The first ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review by the State Department, Leading Through Civilian Power, was published recently and it in there is a great understanding for the need of a more joined up foreign policy. As the title suggests, “civilian power” plays a large role in some cases preempting the need for military action.
In a talk given in London, director of Policy Planning at the Department of State, Dr Anne-Marie Slaughter, said that the document would mean the level of communciation between the Departments of Agriculture, Justice and Energy, and indeed others, and Foggy Bottom would be greatly enhanced to the mutal benefit of all. Dr Slaughter said that there would be an acknowledgement of the role USAID (US Agency for International Developement) plays with State and a concerted effort to assist USAID in its mission.
Naturally from its title, Leading Through Civilian Power, and coming from State, not Defence, says a lot about how it was shapd. Dr Slaughter envisages a greater diplomatic and civil service based approach, as the report says “We have seen astonishing growth in the number of civilian agencies that engage in international activity: energy diplomacy, disease prevention, police training, trade promotion, and many other areas. When the work of these agencies is aligned, it protects America’s interests and projects our leadership. We help prevent fragile states from descending into chaos, spur economic growth abroad, secure investments for American business, open new markets for American goods, promote trade overseas, and create jobs here at home”.
Not only that but Dr Slaughter mentioned that USAID would make those who wish to be promoted in USAID spend time in State and vice versa, in addition to “Continue implementing the USAID Forward agenda, which includes establishing a Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Learning; strengthening USAID’s budget management capacity; incorporating science and technology in our development efforts; and reforming procurement systems” while at the same time buidling “USAID’s human capital by increasing the number of USAID Foreign Service Officers, expanding mid-level hiring, and creating a new Senior Technical Group Career Track to provide a career path for USAID’s technical experts”.
The QDDR also stated that it would use USAID to guide and assist failing states to “prevent conflict, save lives, and build sustainable peace by resolving underlying grievances fairly and helping to build government institutions that can provide basic but effective security and justice systems”. It would do this because it will “Integrate State’s capabilities through a new Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights. We will also create a new Bureau for Conflict and Stabilization Operations”.
We should all be grateful for the role the US plays in the world today, and that generally what is good for America is good for the world.