John K. Glenn serves as Policy Director at the USGLC, where he leads engagement with the USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council, with the Executive Branch including the National Security Council, State Department, and US Agency for International Development, and with the think tank communities. He also teaches the graduate seminar on transatlantic relations at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and serves as a member of the Halifax International Security Forum Agenda Working Group. He previously served as Director of Foreign Policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States where he led programs to promote greater transatlantic cooperation and understanding during the crisis over the war in Iraq, and as Executive Director of the Council for European Studies. He has written numerous articles, briefs, and books on foreign policy, global development, transatlantic relations, and democratization. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Harvard University and B.A. from Oberlin College.
At the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Mozambique last week, USAID Administrator Mark Green and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley rolled out more details on the Administration’s Prosper Africa initiative with the ambitious goal of doubling two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa.
The BUILD Act – which proposes a new International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) that would double the financing authority of the existing Overseas Private Investment Corporation – passed in the House and out of committee in the Senate with broad bipartisan support. This is remarkable in today’s Washington and a step that has been widely applauded. As we approach the finish line, the hard part lies ahead: how do we ensure it is implemented well? How can we ensure a newly empowered IDFC has the greatest development impact? How do we promote strong coordination between the IDFC and other U.S. development agencies?
At the recent NATO summit, much time was spent discussing whether America’s allies spend enough on defense. At a time when many of today’s global challenges do not have military solutions alone – from pandemics like Ebola to refugees driven by famines and conflicts – how does the debate shift if we consider not just military spending but spending on global development?
While the coverage of President Trump’s first speech at the United Nations General Assembly has focused on his defense of his “America First” message, stress on “sovereignty,” and threat to totally destroy North Korea, close listeners may have also heard him mention America’s efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, stop preventable disease like malaria, and advance the rights of women and girls around the world for the first time in office.
Against the backdrop of today’s debate about America’s role in the world, it is striking to re-read the speech by Secretary of State George C. Marshall announcing the Marshall Plan on the 70th anniversary of its delivery. The Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild the economies of Western Europe after World War II, is often seen as the model for American global leadership. Secretary Marshall makes not a selfless appeal to support a new global order, but a calculated appeal to Americans’ self-interest, accompanied by a sophisticated series of short films to explain its benefits.
This week’s confirmation hearings gave a first glimpse into the views of the new Administration’s nominees on the foreign policy challenges we face today and on strategic investments in diplomacy and development. They also showcased strong bipartisan support in Congress for the International Affairs Budget. Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) opened Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s hearings with the Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittee, saying that the International Affairs Budget at “one percent of the U.S. budget” makes the military “much less likely to be in harm’s way.”
This year’s presidential debates will be different. While national security has had its own debate in the past, “Securing America” has been announced as one of the topics in the first and widely anticipated debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and will also be part of the other debates. In the wake of domestic terror attacks and global conversation about “uncertainty and unease and strife” at the UN General Assembly, what should we expect to hear on America’s role in the world?
Last week the Pew Research Center released an update of its study, “America’s Place in the World,” and I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that an American public about to nominate Hillary Clinton on the one hand and Donald Trump on the other has conflicting ideas. The report is worth a deep read (at over 100 pages), but my take-away is that Americans continue to want our country to stay engaged in the world, that the isolationism seen a few years back is receding, but that Americans are ambivalent – which creates opportunities for campaigns on both sides of the aisle. This is especially true when it comes to the global economy and the polls shows significant differences in the Republican Party, with Trump voters more hesitant on global engagement.