Monday, May 4, 2009

What’s Wrong with a U.S. Budget that allocates 90% of funds to the Defense Department, 7% to Intelligence, and 3.5% to the State Department?

Cross-posted at the Widdershins

I scan online news sources daily and despite some startling information, I’ve found very little coverage of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Keynote Address and Town Hall Meeting at the Plenary Session of Foreign Affairs Day held on May 1, 2009 at the Dean Acheson Auditiorium in Washington, DC.

I’ve even checked out Hillary’s Big News Page at the Huffington Post where the top half of the page features a photo of Hillary and one of the Dalai Lama. The Hillary item accuses the secretary of state of copying Michelle Obama’s belted style.

On that note, let’s turn to Secretary Clinton’s important speech and town hall last Friday in which she states:

I see our work as really based on principled and pragmatic partnerships. Bill Burns referenced how we are trying to tend, once again, a lot of the important relationships that we have in the world, while we reach out and deal with the crises and the opportunities. And let me just give you a brief snapshot.

We’ve reinforced our relationships with key allies and historic partners in Europe and Asia. We’ve engaged emerging nations and pivotal regional actors on issues of common concern, from climate change and energy, to democracy and good governance, and regional and global security.

We know very well that the work we’ve done so far to strengthen our relationships throughout this hemisphere and around the world are just a beginning. We don’t have any illusions about how challenging the environment is that we are navigating. But we are encouraged by the positive responses that we have received to date.

Secretary Clinton also noted:

I testified yesterday with Secretary Gates, who is quite passionate about increasing the resources for diplomacy and development. And I was delighted to sit beside him while he made that case for us. Now, there’s a difference between making a case and getting the money – (laughter) – but better that the case be made than not. And I know that Secretary Gates is going to be a great partner with us.

During the town hall meeting, a participant addressed Secretary Clinton’s vision of her job and the issue of resources for the state department, offering some shocking statistics:

Madame Secretary, thank you very much for your vision of your job, which is an unusual one, an exceptional one – being both the Secretary of State and also the CEO of the Department of State is a critical fusion. Too many secretaries that we’ve had have had a vision of the policy but not a leadership role in terms of getting the resources to implement the policy. You are doing both. I thank you.

America’s statecraft is out of whack. I’m Tek Cyrus, by the way. (Laughter.) America’s statecraft budget is about a trillion dollars…Something is wrong. What can we do as Foreign Service retirees to develop and help you in balancing our statecraft portfolio, which has now invested 90 percent in military, 7 percent in intelligence, and 3.5 percent in diplomacy? That’s wrong. It’s wrong for America. It’s wrong for our future. Thank you.

Secretary Clinton replied:

Thank you. Well – (applause) – I think that speaking out, contacting members of Congress, particularly the Appropriations committees, contacting the White House, just making the case as to why we need the resources that we are requesting. We think that we can begin to rebalance that mix. But it’s not going to be easy and we need a lot of voices out there talking about why it’s important. So I appreciate that.

I’m thinking all U.S. citizens who care about how our country relates to the rest of the world are obligated to speak out against the disgraceful allocation of resources described by Tek Cyrus.

For a complete transcription of Secretary Clinton’s speech and town hall meeting, go here.

Watch video below.

No comments:

Post a Comment