With turnover at NSC, all eyes on Global Development

October 12, 2010 By Andy Amsler

Today in Washington – Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and Brussels
Under Secretary McHale leads the 2010 Global Public Affairs Conference, at the Department of State
8:00AM: Vice President Biden met with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell
9:45AM: Administrator Shah, Deputy Secretary Lew, Counselor Mills, Ambassador Goosby, Haiti Coordinator Adams and CDC Director Frieden attended a meeting on global health efforts in Haiti, at the Department of State
President Obama hosts a “Moving America Forward” town hall meeting

The Daily GAB

With changes at the National Security Council last week, all eyes will be on the implementation of the new Directive on Global Development.  General Jones has been a strong supporter of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense, and was even a member of the USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council before going to the White House.  We thank General Jones for his service, and, as Tom Donilon takes the reins, we look forward to working with him to ensure, as the Directive says, that development “is a core pillar of American power.”

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Civilian Replaces General in Key Foreign Policy Job (David Sanger and Helene Cooper – New York Times)

In speeding the replacement of the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, with his deputy, a foreign policy aide with deep political experience, President Obama  has given civilian and political advisers a bigger voice in the hard choices of the coming months, including how quickly to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan. On Friday, Mr. Obama announced the appointment of Thomas E. Donilon, the principal deputy national security adviser, who is a Democratic Party stalwart who has advised two previous Democratic administrations. The long-rumored departure of General Jones, a retired Marine commandant who never struck a close bond with his boss, does not necessarily signal a big swing in administration policy, partly because Mr. Donilon has been running the show for months. But it does portend a bigger voice for Mr. Obama’s political and civilian advisers. While Mr. Donilon is steeped in national security, his political skills and connections to Capitol Hill are well known enough that he was rumored just weeks ago to be a candidate to succeed Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff.

How Bob Woodward drove the nail in Jim Jones’s coffin (Josh Rogin – The Cable)

Jim Jones was preparing to leave his job as national security advisor in early 2011, according to Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars. Ironically, controversy erupting from that very same book may have contributed to Jones speeding up that schedule by several months; President Obama will announce his departure today, and that his replacement will be his deputy, Tom Donilon. Immediate reaction within the administration to Jones’s resignation was consistent with the long-held view that Jones was never able to be effective as national security advisor because he was outside of Obama’s inner circle and was intellectually and sometimes physically cut out of major foreign policy discussions. “Jones always carried an ‘emeritus’ air about him and appeared removed and distant from the day-to-day operations,” one administration official told The Cable. “In six months, you will be hard pressed to find anyone in the administration who notices that Jones is no longer there.”

Petraeus orders probe into failed UK aid worker rescue (BBC Online)

The US commander in Afghanistan, Gen David Petraeus, has ordered an investigation into the death of a British aid worker held hostage. Linda Norgrove’s death on Friday as US forces tried to rescue her was initially blamed on her Afghan captors. But Prime Minister David Cameron said she may have been accidentally killed by a US grenade. US military sources said surveillance of the operation from overhead and on the ground was conflicting. The joint US-UK investigation into the failed rescue attempt will be led by US Maj Gen Joseph Votel, the chief of staff of the US Special Operations Command, the sources told the BBC’s Washington correspondent, Adam Brookes. The investigators will look at surveillance footage of the operation taken by helicopters or pilotless drone aircraft as well as footage from cameras mounted on the helmets of the soldiers on the ground, the sources said. The different angles reveal “conflicting evidence” as to whether Ms Norgrove was killed by a US grenade, an Afghan suicide vest, or both, they said.

Smart Power

World hunger: God is calling us to find political will to change (Rev. David Beckmann – Des Moines Register)

The world has made remarkable progress against hunger and poverty over the last several decades. The economic crisis has been a big setback, but we have very real opportunities to make changes that will reduce hunger in our country and worldwide. To achieve this turn-around, we need ordinary citizens, especially people of faith, to work with their elected officials on changes in laws and systems to provide help and opportunity to people in need. New figures show that the number of hungry people in the world has dropped below 1 billion, but remains unacceptably high. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 925 million people will suffer from chronic hunger in 2010, compared to 1.02 billion last year. Still, close to a billion of the world’s people cannot afford enough calories to make their bodies function properly. Because of high unemployment, nearly one in four children in our country now lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table, according to the new census figures, Iowa ranks 18th in the nation, with almost 16 percent of its children living in poverty. But we can moderate what the economy is doing to hungry and poor people and set the stage for rapid gains against hunger and poverty once the economy recovers. In fact, I think God is calling us to change the politics of hunger.

Rebooting foreign aid: From now on, it comes with strings attached (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The Obama administration on Tuesday announced a three-year, $4 billion pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a 38 percent increase in U.S. funding to the international public-private partnership. The announcement brought sighs of relief to those in the international aid community who had worried that President Barack Obama might use the global fund to demonstrate the new, more results-oriented approach to foreign aid that he announced last month at the United Nations. Mr. Obama’s $58.5 billion international affairs budget announced in February — but still not passed by Congress — would have reduced U.S. support for the global fund by $50 million, even as it increased overall funding for international health efforts. The pledge announced this week came with a warning: From now on, U.S. support will depend on how effectively the money is spent. In the world of international development, that is revolutionary.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Clinton is sitting this one out (Matthew Lee – Associated Press)

Hillary Rodham Clinton never met a political battle she didn’t like. Until now. Amid frenzied inside-Washington speculation about her political ambitions, the secretary of state is staying firmly on the sidelines. As Democrats and Republicans fight for control of Congress in next month’s midterms, the former first lady and senator will be sitting it out, literally half a world away. Clinton ran staff and reporters ragged during her 2008 Democratic presidential campaign. Now, barred by convention and tradition from partisan political activity as America’s top diplomat, she is spending the weeks ahead of the Nov. 2 balloting doing administration business in Europe and Asia. “I am not in any way involved in any of the political campaigns that are going on up to this midterm election,” Clinton said last week.

In Afghanistan, the first hints of success (Michael Gerson – The Washington Post)

Success in Afghanistan is beginning to come in the first muddy trickles after a long drought. Small groups of Taliban fighters – sometimes a dozen with a leader – are approaching local Afghan government officials, asking what kind of deal they might get. “First, they want to be taken off any list, so they are not targeted,” explains a NATO official in Afghanistan. “Second, they want protection from the insurgency. Third, some kind of economic opportunity.” In counterinsurgency doctrine, this is known as “reintegration.” The official admits it is “spotty” in Afghanistan but spreading in all regions. “It is happening in small numbers – drip, drip, drip. It has not yet changed the battle space…It is not a tipping point, at this point.” The goal is to push these numbers much higher, with more insurgents driven to negotiation and exhaustion, so they “put down their weapons and go home.” Many Americans ask: What would victory look like in Afghanistan? It would look like this – except more of it.