Thursday, October 02, 2008

AFRICOM: DOD's New "Soft Power"?

Diplopundit has an interesting piece today about AFRICOM, which was stood up today.

Diplopundit writes:

Pittman writes that "from the beginning, AFRICOM was cast as a different kind of command, one that would focus American military might not on fighting wars, but on preventing them through "soft power." And that as part of the new approach, a civilian deputy equal to Moeller was appointed to coordinate humanitarian operations with other U.S. agencies. AFRICOM's "interagency" makeup was trumpeted as a better way to meet the continent's development needs."

The civilian deputy equivalent to Moeller has the official title, "Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities," and that is Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates. She will reportedly direct the command's plans and programs associated with health, humanitarian assistance and de-mining action, disaster response, security sector reform, and Peace Support Operations. She also directs Outreach, Strategic Communication and AFRICOM's partner-building functions, as well as assuring that policy development and implementation are consistent with U.S. Foreign Policy.

That makes me feel better. I guess I should say, congratulations for coming into being. But now this is getting me a tad confused. I thought State has the "soft power" while Defense has the "hard" part. Hmmn....that must have changed during the commercial. I hate it when they do that, don't you?

Militarization of our foreign policy? Now don't you believe what you read. In individual countries, U.S. Ambassadors will continue to be the President's personal representatives in diplomatic relations with host nations. State will continue to be the primary foreign policy arm; USAID will continue to be the development arm. Yup! Yup! Except that State is counting pennies and paper clips (don't know about AID, too many stubbed toes under one confusing roof right now) and DOD has the money.

You can read the entire post here.

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