EDITOR’S NOTE: More than a review, the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review looks at lessons from the past and forecasts future strategic choices and resource needs in an effort to make diplomacy and development coordinated, complementary, and mutually enforcing, according to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The first QDDR, she adds, envisions the creation of a global civilian service that will execute a public diplomacy strategy that goes beyond government-to-government interaction and entails the U.S. Agency for International Development to pursue procurement and policy reforms to ensure that U.S. overseas development work brings lasting and sustainable impact.
Today’s world is a crucible of challenges testing American leadership. Global problems, from violent extremism to worldwide recession to climate change to poverty, demand collective solutions, even as power in the world becomes more diffuse. They require effective international cooperation, even as that becomes harder to achieve. And they cannot be solved unless a nation is willing to accept the responsibility of mobilizing action. The United States is that nation.
I began my tenure as U.S. Secretary of State by stressing the need to elevate diplomacy and development alongside defense – a “smart power” approach to solving global problems. To make that approach succeed, however, U.S. civilian power must be strengthened and amplified. It must, as U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has argued in these pages, be brought into better balance with U.S. military power. In a speech last August, Gates said, “There has to be a change in attitude in the recognition of the critical role that agencies like [the] State [Department] and AID [the U.S. Agency for International Development] play … for them to play the leading role that I think they need to play.”
This effort is under way. Congress has already appropriated funds for 1,108 new Foreign Service and Civil Service officers to strengthen the State Department’s capacity to pursue American interests and advance American values. USAID is in the process of doubling its development staff, hiring 1,200 new Foreign Service officers with the specific skills and experience required for evolving development challenges, and is making better use of local hires at our overseas missions, who have deep knowledge of their countries. The Obama administration has begun rebuilding USAID to make it the world’s premier development organization, one that fosters long-term growth and democratic governance, includes its own research arm, shapes policy and innovation, and uses metrics to ensure that our investments are cost-effective and sound.
But we must do more. We must not only rebuild – but also rethink, reform, and recalibrate. During my years on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I saw how the Department of Defense used its Quadrennial Defense Review to align its resources, policies, and strategies for the present – and the future. No similar mechanism existed for modernizing the State Department or USAID. In July 2009, I launched the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), a wholesale review of the State Department and USAID to recommend how to better equip, fund, train, and organize ourselves to meet current diplomatic and development priorities and how to begin building the people, structures, processes, and resources today to address the world’s challenges in the years ahead.
The QDDR is not simply a review. It defines how to make diplomacy and development coordinated, complementary, and mutually reinforcing. It assesses what has worked in the past and what has not. And it forecasts future strategic choices and resource needs.
Although the State Department and USAID have distinct roles and missions, diplomacy and development often overlap and must work in tandem. Increasingly, global challenges call for a mix of both, requiring a more holistic approach to civilian power.
Diplomatic objectives are often secured by gains in development. The resumption of direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians over the summer was the handiwork of talented and persistent diplomacy. But progress at the negotiating table will be directly linked to progress in building strong and stable institutions for a Palestinian state and providing Israel with the security it needs. And development objectives are often secured by diplomatic engagement. The impact of the Feed the Future global hunger program and the Global Health Initiative will turn in part on the promotion of policy reforms in partner countries; the Millennium Challenge Compacts are in part the product of sustained political engagement designed to create positive conditions for development. In many places, including Afghanistan and Iraq, the need for mutually reinforcing diplomatic and development strategies stems from the combined causes and effects of violent conflict, instability, and weak states.
The two Ds in the QDDR reflect the world as the State Department sees it today and as it envisions it in the future. The review process relied on the wisdom and talent of exceptional people in the State Department and USAID who worked tirelessly to produce a blueprint for reforms that will be implemented over the next four years and will have an impact for much longer. This year’s inaugural QDDR identifies new approaches and skill sets for diplomats and development experts, sets budget priorities, establishes planning procedures, revises promotion incentives, and recommends organizational reforms. It focuses on three main areas: modernizing and coordinating diplomacy across U.S. government agencies, ensuring that development work creates a lasting and sustainable impact, and creating a stronger nexus between diplomacy and development, as well as better coordination with partners in the military, in conflict zones and fragile states.
A Global Civilian Service
Diplomacy has long been the backbone of U.S. foreign policy. It remains so today. The vast majority of my work at the State Department consists of engaging in diplomacy to address major global and regional challenges, such as confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, facilitating negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, enhancing stability on the Korean Peninsula, and working with other governments to bring emergency relief to Haiti. And President Barack Obama and I certainly relied on old-fashioned diplomatic elbow grease to hammer out a last-minute accord at the Copenhagen conference on climate change last December.
In annual strategic dialogues with a range of key partners – including China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, and South Africa – the United States aims to deepen and broaden its relationships and to establish a stronger foundation for addressing shared problems, advancing shared interests, and managing differences. The United States is investing in strengthening global structures such as the G-20 and regional institutions such as the Organization of American States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. This is part of a commitment to building a new global architecture of cooperation that includes not only the East and the West but also the North and the South.
Although traditional diplomacy will always be critical to advancing the United States’ agenda, it is not enough. The State Department must expand its engagement to reach and influence wider and more diverse groups using new skills, strategies, and tools. To that end, the department is broadening the way it conceives of diplomacy as well as the roles and responsibilities of its practitioners.
The original Foreign Service, as its name implies, consisted of people trained to manage U.S. relations with foreign states, principally through consultations with their counterparts in government. This has been the main function of U.S. ambassadors and embassies, as well as the staff at the State Department. But increasing global interconnectedness now necessitates reaching beyond governments to citizens directly and broadening the U.S. foreign policy portfolio to include issues once confined to the domestic sphere, such as economic and environmental regulation, drugs and disease, organized crime, and world hunger. As those issues spill across borders, the domestic agencies addressing them must now do more of their work overseas, operating out of embassies and consulates. A U.S. ambassador in 2010 is thus responsible not only for managing civilians from the State Department and USAID but also for operating as the CEO of a multiagency mission. And he or she must also be adept at connecting with audiences outside of government, such as the private sector and civil society.
Consider the U.S. embassy in Islamabad. The mission includes 800 staff members; about 450 are diplomats and civil servants from the State Department, and 100 are from USAID. A large portion of the work there consists of traditional diplomacy – Foreign Service officers helping Americans traveling or doing business in the region, issuing visas, and engaging with their Pakistani civilian and military counterparts. But the U.S. ambassador there also leads civilians from 11 other federal agencies, including disaster relief and reconstruction experts helping to rebuild after last summer’s historic floods; specialists in health, energy, communications, finance, agriculture, and justice; and military personnel working with the Pakistani military to bolster Pakistani capacities and to help in the fight against violent extremists.
Back in Washington, my responsibility as secretary is to ensure that the Foreign Service and Civil Service personnel within the State Department and USAID are working together and with their colleagues across the federal government. The United States’ strategic dialogue with Pakistan involves ten separate working groups that bring together cabinet secretaries and experts from a range of agencies in both governments. The U.S. dialogue with India engages 22 different agencies; and when U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and I traveled to Beijing in May for the second round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, our delegation included civilians from over 30 agencies.
Foreign Service officers, Civil Service personnel, and local staff at the State Department and USAID form the backbone of our global engagement. By drawing on the pool of talent that already exists in U.S. federal agencies and at overseas posts, the United States can build a global civilian service of the same caliber and flexibility as the U.S. military. With staff members and experts from a variety of institutions – including the State Department, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Export-Import Bank, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Peace Corps, and many others – the U.S. foreign policy apparatus must reward teamwork, promote collaboration, and support interagency rotations.
Engagement must go far beyond government-to-government interactions. In this information age, public opinion takes on added importance even in authoritarian states and as nonstate actors are more able to influence current events. Today, a U.S. ambassador creates ties not only with the host nation’s government but also with its people. The QDDR endorses a new public diplomacy strategy that makes public engagement every diplomat’s duty, through town-hall meetings and interviews with the media, organized outreach, events in provincial towns and smaller communities, student exchange programs, and virtual connections that bring together citizens and civic organizations. Indeed, in the twenty-first century, a diplomat is as likely to meet with a tribal elder in a rural village as a counterpart in a foreign ministry, and is as likely to wear cargo pants as a pinstriped suit.
Public diplomacy must start at the top. In Indonesia and Turkey, I conducted bilateral meetings with government officials, but I also met with civil-society leaders and appeared as a guest on popular television talk shows. I have held town-hall meetings with diverse groups of citizens on every continent I have visited, as I have done throughout my career. Public events such as these are as much a part of my job as secretary of state as my meetings in foreign ministries, because the durability of the United States’ partnerships abroad will depend on the attitudes of the people as well as the policies of their governments.
In Washington, too, the State Department is streamlining and modernizing the way its conceives of and conducts public diplomacy. We are shifting away from traditional platforms and instead are building connections to foreign publics in regions once considered beyond the United States’ reach. It makes no sense to allocate the greatest amount of resources to parts of the world where the United States’ ties are already strong and secure and to minimize efforts where engaging the public is critical to success.
We can also leverage civilian power by connecting businesses, philanthropists, and citizens’ groups with partner governments to perform tasks that governments alone cannot. Technology, in particular, provides new tools of engagement. One great success this year was a partnership forged almost overnight among U.S. and Haitian cell-phone companies, the Red Cross, social entrepreneurs, the U.S. Coast Guard, and, eventually, the U.S. Marines to create a platform that used text messaging to broadcast the locations of earthquake victims in need of rescue. The State Department also launched a program to facilitate the texting of $10 donations to the Red Cross for Haiti, which drew contributions from 31 million Americans. At the State Department and USAID, we continue to develop new ways to use the world’s 4.6 billion cell phones to improve the lives of people living in remote areas and arduous circumstances.
Foreign trips by delegations of Americans with expertise in technology have also produced promising avenues for innovative partnerships in fields such as agriculture and health. One such visit to Russia, for example, helped pave the way for a public-private partnership called “text4baby,” which will provide a mobile application for pregnant women and new mothers to get health tips through their cell phones and to allow them to monitor their own pregnancies.
Looking down the road to the forces that will shape global politics tomorrow, it becomes clear how the material conditions of people’s lives can affect U.S. national security objectives. While USAID leads U.S. development work overseas, State Department employees today – from ambassadors to Civil Service experts – must be better versed and more engaged in development issues. For this reason, I called for a broad review of U.S. aid programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan to ensure that they were aligned with U.S. strategic objectives and sent two experienced ambassadors to coordinate foreign assistance in Kabul and Islamabad.
This comprehensive approach is essential to U.S. engagement in many regions. In Mexico, for example, the United States continues to support law enforcement efforts to arrest and prosecute members of drug cartels, but it has also begun the next phase of the Merida Initiative, working with Mexican partners – in government, business, and civil society – to strengthen justice systems and promote a “culture of legality” in local communities.
When the diverse elements of U.S. civilian power work cohesively – as in many embassies around the world, and on the best days in Washington – the potential impact of a global civilian service becomes evident. There is no guarantee that this comprehensive approach will achieve every goal, especially where the challenges are as entrenched and complex as they are in places such as Haiti, Pakistan, or Yemen. But it is the best alternative we have, and one we must pursue.
I am sometimes asked why development matters to U.S. foreign policy and why the United States should spend money on people overseas when it has economic challenges at home. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the answer is that development, when done effectively, is one of the best tools to enhance the United States’ stability and prosperity. It can strengthen fragile or failing states, support the rise of capable partners that can help solve regional and global problems, and advance democracy and human rights.
At the same time, it is important to acknowledge that although the world’s problems are vast, the United States’ resources are not. As stewards of American taxpayer dollars, the State Department and USAID must be strategic in pursuing the most critical needs and in making decisions based on hard evidence to ensure that investments deliver results. And we must also stay focused on the long term – not simply addressing the urgent needs of people today but also building the foundations for a more prosperous future. With this in mind, the Presidential Policy Directive on Development that President Obama issued in September – the first by a U.S. president – emphasizes the importance of targeting countries with responsible governments and favorable conditions for development and working in a smaller number of targeted sectors in each country for maximum impact. It affirms that assistance must be coordinated with trade, finance, investment credits, and other economic policies to bolster emerging markets and to foster widespread and sustainable economic growth. Economic growth is the surest route out of poverty, and expanding and strengthening middle classes around the world will be key to creating the just and sustainable international order that lies at the heart of the United States’ national security strategy.
The QDDR embraces development as a process of assisted self-help in the furtherance of American interests and values. A developing country must be in charge and set its own goals for meeting the needs of its people. The U.S. government comes to the table as a partner, not a patron, lending resources and expertise and, eventually, putting itself out of business when a host country is self-sustaining.
Today, the Obama administration is putting that partnership model into practice in two signature initiatives that it announced over the past year: the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future, part of the administration’s broader global food-security initiative.
The Global Health Initiative recognizes that the landscape for health in many developing countries has improved over the years, due in part to George W. Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), his President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), and the contributions of many other countries and organizations. But this more crowded landscape does not necessarily improve health outcomes efficiently or for the long term.
The fundamental purpose of the Global Health Initiative is to put an end to isolated and sporadic care by tying individual health programs – PEPFAR; the PMI; and programs regarding maternal and children’s health, family planning, neglected tropical diseases, and other critical health areas – together in an integrated, coordinated, and sustainable system of care, with the affected countries themselves in the lead.
The Feed the Future initiative is based on the same principles. To give one example, Bangladesh is developing its own food-security investment plan based in part on consultations in a public forum with more than 500 representatives from civil society, academia, think tanks, and the private sector. The strategy has been reviewed by independent technical experts and is being further refined by national leaders and other experts. The U.S. government is now developing an investment plan in support of Bangladesh’s strategy, in full collaboration with other governments and international donors.
This is what partnership looks like in practice. Partner governments will almost certainly choose to do things differently from how the United States might, or they might outline different priorities. Vetting and investing in these governments’ plans may take longer than delivering services ourselves. But the result promises a sustainable strategy that will continue even after U.S. assistance has ended.
The QDDR also focuses on the diplomatic side of effective development policy, arguing for building much stronger and more systematic links between the State Department and USAID both in Washington and in the field.
Diplomacy can support development policy in different ways. The United States’ most important diplomatic effort with China in recent years – the Strategic and Economic Dialogue – includes high-level discussions about development and about what it means to the two countries’ respective and collective efforts in Africa and elsewhere. Before the 2009 meeting of the G-8 in L’Aquila, Italy, high-level engagement with partner governments enabled the United States to secure a $20 billion international commitment to promoting food security, building a coalition of countries willing to contribute. And at the 2009 Summit of the Americas, President Obama launched the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, bringing together all the democratically elected governments in the hemisphere to work toward a shared goal of clean, renewable, and inexpensive energy sources. As part of that effort, the United States and Brazil are helping seven energy-poor Central American and Caribbean countries develop their own biofuels. This will promote sustainable economic development and regional integration and help reduce dependence on imported Venezuelan oil.
But diplomacy and development can only be mutually reinforcing if the U.S. government also get its own house in order. The first step is to move beyond agency “stovepiping” and use all the talent and expertise within the federal government. The Global Health Initiative, for example, is jointly led by the USAID administrator, the U.S. global AIDS coordinator, and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their agencies, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the Peace Corps, work together under my overall guidance and direction. This unique leadership structure strengthens coordination at every level, from the White House down.
The QDDR also recommends specific internal reforms within USAID, some of which have already begun. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah has laid out an aggressive set of operational priorities called USAID Forward, which are designed to make the agency more effective, accountable, and transparent. In coordination with other QDDR recommendations, USAID Forward concentrates on procurement, people, and policy.
Procurement reform has as its goal the building of local capacities in the countries where the United States works by drawing on the talent and expertise of small businesses and nongovernmental organizations. Senegal, for example, has more than 1,400 so-called health huts, where local health workers trained by USAID provide basic and often lifesaving treatments, lowering costs and moving the country closer to the day when U.S. aid will no longer be necessary.
To reform policy, USAID has already created the new Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning. Evidence-based development must be more than a notion; it must become reality. We will measure our investments not by the number of programs run but by the number of children nourished or vaccinated and by the number of people benefiting from clean water, electricity, teachers, medicine, or jobs. We will also make sure that taxpayer dollars are well spent, by gathering baseline data, surveying development indicators before projects are launched, and then measuring those same indicators over the lives of the projects. Where our approaches are successful, we will replicate them and scale them up. Where they are not, we will admit it, learn from our failures, and come up with a better idea.
USAID will also rely on the innovations of science and technology to help it work better, cheaper, and faster in the pursuit of high-impact development. Cell phones have already transformed the lives of countless people in sub-Saharan Africa. Imagine what the world would look like if off-grid renewable energy provided illumination to billions of people now living in the dark or if more kinds of drought-resistant seeds existed for farmers in the developing world. The QDDR endorses USAID’s creation of Development Innovation Ventures, by which creative solutions will be funded, piloted, and brought to scale.
Just recently, USAID funded the trial of a vaginal microbicide that reduces the transmission of HIV/AIDS by 30 percent, a major breakthrough in preventing HIV transmission that will give women more control over their health. USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined forces recently to create mobile banking in Haiti, building on effective programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. USAID is also inviting top scientists and entrepreneurs to help it find cost-effective, simple ways to provide clean water, vaccines, inexpensive but durable computers, microgenerators, medical kits, and applications for cell phones.
As the State Department and USAID undertake these efforts, we will broaden our partnerships. Twenty years ago, the development community did not exist far beyond the walls of USAID. Today, it includes corporate leaders, philanthropists, foundations, and advocates, all of whom add new skills and perspectives. Equally important are the grass-roots leaders: the religious groups, the students, and other activists who lend their passion and energy to humanitarian efforts. These advocates and entrepreneurs are willing to challenge old orthodoxies and bring a new mindset to their work. We will partner with them to get results.
Building Peace and Stability
American civilians have long operated in conflict zones and fragile states. But now, U.S. diplomats and development experts are being asked to undertake missions of a scale and a scope never seen before. The United States’ task in Iraq is to lead a broad mission in support of the Iraqi people as they build a multiethnic democratic state. At the same time, the United States is responsible in Afghanistan for helping reduce the strength of the insurgency there, improve governance, and promote stability that will last after U.S. troops return home. In Pakistan, Washington is assisting a government and a society buffeted by the global economic recession, natural disasters, and regional instability, while supporting a counterterrorism and counterinsurgency campaign. Today, 20 percent of the U.S. diplomatic corps and nearly ten percent of U.S. development professionals are stationed in these three countries – where democracy is young, institutions are struggling to serve local populations, society is ethnically or religiously divided, and security is an ongoing challenge. Beyond those countries, the United States is working to stabilize fragile states from Somalia and Sudan to Haiti and Kyrgyzstan.
Given this unprecedented situation, the State Department needs to ask unprecedented questions: As we plan for the transition in Iraq, how will we protect our embassy in Baghdad and our consulate in Basra? How will we ensure the security of reconstruction experts who must work alongside Iraqi colleagues in villages and towns across the country? How will we generate the sustained manpower to fulfill our many ongoing and diverse commitments in Iraq?
The United States had 170,000 troops in Iraq during the surge in 2007; today, there are 50,000 U.S. troops assigned to support Iraqi government forces. On the ground are about 1,600 civilians – diplomats, stabilization and reconstruction experts, and development professionals in charge of helping Iraq transition to a stable and prosperous democracy. Similarly, in Afghanistan, the U.S. contribution to reconstruction and redevelopment is now led by about 1,100 diplomats and civilian experts who will remain there after U.S. troops are gone.
These numbers say something important about civilian power and leadership. Properly trained and equipped, civilians are force multipliers. One effective diplomat or development expert can leverage as many as ten local partners, and when local partners build their own capacities and networks, communities become stronger and more resilient.
Civilian leadership in addressing conflict and instability also depends on marshaling and leveraging the varied assets of the U.S. government as a whole. Under the leadership of strong ambassadors and agency representatives, collaboration among American civilians from across the government has reached new levels in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere. Washington is pooling the expertise of civilians at the State Department and USAID, as well as at the Departments of Justice, Commerce, the Treasury, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and other agencies. The United States cannot succeed in these fragile states if these agencies are not working together. That means organizing the internal branches of the U.S. government with a focus on integration, cohesion, and problem solving. For example, the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan – in which 16 agencies are represented – was created to overcome agency compartmentalization and achieve a comprehensive strategy.
The QDDR also draws on the talents of the Civilian Response Corps, which has identified hundreds of civilian experts across the government who can be quickly deployed to conflict zones or fragile states. I sent the CRC’s expeditionary conflict and security experts to Southern Sudan, where the United States is mounting a civilian surge around the southern capital of Juba to prepare for the January 2011 referendum that will determine whether Southern Sudan secedes from the North.
The QDDR recommends building rapid-response diplomatic teams and cultivating specially trained experts who can operate effectively over the longer term amid conflict and instability. Since the end of the Cold War, the State Department and USAID have steadily taken on more missions in difficult and dangerous places, from Lebanon to Bosnia to East Timor. Moving forward, both agencies will create a joint operating framework and response plan that will allow them to work more effectively together and with other agencies. Within this framework, the State Department will lead in complex political crises, and USAID will lead in disaster response, building on its ability to get relief supplies and recovery workers into the field within 24 hours after a disaster strikes.
In Yemen, the U.S. embassy is working to address poor economic conditions and the ravages of poverty in a country that has recently faced a secessionist movement in the south, a rebellion in the north, and a persistent threat from al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula. Through the Friends of Yemen – a forum of countries and multilateral organizations working with the government of Yemen to identify practical solutions to the country’s problems – and through concentrated efforts to stabilize fragile local communities and to create opportunities for economic growth, the United States is trying to help the Yemeni government provide better services for its citizens and to prevent conflict. The QDDR anticipates more situations requiring rapidly deployable civilian teams of diplomats, stabilization and reconstruction experts, and development professionals that can meet U.S. needs in places such as Sudan or Yemen while also mounting larger efforts in other countries at the same time.
Poverty and repression do not automatically engender terrorism, but countries that are impoverished, corrupt, lawless, or mired in recurring cycles of conflict are more prone to becoming havens for terrorists and other criminals. Al Qaeda first operated out of Sudan and bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania before migrating to Afghanistan, then a country notable for its poverty, high infant mortality, and repressive Taliban government. It is no coincidence that al Qaeda is most active today in underdeveloped nations such as Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Beyond terrorism and violent extremism, drug cartels, criminal gangs funded by the illicit exploitation of natural resources, and gender-based sexual violence can also dramatically undermine governments in ways that can have dangerous consequences for an entire region.
On the positive side, civilian power has worked effectively with military forces to impede conflict and to contribute to stability. In Liberia, as fighting between rebel groups and government forces under the leadership of Charles Taylor intensified and as the humanitarian situation deteriorated, the United States undertook intense diplomatic efforts, including public calls for Taylor’s resignation, as well as military deployments to the region, to help shore up the peacekeeping efforts of the Economic Community of West African States. Taylor’s resignation paved the way for a comprehensive peace agreement that led to the end of Liberia’s conflict and set the stage for Liberia’s stabilization and reconstruction efforts. Both the United Nations and the United States continue to partner with Liberia as it rebuilds social and economic infrastructure destroyed by years of conflict. Achieving a more stable and peaceful world depends on the success of all these types of missions – from Iraq and Afghanistan to West Africa – and on the United States’ and other countries’ ability to mount more of them.
The American people must understand that spending taxpayer dollars on diplomacy and development is in their interest, especially when those investments support missions in conflict zones, fragile states, and states that can play a responsible role in their regions and in the world. And Congress, which has a long tradition of bipartisan support for traditional diplomacy and development, must appreciate the scale and scope of the reconstruction and stabilization missions that U.S. civilians are being asked to undertake.
The House and the Senate have appropriated hundreds of billions of dollars for the military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. The diplomatic and development activities there represent a fraction of that cost, yet the funding often gets bogged down in old debates over foreign aid. It is time to move beyond the past and to recognize diplomacy and development as national security priorities and smart investments in the United States’ future stability and security. These missions can succeed, but only with the necessary congressional leadership and support. Congress must provide the necessary funding now.
The Dividends of Civilian Power
An emphasis on civilian power is in keeping with America’s history and traditions. The Marshall Plan was a civilian development initiative undertaken with European governments. Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the drafting committee that produced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Decades before the term “soft power” was coined, President John F. Kennedy founded the Peace Corps to show the world a different face of the United States. The American scientist Norman Borlaug was responsible for the “green revolution” that fed millions of hungry people. U.S. diplomats helped negotiate the reunification of Europe in 1991 without a shot fired. Meanwhile, Americans have enjoyed the world’s admiration because of their spirit of innovation, their abundant goodwill, and their audacious belief that technological, social, and political advances can and must be used to improve the lives of human beings around the world.
The men and women who volunteer for the United States armed forces exemplify this spirit. So do the growing number of people who work for the civilian agencies that advance U.S. interests around the world. With the right balance of civilian and military power, the United States can advance its interests and values, lead and support other nations in solving global problems, and forge strong diplomatic and development partnerships with traditional allies and newly emerging powers. And we can rise to the challenges of the world in the twenty-first century and meet the tests of America’s global leadership.
Re-published with permission by the Foreign Affairs magazine. Visit the original article.