S. development assistance in at least 20 countries will be cut by more than half, including 11 countries where all U.S. bilateral development aid has been eliminated, according to U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah.

Smart Power

On national security, I trust Gen. Petraeus, not Dick Morris (Admiral James Loy, the Hill)

As a career military officer and former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, I can say with certainty that Dick Morris’ column calling for the destruction of America’s civilian investments around the world is short-sighted and outright dangerous.

International engagement vital to North Dakota future (General Michael Haugen, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead)

Having worked to protect North Dakota for my entire career, I care deeply about what is best for our state. Based on my experience, one of the best ways to do this is by supporting a strong and effective U.S. International Affairs Budget.

Green cards for grads? John Hitt thinks so (Katie Kustura, Central Florida Future)

“The Voices of Smart Power” panel, put on by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition at the Sonesta Hotel in Downtown Orlando, included not just Hitt, but also Rollins College President Dr. Lewis Duncan, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Donald Kerrick and Caterpillar, Inc.’s Washington Director for Government Affairs William C. Lane. While foreign policy as a whole was the general focus of the panel, education and issues future leaders will have to deal with were major topics of discussion.

The Long View for Shorter Wars (Rye Barcott, Military.com)

Development and diplomacy are targets in House Resolution 1, a sweeping bill to slash federal spending by $61 Billion. The proposals include defunding the U.S. Institute for Peace and cutting the state and foreign operations 2011 request by twenty percent.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Obama’s Libya Speech: No ‘Doctrine,’ But a Peek at Priorities (Michael Crowley, TIME)

Back when Barack Obama was a Senator, he had high expectations for a new kind of U.S. foreign policy. The “United States still lacks a coherent national security policy,” Obama wrote in his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope. “Instead of guiding principles, we have what appear to be a series of ad hoc decisions… Without a well-articulated strategy that the public supports and the world understands,” he wrote, American actions lack “legitimacy” at home and abroad.

Budget deal close with $33B in cuts (David Rogers, Politico)

Budget talks came to life Wednesday but not without tension between the White House and Senate Democrats, worried that the administration was too quick to agree to $33 billion in spending cuts to try to move Speaker John Boehner toward what remains a very uncertain deal.

Libya flips foreign policy script (Philip Ewing, Politico)

The U.S. military intervention in Libya seems to have turned national security politics upside down in Washington. As top Pentagon brass head to Capitol Hill again Thursday to explain things to Congress, President Barack Obama, once cast as the Nobel Peace Prize-winning liberal who tried to keep America’s military engagements at arm’s length, is now acting more like former President George H.W. Bush in the first Persian Gulf War, relying on a broad international coalition to launch a military campaign.

Obama Moved at Warp Speed on Libya (Steve Clemons, the Huffington Post)

Recently at a dinner hosted by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, former National Security Adviser to two U.S. presidents, Brent Scowcroft stated in response to a question about what Barack Obama should do given the tumult in the Middle East, “President Obama should slow things down, move slowly, cautiously and not get swept into the emotional currents we see rising up in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.”