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Foreign Affairs Mark-Up Hearing

I attended the House Foreign Affairs Committee Mark-Up Hearing for the Foreign Relations Authorization Bill today, and I was pleased to see that the Bill will be accepted with limited amendments. The amendments that have been added only seek to expand and suggest areas that the State Department should use its funds, not to inhibit the progress of or cut back on the amount of funding for State Department actions.

Nonpartisan Anti-Nukes

Obama, Kissinger, Schultz, Perry NunnYesterday President Obama met with Former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sam Nunn, and former Defense Secretary William Perry to discuss how to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Foreign Relations Authorization Bill Released

On Wednesday May 20, 2009, the full House Committee on Foreign Affairs will meet to discuss H.R. 2410, the Foreign Relations Authorization Bill introduced by Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA). applauds Mr. Berman for his attention to the need for increased engagement between the United States and the international community. The Bill includes legislation that runs parallel to the interests of, and we encourage the rest of the Committee to support these measures.

The legislation that we find most important includes:

1. Paying back our dues and arrearages to the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as synchronizing our payments so that they are received at the first of the year for which they apply;

2. Reauthorizing and expanding the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI);

3. Paying our share of international peacekeeping activities, as well as increasing our logistical support for such missions; and

4. Developing our capacity for early warning and genocide prevention to combat situations where mass atrocities against civilians occur.

We urge the Committee to pass this legislation as is in order to show that the United States is committed to working both with the international community and from within to meet the challenges that our world faces today.

Press Release

Qatar Becomes the 186th Nation to Ratify CEDAW!

What do Sudan, Somalia, Iran, and the United States have in common? They are just a few of the states that have yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW]. The United States remains the only developed nation in the world to not have ratified CEDAW. The state to ratify CEDAW most recently was Qatar. On April 26, 2009, Qatar ratified CEDAW without any reservations to the Convention.

What Role for Diplomacy in Stabilization and Reconstruction?

Yesterday, May 12, Army Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal was recommended by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to replace the former top U.S. and NATO commander. McChrystal joins four ambassadors who are second-in-command for the region.

Energy Security: Carter's View

J.Carter and J.Kerry

Former President Jimmy Carter spoke at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 12. During the hearing it seemed the panel's main goal was to hear what Carter had to say about the current climate crisis and how it affects United States foreign relations.

Engaging Iran: Obstacles and Opportunities

On Wednesday, May 6, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing with Senator John Kerry presiding. The hearing addressed prevention of nuclear proliferation in Iran and challenges it posed to the global community.  Witnesses included District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney for New York County, Robert Morgenthau and Adam Kaufmann, as well as Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns.

Reviving U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Control

On Wednesday, May 6, the Brookings Institute held a discussion on U.S.-Russia relations and the challenges posed by nuclear arms control. Panelists included Brookings President Strobe Talbot, Steven Pifer, Visiting Fellow and author of “Beyond START: Negotiating the Next Step in U.S. and Russian Strategic Nuclear Arms Reductions,” and Brookings vice president and director of Foreign Policy Carlos Pascual.

Progress Report from the US Mission to the UN

The United States Mission to the United Nations released its Progress Report last week, giving a positive outlook on future US-UN relations and US engagement on international issues. The biggest thing to take from the Progress Report is that the current administration has acknowledged that and promoted the idea that international engagement is required to meet modern threats.

"We are showing the world that a new era of engagement has begun. For we know that America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, but the world cannot meet them without America." -President Barack H. Obama, Feb. 24, 2009

More importantly, the administration has put forth the idea that America should be leading the world in international affairs and in its engagement with the UN. As the largest contributor (and host country) to the United Nations, the US should be engaging the UN in a productive way to ensure that the organization moves in a direction that will benefit all nations. The antagonistic stance taken by the previous administration towards the UN has tarnished our reputation internationally, but the Obama administration has already taken great strides to reaffirm our commitment to multilateralism.