The New U.S. Commitment to Afghanistan Needs a Soft Power Strategy

Security issues in Afghanistan receive almost 100% of the attention in Washington. However, a political and economic strategy are also needed. Afghanistan has progressed over the last fifteen years, with economic successes, some public services (like health and education) from the central government, and a freer people. The U.S. and other allies need to continue …

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Reviewing Shapeholders: The Rise of Super-Empowered, Hyper-Connected Non-State Actors

We are in an age of super-empowered, hyper-connected non-state actors.  Non-state actors include faith based groups, civil society, private companies, and philanthropy.  The World Economic Forum estimates there are ten times as many international NGOs today as there were in 1990. In addition, the number of billionaires has increased in the past five years from 1,226 in 2012 to 2,043 …

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Is Rule Of Law At Risk In El Salvador?

El Salvador made great economic progress after its brutal civil war ended in 1992. From 1992 to 2009, the ARENA party ran El Salvador and made marked economic improvements under three successive ARENA governments. Poverty decreased and competitiveness and investment increased between 1992 and 2004. El Salvador even reached the coveted “investment grade”credit rating per some financial evaluations[1], a status signaling minimal …

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President Trump Is Visiting Poland, A Staunch US Ally And US Foreign Assistance ‘Graduate’

President Trump is visiting Poland on Thursday.  Poland may not be going through its best moment right now with its fellow European Union countries but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a country that has gone through a remarkably successful transition.  Poland’s economic growth, its stable democracy and its highly positive view of the United …

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USTDA Is Tailor-Made For The Trump Administration

If one were to design an agency specifically for the Trump Administration, you would have created the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). USTDA generates $85 in U.S. exports for every $1 spent on their programs. Last year alone, USTDA generated $12 billion in export value and supported nearly 66,000 jobs largely in manufacturing in the United States. …

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Meeting The World’s Food, Water And Energy Needs: A Reason For Optimism

How will we feed the 9 billion people that will live on this planet in a few decades? Will we have enough water for all these people to drink? Will there be sufficient water to grow the food we will eat, and to cultivate the consumables we will desire?  Will we have enough energy to power …

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We Shouldn’t Be Eliminating OPIC, We Should be Putting it On Steroids

The Trump Administration has a mandate to change the way the U.S. Government does business. As I’ve written elsewhere, we should conduct a top to bottom review of our “soft power” to understand what works and what does not.  We should prioritize activities that make us safer and help create U.S. jobs.  A top to bottom review …

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The Data Revolution in Developing Countries Has a Long Way to Go

Functioning governments require large and growing amounts of data. Birth and death rates. Crime and weather patterns. Demographic and traffic changes. Governments since at least Roman times have always sought more and better data. Civil society organizations, the private sector, media outlets and governments look to official statistics for accurate and actionable information. Governments that …

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