Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the outgoing ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has some parting advice for stakeholders in U.S. foreign policy: reach out more and cooperate.
The U.S. Congress, Lugar noted in a recent opinion piece, has been “unable to act decisively on foreign policy” due to partisanship. He added that barring some exceptions, “the Obama Administration as a whole has frequently resisted Congressional involvement in major foreign-policy decisions and issues.”
These gaps must be bridged if the United States is to achieve national and foreign policy goals, Lugar argued.
“This cooperation depends both on congressional leaders who are willing to set aside partisan advantage and on administration officials who understand that the benefits of having the support of members of Congress is worth the effort and political capital it takes to secure that support,” Lugar said.
But the senator, who will relinquish his seat in January 2013, admitted that “things may get worse before they get better.” Case in point: The issue surrounding the Benghazi attack and U.S. President Barack Obama’s possible naming of Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as his next secretary of state.
Lugar has outlined some short and longer-term suggestions on how to overcome this “disunity” in foreign policy. The president, he said, should in the coming weeks meet Congress’ national security leaders for “private, informal and unhurried” meetings in the White House.
“Over the course of the next four years, I believe such outreach would yield significant dividends for both parties and could establish a more unified long-term national-security strategy,” Lugar added.
As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.