October 3, 2012

Democrat, Republican, and Military Leaders Underscore Need for Strong and Effective U.S. Foreign Assistance

Richmond, VA – Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Obama National Security Advisory Committee Member Dr. Bruce Jentleson discussed foreign policy and the presidential campaign at a forum in Richmond this evening. Former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command, General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.) delivered keynote remarks on the national security importance of American engagement in the world today.

In a conversation moderated by David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Gov. Pawlenty and Dr. Jentleson stressed that Democrats and Republicans agree on the importance of U.S. foreign assistance, but differ on who could deliver more effective results.

“U.S. development and diplomatic programs are important for not only our humanitarian interests, but also provide a boost to our economy both domestically and abroad, as well as to our national security,” Governor Pawlenty said. In recognition of the tough budget decisions facing lawmakers he said, “History repeatedly warns us that in the long run, weakness in foreign policy costs us and our children much more than we’ll ever save in a budget line item.”

“Given the global challenges we face today, we need our tools of development and diplomacy, as well as defense, working to ensuring our security, economy, and our values in the world today, said Dr. Jentleson. “Emerging economies have accounted for about 60 percent of global growth in recent years, up from about 25 percent a decade ago, and our engagement in developing countries may well be the key to maintaining the viability of America’s own middle class.”

In his keynote address, General Zinni said, “Our national security demands that we no longer rely on defense alone, but that we utilize the tools of diplomacy and development to preserve our military gains and prevent new conflicts. The legacy of our military endeavors will depend on whether we have a strong team of diplomats and development experts on the ground to finish the job.”

The event was sponsored by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Free, ChildFund International, and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Video of the event can be seen at www.usglc.org.

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.