July 12, 2011

Business, Political and Military Leaders Join Secretary Clinton in Call to Maintain U.S. Global Engagement

Washington, D.C.—America’s global leadership is critical to U.S. economic and national security, said a group of high-profile political, military and business leaders today at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s (USGLC) annual conference, “Investing in the Future: A Smart Power Approach to Global Leadership.”  The leaders emphasized American international engagement creates U.S. jobs and protects our security interests, contributing to building a better, safer world.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of the critical role U.S. global leadership plays in creating American jobs.  Following her address, the USGLC unveiled a compelling new video and an economic policy brief authored by nearly 20 business leaders from some of America’s top companies, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Caterpillar, GE, Procter & Gamble, Walmart and more, calling on policymakers to recognize the International Affairs Budget as fuel for economic growth.

Other business leaders, such as Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank Group, and Christopher Policinski, CEO of Land O’Lakes, spoke at the conference to underscore how U.S. global leadership helps grow exports and generate jobs for American workers.

“With the bulk of future population and economic growth projected to take place outside the U.S. – and much of that in developing nations – it’s clear that building our presence in international markets is essential to economic and job growth here at home,” said  Policinski.  “International development enhances our ability to engage with our global neighbors, develop new trading partners, and expand global markets for American goods and services.”

General James Cartwright, vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, emphasized the national security value of global leadership.  Also attending were members of USGLC’s “Veterans for Smart Power,” which includes veterans from all ranks and ages who support a comprehensive national security strategy that invests in development and diplomacy alongside a strong defense.

“The United States’ military capabilities are essential to our security, and our strategic approach to international engagement and leadership is just as important,” said Admiral James Loy, USCG (Ret.), Co-Chair of the USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council.  “America’s global leadership depends on close cooperation between the defense, development and diplomacy communities. Together they make our country safer and reduce the threats of violent extremism and terrorism.”

At the conference, surrogates from four Republican presidential campaigns participated in the first foreign affairs roundtable of the 2012 election cycle. The panel featured Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, Jon Huntsman for President; Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, Mitt Romney for President; Brian Hook, Pawlenty for President; and Mark Rodgers, Rick Santorum for President.  Surrogates articulated the respective candidates’ positions on, and plans for, the country’s foreign affairs programs and continued U.S. global leadership.

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle launched the USGLC’s “Impact 2012” initiative to encourage presidential candidates to recognize the importance of American leadership in the world.  During the 2012 election cycle, USGLC will create programs, events and tools – including the “Candidates Corner” featured on the USGLC’s website, which tracks presidential contenders’ foreign policy positions – to generate dialogue around America’s global leadership.

“America’s engagement with the world is more critical than ever to our national and economic security,” said USGLC Executive Director Liz Schrayer.   “The International Affairs Budget, which represents just one percent of the federal budget, is a strategic investment in our country’s future and in building a better, safer, more prosperous world.”

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.