Thursday, July 14, 2011

“Invest In U.S. Global Leadership”: Former Members Of Congress

Despite having different political opinions, former members of Congress, Tom Daschle and Tom Ridge agree on one fact: when it comes to the issue of America’s security and prosperity, there is no alternative of continued engagement and U.S. leadership around the world. They also stated that, making disproportionate cuts to U.S. investments in diplomacy and international development would be a serious mistake especially in time like this.

In answering the question, how investment in global partnership can help U.S. economy, the former members pointed out that, increasing America’s share of exports will require substantial investments in programs that forge international partnerships, open new markets and help develop local environment where U.S. products and services can be sold successfully. The 1% international affairs budget can do just that.

Over the past 40 years, U.S. trade has tripled as a share of national economy, and nearly half of all U.S. exports now go to the developing world. The authors quoted Tom Donohue, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “95 percent of the people we want to sell something to live somewhere other than the United States.” Not only that a majority of the 500 largest companies currently receive more than half their revenues from foreign sales.

Not only economic reasons, but also the national security reason emphasizes the importance of U.S. investment in diplomacy which is why prominent military leaders like former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, are such strong advocates for the full funding of the international affairs budget. The former Congressmen underscore the significance of the initiative, “Impact 2012: Building a Better, Safer World, a nonpartisan education effort that calls on candidates of both parties to commit to protecting and strengthening U.S. strategic investments in development and diplomacy. After all, when it comes to the point where country’s security and prosperity are at stake, every other issue just falls short.

-Nisha Noor