July 25, 2007
(Washington, DC) – A bipartisan group of top-level former Administration, Congressional, foreign policy and military leaders including former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and James Baker, former Secretaries of Defense Frank Carlucci and William Perry, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin released a statement today urging the 2008 presidential candidates to define new visions for U.S. foreign policy and national security that will prioritize greater investments in international development and diplomacy.
The statement was released at the launch of “Impact ‘08: Building a Better, Safer World,” a national campaign by the Center for U.S. Global Engagement, to elevate support for foreign assistance in the 2008 presidential campaign. The officials called on “all of the 2008 Presidential candidates to elevate and strengthen our non-military tools of global engagement to build a better, safer, more prosperous America and world.”
“The next President will have to make important decisions about how to redefine America’s role in the world and how to restore America’s moral leadership and global respect,” said Secretary Albright, co-chair of the Impact ’08 campaign. “Impact ’08 wants to ensure that the next President is committed to greater investment in development and diplomacy to build a better, safer world. We hope the Presidential candidates and their advisers are listening.”
“We are only as safe as the world we live in,” said Impact ’08 co-chair Secretary Carlucci. “9/11 and events since have demonstrated that we cannot rely on our military might alone to keep America safe. Increasingly, foreign assistance and diplomacy are essential levers to exercise American influence and create a win- win situation for us and for other countries.”
Those endorsing the Impact ‘08 statement, “A 21st Century Vision of Global Leadership,” include former Cabinet officials, Congressional and other leaders who agreed that strengthening development, global health and diplomacy should be a keystone of the next president’s foreign policy and national security strategy. The full text of the statement and a list of endorsements to date are attached.
“Impact ’08 aims to build the political will needed to improve health and bring an end to extreme poverty around the world,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We have affordable, effective and proven solutions supported by U.S. foreign assistance. But the next President must make increasing investment and effectiveness in foreign assistance a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.”
“The Center for US Global Engagement has got it right: Strong U.S. moral and pragmatic leadership is required to address today’s complex global challenges, promote global stability, and protect our national security,” said former Secretary of State James Baker. “The next president must continue the use of development assistance and diplomacy as central to America’s foreign policy and national security.”
“America must focus more of its resources for global engagement on political and diplomatic solutions, rather than military – as we have learned in Iraq,” said former Representative Lee Hamilton, Vice-Chair of the 9/11 Commission. “We know that foreign assistance and diplomacy keep America safer by combating terrorism, engendering goodwill toward the United States, and alleviating conditions that leave fragile countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan vulnerable to the influence of extremist groups.”
“As Impact: ’08 rightly points out, American economic and national security interests are interconnected with the prosperity and economic growth of developing countries, and we can best further our interests by working with the rest of the global community in a spirit of mutual respect,” said former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin. “I join with the Center for U.S. Global Engagement in urging the presidential candidates to discuss and prioritize development and diplomacy in their campaign agendas. And the next President should put development and diplomacy at the center of public policy.”
The Impact ’08 campaign seeks to draw the attention of the candidates and their advisers to the long track record of development assistance, global health and diplomatic efforts in bolstering our nation’s security and moral values. Over the past four decades, U.S. assistance has helped millions of people feed their families; nearly eradicated river blindness and polio; helped Bosnia, Mozambique and El Salvador rebound from civil war; and put hundreds of thousands of HIV/AIDS patients in Africa on life-saving anti-retroviral treatments.
Through Impact ’08, the Center for U.S. Global Engagement will be organizing foreign policy forums in a number of the early primary and key election states, engaging with candidates and their advisers through meetings, town halls and other events to encourage greater debate on, and support for, issues of global health, development, and diplomacy. On the Center’s new website www.usglobalengagement.org, Impact ’08 will be tracking the presidential candidates’ statements and positions on foreign policy and foreign assistance.
The Center for U.S. Global Engagement is the educational arm of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, unites business, foreign policy, humanitarian, faith-based, community and military leaders around the country to broaden public understanding of America’s interests in building a better, safer world.