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U.S. Foreign Policy Needs ‘Thoughtful’ Reforms, Fully Empowered, Coordinated Diplomacy, Development Functions

Reuters: Commentary: The best way to fix U.S. diplomacy
Richard G. Lugar, former U.S. Senator from Indiana and former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Thomas Pickering, former under secretary of state and former ambassador

“American foreign policy currently stands at a crossroads. There are two possible paths forward: withdrawal from the world as a result of the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the international affairs budget, or a reassertion of America’s indispensable global role led by a capable, modern State Department and an empowered, adequately-funded U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). … International engagement is in America’s economic and security interests, and we must support our civilian agencies in their unique and mutually-reinforcing missions. The national security of the United States will suffer greatly if the true purpose of the Trump administration’s reorganization of the State Department and USAID is to shrink the role of or force a merger of our civilian foreign policy agencies. What is needed are thoughtful reforms that enhance our foreign policy capacity and strength through fully empowered and coordinated diplomacy and development functions. … We know from experience that changes will only be sustained through an inclusive and cooperative interagency process, consultations with outside experts, and bipartisan engagement. At this critical crossroads, we urge administration officials, members of Congress, and the broader foreign policy community to work together and ensure that our nation’s diplomacy and development institutions are equipped to meet today’s global challenges to achieve a safer, more stable and prosperous world” (2/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.