August 22, 2013
Broad Coalition of Business, Military, and Faith-Based Leaders Rally around U.S. International Affairs Programs
Nashville, TN — Top military, business, and faith leaders joined U.S. Senator Bob Corker for a lunch discussion today on the importance of U.S. leadership in the world and its impact on Tennessee. Participants praised the Senator and other members of the Tennessee Congressional delegation for ensuring America’s leadership in the world and their commitment to strong and effective development and diplomacy.
“In Washington and throughout our country, we’re witnessing a debate about the role the U.S. should play around the world. I believe in American exceptionalism and that the United States has a unique and critical leadership role in the world that cannot be idled or abdicated,” said Senator Corker. “Withdrawal from leadership will make us less safe, have us miss opportunities for greater prosperity and stability, and potentially sow the seeds of greater indebtedness. There’s no nation in the world that is impacted as much as ours when there’s economic stability around the world. But the greatest threat to our ability to lead is our fiscal situation. I was asked recently in a discussion with young people about how the U.S. can regain our competitive advantage from a rising China. I said then and will reiterate today: we must get our fiscal house in order.”
“What happens throughout the world impacts our security and our economic prosperity right here in Tennessee,” said Jim Frierson of Compass Innovation. “Senator Corker knows that for America to be an effective leader in the global economy, we must invest in a range of international tools – diplomacy, global development, trade and aid. It’s not just the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do for Tennesseans.”
Tennessee is a national leader in foreign investment, and one in five jobs in the state currently depends on trade, making American leadership in the world a critical strategic issue for the state. Of the 5,000 companies that export in Tennessee, 84 percent are small and medium sized businesses—the drivers of economic growth and job creation. Over half of U.S. exports go to the developing world, making investments there a strategic priority.
Governor Bill Haslam introduced Senator Corker, and the event also featured Wes Blumenshine from Caterpillar Financial, Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran Wayne Culbreth (USA), and Pastor Dan Scott from Christ Church Nashville, who all described why programs funded by the U.S. International Affairs Budget are critical to Tennessee’s future.
“Senator Corker has it right in that it takes more than just our military to keep America safe today,” said Wayne Culbreth. “I saw firsthand during my time in Iraq that our civilian tools of development and diplomacy are critical to bringing peace out of chaos and preventing conflict before requiring a military intervention.”
“95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S.,” said Wes Blumenshine. “We know that if we are going to access those consumers we need to ensure that our country has development and diplomatic programs in place to make American businesses competitive.”
“America has a long, proud history of demonstrating our compassion and ideals in our humanitarian efforts,” said Pastor Scott. “I am grateful for Senator Corker’s leadership in making Tennessee and the world a better, safer place through our nation’s efforts to save lives, cure diseases, educate children to give them opportunity, and foster freedom.”
Former Governor Phil Bredesen and Senator Bill Frist were announced as the co-chairs of the USGLC’s Tennessee Advisory Committee earlier this month, saying “Investing in smart and effective U.S. development and diplomacy tools is exactly what we need to protect our security, advance our economic interests, and demonstrate our finest values as Americans.”
“Senator Corker is one of the most respected national security voices in our country today,” said USGLC Executive Director Liz Schrayer. “His leadership to make sure America has the resources it needs, not only for the military, but also for our civilian operations, is clearly appreciated by the Tennessee business, military, and faith-based communities.”
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.