I've had a brief hiatus while I took a long weekend to visit family down South. So I will try to do a bit of catching up in the next few days. I hope you will bear with me.
WhirledView has a message for our next president regarding diplomacy and soft vs. hard power:
This guns-and-steel-first approach by which America has been engaging - or more accurately disengaging - the world throughout the past eight years has boomeranged. It has increased – not decreased – support for those who truly hate America. It has resulted in budget busting defense spending. It has created an overstretched and weary professional military unable to accomplish the Herculean tasks assigned it. And it is an unsung piece of the current financial crisis. This lethal concoction has weakened the country abroad and sapped our ability to meet our citizens’ needs at home.
Leading with Diplomacy: The Single Realistic Foreign Policy Option Left
The next president will, in reality, have only one foreign policy option. This is the imperative to rely far more on traditional diplomacy, public diplomacy and foreign aid delivered through civilian means to begin to repair America’s face and effectively conduct its business abroad. The military first “solution” has proven to be no solution. Fighting elusive militant terrorists ensconced in ungovernable areas is not akin to rolling back the Axis Powers in 1944 or facing off the Red Army and the Warsaw Pact over the Fulda Gap during the Cold War.
This system is in wrack and ruin and a new administration needs to change it sooner rather than later if it is to address America’s pressing foreign policy needs. Diplomacy is, in the end, our only option. We desperately need to change direction. To make it work effectively, those changes must begin at home.
You can read the entire piece here.
Anti-War comments on the issue as well:
While the Pentagon's budget has risen to heights not seen since World War II, US diplomatic and foreign aid assets have largely atrophied and must be quickly rebuilt by any new administration that takes office in January, according to a new report released here this week by former senior foreign service officers.
The report by the American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD) and the Henry L. Stimson Center is calling for a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of diplomats and aid and development specialists recruited into the foreign service over the next five years. This would cost about three billion dollars – or approximately what the Pentagon is currently spending every 10 days on military operations in Iraq – over current budget estimates.
''Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the diplomatic capacity of the United States has been hollowed out," according to the 26-page report, "A Foreign Affairs Budget for the Future." "The status quo cannot continue without serious damage to our vital interests."
The vacuum created by the lack of diplomatic resources – particularly in comparison to the Pentagon's budget and manpower – has translated into the militarization of US foreign policy, warns the report.
You can read that entire piece here.