October 18, 2012

Democratic, Republican, Military, and Business Leaders Underscore Strong and Effective U.S. Global Leadership Benefits Florida

Tampa, FL – Former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command, General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, and Walmart Foundation President Sylvia Burwell discussed foreign policy at a forum in Tampa this afternoon, while Al Cardenas, Chairman of the American Conservative Union, and Ann Lewis, former Director of Communications for President Bill Clinton, discussed the presidential campaign and the upcoming foreign policy debate Monday evening.

In a conversation moderated by Frank Sesno of CNN, Cardenas and Lewis stressed that Democrats and Republicans agree on the importance of U.S. foreign assistance, but differ on who could deliver more effective results.

“Ronald Reagan always called America a ‘shining city on a hill’, and today our leadership in the world is needed as never before,” said Al Cardenas.  “To get our economy moving again, we must open new markets for our goods and services.  When the U.S. is actively engaged in economic development through alleviating poverty and strengthening freedom around the world, it not only shows who we are as Americans, but is simply good for business.”

“Smart development is in America’s self-interest, and encouraging education, economic opportunity and good governance helps to build a more secure and safer world,” said Ann Lewis.  “Given the global challenges we face today, our development and diplomatic programs are critical to the United States’ security and future.”

Burwell, Zinni, and Zoellick discussed why U.S. foreign assistance, at just one percent of the federal budget, is a critical investment in our national security, economic prosperity, and humanitarian values.

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.”

“About two thirds of global growth today comes from developing countries.  In the ’90s, it was just in the low 20 percent range,” said Robert Zoellick.  “People used to think of development as charity or do-good, but it’s now self-interest.”

The event was sponsored by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, The Tampa Downtown Partnership, 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.