Latest news

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • Friday, May 06, 2022 9:00 AM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    Each year the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire bestows the Global Leadership award to a New Hampshire person, business, or organization who has shown leadership in promoting international knowledge and understanding by expanding New Hampshire’s global connections. Past recipients of the award include Howard Brodsky, Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, Dr. Paul LeBlanc, and other prominent community members. This year, WACNH is honored to name David Tille, Director of Veteran Services at Harbor Care, as the ninth recipient of this prestigious award.

    David has long spent time creating and expanding global relationships, both as a part of his personal and professional life. From his time in the U.S. Army (certified as a Russian Language specialist), to his degree with a focus in International Administration, Economics, and Political Science, and his time leading Young Rescuers USA (an international first responders’ program for youth), he has created a great legacy of global connections over the years.

    “We could not be happier to add Dave to our list of amazing recipients of this award,” said Tim Horgan, WACNH executive director. “I have worked closely with Dave on several internationally focused projects, and he has shown strong support for the work of the Council for many years. Most of all, he has been a wonderful host to many of our exchange visitors who have come to NH, including three members of Ukraine’s Parliament who visited last year.”

    David has long been a supporter of global engagement and understanding, which will culminate with his efforts to bring Lech Walesa, former President of Poland, to New Hampshire to help raise funds for Ukraine relief. In addition to several wonderful opportunities for the people of New Hampshire to meet with this pivotal global leader, David has helped lead a fundraising drive that has raised close to $1 million in cash and supplies for Ukraine. It is efforts like this that shine a light on David’s global leadership. By activating various supporters, David has shown the difference a community can make.

    “I am both humbled and honored to receive this recognition from the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire.  We can all make a difference in making the world a better place,” said Tille. “The Council understands the global impact of the challenges facing the people of Ukraine. Manifestly, this relief effort has involved the time, energy, and generosity of many people, and I share this honor with them.”

    The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire will present this award to David Tille on May 17 at their annual Global Forum Signature Fundraiser, aptly focused on the future of N.A.T.O. Held at the DoubleTree in downtown Manchester, the event will feature former N.A.T.O. Ambassador Douglas Lute and former State Department Deputy Secretary for International Security, Victoria Holt.

    More information and registration for this event can be found at bit.ly/NATO-Future

  • Tuesday, April 19, 2022 3:42 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    Summer Diplomatic Academy

    IN PERSON & ONLINE | July 5-29, 2022

    The Washington International Diplomatic Academy's summer course is a unique practical professional training program that introduces undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent graduates, to careers in international diplomacy by allowing them to learn from and work with career ambassadors with decades of experience.

    The program covers the fundamentals of diplomatic practice and focuses on real-world aspects of work in embassies, consulates, government agencies, international organizations and global NGOs. The instructors are professional diplomats who have served in dozens of countries around the world. They teach the skills they learned by practicing diplomacy and managing international relations, with simulation exercises and case studies derived from their own careers. They offer insight into policy-making and implementation, diplomatic protocol, the functions and management of embassies and consulates, diplomatic reporting and writing, negotiation and mediation, political and economic tradecraft, public diplomacy, cross-cultural communication and other competencies.

    Students can apply for $1,000 partial scholarships toward the tuition fee. Please click here for more details. The application deadline is April 30, 2022.


  • Wednesday, March 30, 2022 11:07 AM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    Over the past two years, many global connections have suffered due to shutdowns, restrictions, and other safety measures implemented to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes traditionally strong relationships, such as seen between New Hampshire and Canada who have a long history of economic, cultural, and familial connections. As the world begins to move from pandemic to endemic, it is a good time to work on revitalizing these relationships which will help communities grow and thrive.

    On April 5th at 6:00 pm, the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire will host an in-person and online conversation with the Canadian Consul General to Boston on the U.S.-Canada Partnership and what it means for the state. Tourism, exports, cross-border communities, and other regional connections drive the economy, which is poised to grow as restrictions are lifted.

    “For centuries, the cultures, economies, and lives of people living in New Hampshire and eastern Canada have intermingled to the benefit of all,” said Tim Horgan, WACNH executive director. “As we move out of the pandemic, the critical work of revitalizing these connections begins now. The opportunity to hear from the Consul General is a first step towards aligning the needs of the region and getting on the same path toward economic growth.”

    According to the most recent data, Canada is the second largest trade market for New Hampshire businesses, with over $13 million in cross border activity. This does not include the major impact that tourism plays for both economies, as thousands of visitors cross the border each year. While many people had to adjust to the new realities of the pandemic, normal trips and economic relations will push the region forward once again.

    Remarks from Consul General Cuzner will focus on the recent truckers' protest in Ottawa, the current state of Canadian politics, energy, trade, tourism and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the Consul General's remarks, there will be a moderated Question and Answer session. This program will help business leaders identify opportunities for growth and every day citizens to learn more about where the future of this relationship lies. Opportunities for both in-person and online attendance are available.

    More information and registration for this event is at wacnh.org/event-4742405.

  • Tuesday, March 29, 2022 12:04 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    “I’m proud to stand with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their land, freedom and future. Vladimir Putin’s premeditated, unprovoked war is reaping devastation throughout Ukraine as towns are leveled, civilian infrastructures are targeted and innocent women and children are killed by the savage Russian campaign. His actions are reverberating across the world and in Europe in particular, where our allies are responding to more than 3 million refugees forced from their homes. The United States will continue to support our democratic partners as they defend their sovereignty with continued military assistance and humanitarian aid, and reinforcements to our frontline NATO allies. What happens in Ukraine matters – it matters for the people of Ukraine, for Europe, for the United States and for the future of liberal democracies around the globe. As Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I’ll continue to work across the aisle to help Ukraine and ensure Putin pays for his crimes.”

    – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

  • Wednesday, March 23, 2022 10:00 AM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    This week, an emergency NATO summit will convene in Brussels to deal with Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.  It is clearly designed to reinforce allied unity in opposition to Vladimir Putin’s war – to put spine into any allied slackers, especially on sanctions against Russia. It should help coordinate the supply of arms to Ukraine, working out the terms and conditions: what and who and how, as well as what not to do lest Putin decides, because of these actions, to escalate the conflict even further. Russia has already warned Poland by bombing near its frontier; and Poland has pulled back from its offer to supply fighter aircraft directly to Ukraine. Most important, the summit needs to show Putin that he cannot split the Alliance politically, even by looking to NATO outliers, notably Viktor Orban’s Hungary or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey.

    But something with even greater significance for the longer term needs to be on the agenda, even if only in secret session or in small groups: to start the effort to rebuild NATO’s credibility as an alliance and America’s as its leader.  Make no mistake: their credibility has taken a hard knock from Putin’s decision to invade, and awareness of that weakening of credibility is so far being obscured only by the stiff fight being put up by Ukraine’s military forces, its people, and its amazing president, Volodymyr Zelensky.  He is implicitly defying Putin to do his worst, and the Ukrainian nation and people will continue to resist. If nothing else, there is the national memory of Stalin’s starvation of nearly 4 million Ukrainians in the early 1930s, the Holodomor.

    Damage to US and NATO credibility over the matter of Ukraine can trace its history at least as far back as the 2008 Bucharest summit, when President G.W. Bush proposed that Ukraine (and Georgia) be enrolled in Membership Action Plans (MAPs), the next-to-last step before becoming allies. This was a decisive move beyond the 1997 NATO-Ukraine Charter and consultative Council, which provided no security guarantees. Most allies resisted, including because they were not prepared to take the risk of pushing NATO right up to Russia and straddling the traditional invasion route into the heart of Europe – in both directions and with long memories. How would Russia respond to such a step?

    But the European allies also recognised that, although moving Ukraine and Georgia toward NATO membership had to be ruled out, the US president could not be sent home empty-handed. So the summit declared that both countries “will become members” of the alliance. Those words were designed to put off consideration of NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia to the indefinite future (“never,” in the eyes of many European allies.) But in their haste, NATO’s leaders obviously did not understand the full import of that statement.  It signaled that the two countries were geopolitically so important to the West that they would definitely be brought into the alliance, whatever Russia thought: in plain English, it was thus the actual moment of commitment.  

    Soon thereafter, Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, tested the proposition by using military force to try reclaiming occupied parts of South Ossetia, only to be defeated by Russian forces.  Not a single NATO ally sent troops to defend Georgia. Finis, for any practical purposes, to “will become members” of NATO.

    Yet instead of putting the commitment into George Orwell’s Memory Hole, NATO has repeated the formulation at every summit and ministerial meeting, and, until just before Putin’s 2022 invasion, top leaders of the Biden administration were still harping on NATO’s “open door” to Ukraine’s membership, even though it is a fantasy.  This last observation is based on two interrelated facts. First, NATO takes all decisions by consensus – a unit veto; and second, many allies have already made clear that would never be willing, in response to aggression against Ukraine (on Russia’s border), to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Treaty: that “…an armed attack against one or more [ally]….shall be considered an attack against them all…” Thus Ukraine will never be admitted to NATO.

    Nothing can justify what Putin has been doing, including what are clearly war crimes.  And it is necessary, not just for Ukraine but also for the future of European security, that Russia not prevail and that any settlement of the conflict, even short-term, must include withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine. Indeed, the “will become members” statement, repeated over and over, created a political and moral commitment to Ukraine (and to Georgia), raising legitimate expectations but with no honest intention of fulfilling them, while providing no deterrence of possible (now actual) Russian aggression: for these two countries the worst of all worlds.

    By extension, the failure of NATO, especially its leader, the United States, at least so far to honor the full meaning of the “will become members” pledge is creating a deep crisis of credibility for both NATO and the US. This is not to argue that the United States should have risked major escalation by Biden’s not declaring at the outset of Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine that the US would not become directly involved militarily.  (He had valid reasons: both because the American people want no new wars where the United States is not itself attacked; and Biden could see that most allies would take time to step up to the mark, even on imposing sanctions, much less on providing military aid to Ukraine.)

    But even with these plausible arguments, thoughtful European leaders are beginning to ponder whether the US Article 5 commitment to the security of NATO countries remains sacrosanct. Reflecting on the war in Ukraine, even though it is not formally a member of NATO, would the United States really go to war for a European ally if the US itself were not under attack?

    Doubts fostered by President Donald Trump, because of his erratic behavior toward European security and relations with Russia, were supposedly redeemed by Biden’s becoming US president.  But now doubts are reemerging. They have several sources.  Most pertinent: if Putin were to get away with crushing Ukraine, would the three Baltic states feel safe if he moved militarily in their direction? Everyone knows that they are militarily indefensible, like West Berlin in the Cold War.  But the “correlation of forces” and shared risks of escalation do not this time provide a basis for deterring the Russians as the Soviet Union was deterred then.  Second, if Ukraine from 2008 onward was judged to be sufficiently important strategically to “will become” a member of NATO, what does that say for countries which, while having formal NATO membership, have less strategic value? On the Eastern edges of NATO, only Poland has first-line strategic importance.

    The European allies are dependent on the role of the United States in dealing with any challenge from Russia: this has been clear since the late 1940s. That mostly explains why the European allies invoked NATO’s Article 5 for the United States the day after 9/11 (Washington didn’t ask for it); and why they sent troops to Afghanistan: primarily so that the United States would not be heavily distracted from its critical role in dealing with Russia.

    No one in the Alliance has yet wondered out loud whether the US commitment to NATO security is any longer sufficiently credible.  But the analysis already exists, based on America’s failing to understand the geopolitical folly of pressing for a MAP for Ukraine (and Georgia) in 2008 and still being committed to the “open door” right up to the eve of this year’s war.  European doubts about US credibility have also stemmed from US emphasis on a “pivot” to Asia, the muddled withdrawal from Afghanistan last year (though withdrawing itself gained approval), and what has seemed to many Europeans to be a lower American priority for several years for relations with Europe, including in security terms.

    Restoring US (and hence NATO) credibility to the level it must have is a tall order. (US credibility in Europe is also important for East Asian allies and partners.)  It has to begin at the Brussels NATO summit, beyond actions against Russia’s invasion that focus on radical increases in military support to Ukraine, plus steps to bolster security of exposed NATO members and an end to misleading Kyiv that Ukraine will be able to join NATO. The alliance, and particularly the United States, must also recognize, if only sotto voce for now, how serious the credibility problem has become and the need for it to rise to the top of the long-term US and NATO foreign policy agenda.

    ***************

    Access. Engagement. Resolution.

    The Ambassador Partnership LLP is a unique specialist partnership of former Ambassadors with unrivalled networks of influence in almost 100 countries.  We provide discreet services to resolve your international problems and to improve your capacity to operate effectively wherever you need to. 

    By: 

    Robert E. Hunter served as US Ambassador to NATO and as chief White House official for Europe and the Middle East. He was Senior International Consultant to Lockheed-Martin from 1998 - 2013.  He has written speeches for three US presidents and three vice presidents and provides coaching in strategic planning, political and executive communications and media handling. 

  • Wednesday, March 02, 2022 12:07 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire thanks Senator Hassan for providing this statement on the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. We are working with New Hampshire's Congressional Delegation, as well as the Governor to collect their statements, to provide as information to our audiences. If we receive additional statements, we will share them here.

    "Russia's unprovoked and unconscionable invasion of a sovereign nation is a direct threat not only to the people of Ukraine, but to peace, freedom, and security in every corner of the world. In face of Russian aggression, we have seen the bravery of Ukrainian citizens on full display as they have fought - and continue to fight - against the Russian army. We offer our prayers and compassion for them as we continue to work with our allies to counter Vladimir Putin.

    The United States and our allies have already begun to levy crippling consequences on Putin and the Russian economy as a whole. We are also working to provide support to the Ukrainian people and our NATO allies. The sanctions announced by the White House last week and the new financial restrictions announced this week are unprecedented in scope and will severely impact Putin, his cronies, and the Russian economy.

    We are also working to support Ukrainians who are in the United States. This week, I joined with a bipartisan group of my colleagues in urging the Biden administration to designate Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status. This enables the administration to allow Ukrainian nationals who are already in the United States, whether for work or study, to stay here so that they are not forced to return to Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict.

    Additionally, the Biden administration must take strong action to mitigate the economic consequences of this crisis for the American people. I urge the President and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together to lower costs for Americans.

    The world must continue to act swiftly and decisively. Americans must also stand united – and with our allies – against Putin’s aggression and in support of the Ukrainian people." - Senator Maggie Hassan


  • Friday, February 25, 2022 2:07 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire would like to share the following open letter from Dana Kavara, a Ukrainian who visited New Hampshire in 2021. This is being shared for information purposes only and the views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Council, its sponsors, members, or donors.

    I, Dana Kavara, the group facilitator of the Open World Program, that is sponsored and supported by the United States Congress, in the light of the Russian invasion to sovereign Ukraine urge you to reach out to your House Representative and Senators with the following request:

    To significantly and immediately intensify the Ukrainian military assistance, in particular, with the modern mobile anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems of the Patriot Class. This is a time-sensitive issue since the current military reserves of Ukraine are counted in hours, not in weeks. With the proper equipment, our military is more than capable to defend our land without involving foreign personnel.

    To impose immediate sanctions on Russian Federation and each individual that stands behind this inhumane aggression. The sanctions package should target any economic and financial activities and assets associated with and owned by the people responsible for supporting the war in Ukraine. This includes but is not limited to disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system.

    Ukrainian nation and Ukrainian army are strong and combat-ready. We rely on our allies. At this particular point supporting Ukraine is to support democracies all over the world.

    My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.

    George Washington

    Sincerely,

    Dana Kavara


  • Friday, February 11, 2022 3:38 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    Tensions continue to rise in eastern Europe as Russia and the West vie for control over the region. Ukraine has always been a tipping point in this volatile relationship, as Russia sees it as a vital buffer in protecting their national security, while NATO views a potential partner in supporting democracy. The coming weeks seem to point towards escalation and, perhaps, a renewed invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire will explore the ongoing conflict to better understand the goals of all parties involved and to answer the critical question of why now.

    On February 14th at 6:00 pm, WACNH will host an online discussion with Dr. Anna Borshchevskaya, of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, to gain insights into Putin’s efforts to reshape the world to his greatest advantage. From Ukraine, to Syria, and beyond, Russia plays an increasingly important role and it is vital that the U.S. understands their goals and what effects they would have if left unchecked.

    “This complex situation has long ranging implications for the entire world,” said Tim Horgan, WACNH executive director. “If Russian aggression allowed to continue, not only does that empower authoritarian rulers around the world, it speaks volumes about the strength and resolve of western democracies to safeguard the liberal international order as it stands today.”

    From the invasion of Kosovo in 1999, to Georgia in 2009, and Ukraine in 2014, Vladimir Putin has tested the West’s resolve in both overt and covert ways. Ukraine has become a testing ground for all of Russia’s cyber-attacks, where they spread disinformation, cut off the power, and release extremely damaging computer viruses. It quickly becomes clear that a Russia left to its own devices, not only threatens its neighbors, but the security of any state that it views as a potential enemy.

    The remarks from Dr. Borshchevskaya will provide audience members with key insights into Putin’s overall foreign policy strategy, how the conflict in Ukraine supports his world view, and ways in which the U.S. and its allies can effectively push back. In a war weary country, such as the U.S., it is critical that its citizens understand all the options on the table and what is at stake.

    More information and registration for this event is at https://bit.ly/Crisis_in_Ukraine


  • Friday, February 11, 2022 3:36 PM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    Do you know a New Hampshire business woman who deserves recognition for her efforts to grow international connections for the state? The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire would love to hear about them for consideration of their 1st annual International Business Woman of the Year award. Nominations are due to the Council by February 23rd and the winner will be announced on March 8th in honor of International Women’s Day.

    International business plays a large role in the New Hampshire economy, with businesses exporting to over 180 countries around the world. Those businesses exported a total of $5.5 billion worth of goods, with another $6.93 billion imported to the state. Clearly, international trade is a major driver of economic development here for New Hampshire. This makes sense, as over 95% of the world’s market is located overseas.

    Presented in partnership with Business NH Magazine, the Center for Women and Enterprise, the NH Office of International Commerce, and Firebrand International, this award is designed to recognize the important contributions women have made to this field. From CEOs driving international connections, to project directors bringing new value to the market, the impact is undeniable.

    “While clear that women lead businesses are valued here in the state, they still lack recognition when it comes to their contributions to the internationalization of New Hampshire,” said Tim Horgan, WACNH executive director. “This award looks to not only recognize the winner each year, but to provide role models for young women in the state to consider a career path they may not have seen themselves in before.”

    More information on the award’s criteria and how to submit a nomination can be found on the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire’s website at https://wacnh.org/event-4680650. Please join WACNH and its partners in this effort to empower women making a global impact.


  • Tuesday, February 08, 2022 10:17 AM | Tim Horgan (Administrator)

    By Abrita Kuthumi - WACNH Intern

    August 30, 2021 marks an important day in foreign affairs history as the twenty year occupation of the United States in Afghanistan officially came to a close. Approximately 116,700 people- among them, U.S. troops, U.S. civilians, Special Immigrant Visa holders, and foreign nationals- were evacuated in the mission, according to The Washington Post. As the number of airlifts dwindled and ceased, months after the withdrawal, the focus shifted away from Afghanistan. However, the Afghanistan war cannot be easily forgotten because of the tremendous human and financial cost over the two decades: the accumulated death toll has been estimated to be above 117,587 and $145 billion dollars was invested to rebuild and stabilize the region. Beyond this data, there are countless people affected by the conflict. At all this expense, what have we learned from the Afghanistan war? 

    Until the Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report was published, many internal details of what preceded the chaotic exit were unknown to the larger public. SIGAR, an independent oversight program, which conducted inspections and investigations for Afghanistan reconstruction efforts, published a 140-page report in August 2021 which highlighted key lessons to take away for the future. The full report can be found here. Although the document briefly outlines the positive outcomes of U.S. programs, such as an increase in literacy levels, decrease in child mortality rate, and doubling of the gross domestic products, the report mostly delves into details of what went wrong and suggests what policies could be adopted to improve responses in the future. Since the report’s release, some policy reforms have taken shape, such as the first policy outlined below. However, policy reforms two and three take a longer time, as they deal with complex, internal work required by governmental agencies. 

    Policy #1: Congress should maintain or increase the budget of the State Department to help develop and implement a stabilization strategy with the support of the United States Agency for International Development.

    The State Department is the agency with the authority to spearhead overarching strategies abroad. However, given the budget of the State Department, which was (and still is) meager in comparison to the Department of Defense, there is a discrepancy between what is demanded and what can be realistically achieved. Foreign relations ought to be conducted through diplomacy rather than military, or hard power. However, since the Department of State’s budget has often ranged within the fifty billion dollars mark prior to 2021, there was a constraint on their efforts given the lack of resources. The State Department did not have the investment dollars which would allow the agency to take leadership and partner with other agencies, such as The United States Agency for International Development, to accomplish developmental goals. Whereas, the Department of Defense has always benefited from a much larger share of the national funding, often taking up 11 percent of the overall national budget, as reported by Peter G Peterson Foundation. In the fiscal year of 2020, the Department of Defense was able to spend $690 billion dollars. Provided the Department of Defense had the capacity, the agency naturally led the mission in Afghanistan instead. Since policy recommendations of expanding the budget of the State Department have been echoed over the years, there has been a sharp improvement since 2021, as demonstrated in Table I below. In fiscal year 2021, the funding reached $71.58 billion. However, this is only the beginning of building better diplomatic relations. In order to accomplish significant tasks, the US governmental agencies require assuming distinct responsibilities and filling the gap of each other. The table below demonstrates the responsibilities and gaps outlined in the report. 




    U.S. government agencies

    Department of State

    Department of Defense

    U.S. Agency for International Development

    National Security Council

    Responsibility

    To spearhead reconstruction efforts

    To follow the lead of State 

    To oversee spending of programs

    To develop national security policy

    Gaps

    Lack of expertise and resources; Funded Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (CRS) organization  but failed to achieve tangible goals; accountability standards were stringent compared to DOD; understaffing

    Lack of economic, policy, diplomacy, and development governance understanding

    Lack of resources or expertise; accountability standards were stringent compared to DOD; Actions could be overruled by the National Security Council, ex: Ring Road project at the expense of agricultural and governance programming

    Lack of process to oversee large scale reconstruction efforts



    Policy #2: The U.S. government should create due dates- not deadlines- based on the conditions on the ground and prioritize spending efficiently rather than quickly. 

    Due to the political pressure faced by top officials within the government, programs that ran on the ground in Afghanistan also felt the rush to demonstrate quick and visible achievements. Top-down deadlines were created within offices without the consideration for how projects would be realistically achieved. As one of the most well-respected development economist, William Easterly, explained in “The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good,” if planning and aid from Western nations was all it took for development, then there would be no global poverty. Planning rigorously is not enough; progress requires understanding the local context, which then requires flexibility in timelines. If not, programs are not sustainable for the long run. Perhaps, the most toxic element of all, the marker of success and progress was measured by how much money was spent and not by what was achieved. Money can be spent recklessly and therefore, solely relying on this metric is quite misleading. The investigators concluded that this element increased corruption and reduced the effectiveness of programs. 





    U.S. government strict top-to-bottom deadlines 

            ⇩

    Prioritized spending quickly for short-term solution

            ⇩

     Increased corruption and decreased effectiveness of program

    The example of the G222 planes is demonstrative of how money spent did not directly correspond to progress made. In 2008, the Department of Defense approved $549 million to provide the Afghan Air Force with G222 military transport planes. In 2014, six years later, the Department of Defense could not maintain the vehicle and sold the planes, which became useful only as scrap metal, worth merely $40,257. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Many billions of infrastructural investments, which are more tangible displays of progress, in Afghanistan were abandoned, destroyed, or unused after the completion of the project, according to the report (See chart below; created by author). 


    Policy #3: The U.S. government must understand the Afghan context and tailor its diplomatic and development efforts accordingly. 

    The third policy recommendation tackles an old problem in the US foreign policy efforts. Without understanding the local cultural context, the United States projects have attempted to establish entire new systems in a place that the Afghan people are unfamiliar with. Prior to the United States’s push on formal rule of law, 80- 90 percent of disputes in Afghanistan had been traditionally dealt with through informal means. Sure, from an American perspective, the formal rule of law provides stability and equality. However, these values can be encouraged but should not be imposed on a different society with different cultures. Beyond the sociocultural barriers, the geographical context is also important to understand. Afghanistan is a mountainous country with rigid terrains. The American school buildings and infrastructure models, which seemed to be the core focus of projects, could not be easily duplicated. 

    Although the SIGAR report provided many different policy recommendations, the three policies mentioned above were the top priorities that stood out as necessary to be emphasized for the future. Without the State Department initiatives on diplomacy, a more comprehensive measure of assessing the progress made by programs, and geographical and socio-cultural solutions that are catered to the region, these costly mistakes are bound to repeat. While the State Department's increased budget will likely help expand their capacity for the future, the reforms for the other two issues need more time for further evaluation.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL OF NH
2500 N. River Road - Manchester - NH - 03106

council@wacnh.org - (603) 314-7970

WACNH is an independent, non-profit, educational organization located on the campus of Southern New Hampshire University. © 2010-2021

    

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software