Regional Security

The Foreign Policy Divide

EWI Associate Jacqueline McLaren Miller presents the foreign policy positions of the 2012 presidential candidates.  

"Domestic economic considerations have dominated and will continue to dominate much of the rhetoric in the presidential campaign, but President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are taking pains to draw sharp distinctions between their positions on foreign policy as well," writes Miller.

"And with U.S. and NATO soldiers still under fire in Afghanistan, an escalating civil war in Syria, and lingering concerns about Iran’s nuclear intentions," she continues, "there is no shortage of serious issues that the candidates need to address."

Click here to read EWI's assessment of Mitt Romney's foreign policy stances.

Click here for our take on President Obama's foreign policy record, and what he would pursue in a second term.

Afghanistan: Mobilizing for Democracy

Writing for the World Policy Journal's Fall Democracy Issue, EWI Chief of Staff James L. Creighton recounts his experiences with elections in Afghanistan and assesses the country's readiness for handling future elections once most NATO coalition forces have left the country.

URUZGAN, Afghanistan—Two days before Afghanistan’s election in September 2010, some 1,200 Afghans stormed a NATO coalition outpost named Firebase Mirwais on a hillside outside Chora in the central province of Uruzgan, where I was the senior military commander. Inside were 200 Afghan soldiers, supported by 60 Australian soldiers and a U.S.–Australian team devoted to reconstruction and development in the province. Soldiers watched from guard towers as the crowd breached the first of two 15-foot adobe walls, opened a storage container, and set fire to a stash of U.S. and coalition military uniforms.

A young American soldier manning a guard tower on the inner wall spotted one of the attackers with an AK-47 assault rifle. After gaining permission from his sergeant to engage the enemy threatening the base, he fired two shots, killing the assailant. Incensed, some in the crowd charged the inner gate. If the central areas of the base were breached, there could have been an enormous loss of life. The coalition soldiers would have been forced to defend themselves and prevent the protesters from seizing NATO weapons. But before that could happen, an Australian soldier fired several rounds at the gate with a .50-caliber machine gun. The crowd saw the sparks fly off the metal gate and heard the deafening report of the coalition’s most powerful machine gun. They immediately retreated and dispersed.

The crowd regrouped outside the military camp and headed for the Chora district central office a half-mile away. Mohammad Dawood Kahan, the district chief, was in his compound guarded by Afghan police. There, two or three other protesters were killed by Afghan officers as they tried to breach the governor’s walls. The crowd disbanded and went home soon after the fight. This ended the demonstrations for that day, but insurgent leaders were able to feed off the unrest and reassemble the following day.

Although some Taliban were present in Chora, most of the crowd consisted of local citizens who had been convinced by insurgents and local leaders that coalition soldiers were infidels who had no respect for their religion and beliefs. More than 7,500 miles away two months earlier, Terry Jones, an obscure pastor with a tiny congregation in Gainesville, Florida, declared he would burn dozens of Qurans to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. In Afghanistan, that news emboldened local insurgents in a way that not only cost the lives of civilians in Chora but also threatened to derail plans for peaceful elections.

Elections in 2010 were actually conducted in a much smoother fashion than those in 2009. This was the result of improved capability of the Afghan Security Force, more trust between Afghan Security and coalition forces, and the general population’s feeling of security as they went to their polling stations. With the next national election due in 2014, the challenge is for Afghan authorities to plan, prepare, and conduct the balloting largely on their own. Coalition forces will only provide support from afar. This will not be easy. The first elections after the majority of our combat forces have gone will be the ultimate test of our success in planting a democratic system that can flourish in some quite fallow ground.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the World Policy Journal.

Inter Press Service reports on EWI-FES Middle East Workshop

The Inter Press Service reports on The Changing Middle East, a workshop hosted by EWI and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York Office.

With ever increasing sanctions against Iran, escalating violence in Syria and the continuing political struggles in Egypt, a new dynamic has been added to the long-standing policy challenges in the Middle East.

“The Middle East is a place where the weak minorities are wiped out… Peace is viable so long as no one is stronger than us,” said Ephraim Sneh, Chair of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Strategic Dialogue at Netyanya College, Israel.

He spoke at a one day workshop in New York on Wednesday, hosted by Freidrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York and the EastWest Institute, which brought together speakers from Turkey, Iran, Israel and Egypt, as well as Russia, the United States and Europe.

“Small nations can rely only on themselves and we will never deposit our future in the hands of anyone,” said Sneh. “Israel will not abandon its military balance.”

The mounting international pressure on Iran was also a key topic of discussion, with many concerns raised for the efficacy of the imposed sanctions. “The [Iranian] population is suffering tremendously from the sanctions that have been imposed,” said Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council.”

Click here to read the rest of this piece at Inter Press Service.

The Changing Middle East

The EastWest Institute and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York Office hosted "The Changing Middle East--Implications for Regional and Global Politics," a day-long workshop that led to lively debates about the current dramatic developments in the region.

“The dynamic of change is the people themselves, which is what makes this exciting and unpredictable at the same time,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center and fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. “This is a process that is long overdue.”

Others saw both opportunities and perils in the new situation. Egyptian Foreign Ministry official Tamim Khallaf described the changes as part of a larger process of de-militarization of Arab governments, and he hailed the first free presidential elections in his country. Turkish economist Gökhan Bacik called the Arab Spring “a great economic opportunity for Turkey.”

But others warned of the dangers of populism when the early euphoria turns to disappointment as economic problems persist, and expressed concerns about new divisions, particularly within Islamic movements. “We are witnessing centrifugal forces at work that are pulling at the old religious and tribal divides,” said Isobel Coleman of the Council on Foreign Relations.

While some panelists disagreed on whether to call the upheavals in the region a revolution or an awakening, there was consensus that, whatever label is used, the magnitude of the changes cannot be denied. “This is not something seasonal or brief,” said Dan Arbell, Minister of Political Affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. “I see this as a tectonic shift.”

Predictably, there were sharp disagreements on Iran’s nuclear program. Ambassadior Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who served as Iran’s spokesman during its nuclear negotiations with the European Union from 2003 to 2005, declared: “Iran is prepared to accept a deal based on maximum transparency measures.” But according to Israeli diplomat Arbell, “The window for the diplomatic option is closing.”

Panelists also discussed the Syrian crisis, the internal disagreements in Israel about that country’s future, the impact of the regional upheavals on women and minorities, and the prospects for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

For more information on speakers and panel sessions, click here to download the agenda.


MP3s of panel sessions:

Panel I: Unfinished Transformations in the Middle East and their Effect on the Regional Security Dynamic (1:43:38)

Panel II: The Two-Level Game: How are Current Domestic Politics Affecting Foreign Policy Decision-making? (1:37:34)

Panel III: Chances for Rapprochement: What Role for Multilateral Initiatives? (1:28:18)


Portions of the livestream recording are available for viewing here via EWI's Ustream channel:


Click here for more coverage of the event by the Inter Press Service.

Afghan Narcotrafficking

The EastWest Institute recently convened the second meeting of its Joint U.S.-Russia Working Group on Afghan Narcotrafficking. Given NATO’s 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States’ planned troop drawdown, and persistent tensions in the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship, the meeting was a timely opportunity for the experts to consider constructive ways for the United States and Russia to work together to tackle the production and trafficking of opium and heroin in and from Afghanistan.

The working group is drawn from U.S.- and Russia-based experts who are producing a joint threat assessment (JTA) on the wide range of challenges posed to both states by narcotrafficking from Afghanistan. The JTA will be followed by a Joint Policy Assessment suggesting cooperative measures that the United States and Russia can undertake to tackle the dangers posed by Afghan narcotrafficking.  This working group is addressing a key security concern to both the United States and Russia and thus aims to aid in the “reset” of U.S.-Russia relations by delivering positive momentum, confidence-building, and policy impact. As the U.S.-Russia relationship faces increased strains and tensions from difficult and increasingly divisive issues like ballistic missile defense and Syria, the need to promote dialogue where there are common interests intensifies.

The working group members met in June at EWI’s Brussels office for three days of discussions. Initial sessions were held with senior officials from the European Union, NATO, and the Russian Mission to NATO on actions, interests, and challenges in Afghanistan. The experts then devoted two days to assessing the key threats that both Russia and the United States face and possible scenarios for these threats after 2014. The discussions touched on economic development, insurgency and criminal groups in trafficking, state capacity, the Afghan national forces, corruption, border management, the role of eradication in counternarcotics strategy, and the function of international organizations in the region.

There was a widespread expectation that in the immediate aftermath of NATO’s withdrawal and a reduced U.S. troop presence, there will be an increase in the amount of poppy produced and the role of opium—already significant—in Afghanistan’s economy. Both the willingness and ability of the Afghan national forces to take on a significant counternarcotics role was also discussed.

Although the supply side of counternarcotics strategy dominated the conversations, the experts discussed how Russia and the United States could do more work on the demand side of counternarcotics strategy, which is fertile ground for continued collaboration. How to reinforce and expand already successful cooperation, such as the already robust Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA)-Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) ties, was also discussed.

The JTA, which should be finalized by September, will include assessments of the following areas:

  • the threats that Afghan narcotrafficking poses specifically to Russia and the U.S. and the shared concerns between these two countries
  • the opium economy in Afghanistan
  • the transnational trade in Afghan opiates and money laundering
  • effects of narcotrafficking on state-building in Afghanistan

Working group members are scheduled to convene in New York in the fall to finalize the joint policy assessment.

Members of the Joint U.S.-Russia Working Group on Afghan Narcotrafficking:


Russian Experts

Ilnur Batyrshin, Head of the Scientific Research Center of FSKN 

Viktor Korgun, Head of the Afghanistan department, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

Yuri Kroupnov, Director, Institute for Demography, Migration, and Regional Development; Advisor to the Director of Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation (FSKN)

Aman Saliev, Senior Expert, Institute of Strategic Analysis and Planning, Kyrgyz-Russian University of the Kyrgyz Republic

Konstantin Sorokin, Project Manager, Department of Training and Methodology and Research Projects, International Training and Methodology Centre for Financial Monitoring (ITMCFM)

Ekaterina Stepanova, Head of the Peace and Conflict Studies Unit of IMEMO

Georgi Zazulin, Professor at the Chair of Conflictology, St. Petersburg University, specializing on narcoconflictology and anti-narcotics policies in Russia and Europe; Russian representative of the International Organization European Cities Against Drugs 


U.S. Experts

Andrew Kuchins, Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

George Gavrilis, Executive Director, The Hollings Center for International Dialogue

David T. Johnson, Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); Senior Advisor, Avascent International; former Assistant Secretary of State for Narcotics and Law Enforcement

John “Jack” Lawn, former Administrator, Drug Enforcement Agency

David Mansfield, Visiting Fellow, The Feinstein International Centre, Tufts University

Kimberly Marten, Professor, Department of Political Science, Barnard College

Gretchen Peters, author, Seeds of Terror: How Drugs, Thugs and Crime Have Reshaped the Afghan War; Consultant, Researcher and Advisor of Transnational Crime Issues

Cory Welt, Associate Director, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs; Adjunct Fellow, Center for American Progress


The Role of Hunger in World Security

While Memorial Day in the United States often serves as the unofficial start of summer, a day celebrated with barbecues and picnics, this past Monday it also coincided with World Hunger Day. The idea behind World Hunger Day is to bring attention to the millions of people around the world, over one billion, who see the onset of summer not as a celebration but as another season in which they will struggle to endure the blight of severe hunger.

Chronic hunger has real implications for both the developed and developing world. For those that suffer from it, it is all that matters, and to those not directly affected by it, hunger is a destabilizing force on a regional and global scale.

Hunger is an extreme symptom of food insecurity, and earlier this month EastWest Institute President John Mroz addressed the issue when he gave a talk titled “Stepping Up to the New Global Realities.” Mroz explained how the inability to access sufficient food, along with the inaccessibility of sufficient energy and water, are key factors leading to political tension and social unrest around the globe.

The World Bank has noted that as food prices spiked in 2010-2011 48 million people were kept under, or sank below, the poverty line. Volatile commodity prices mean that many of those people face food scarcity, making it even more difficult for them to better their lot.

The overarching predicament is not a Malthusian dilemma in which population outstrips resources, but instead a problem of logistics. The problem is not that there is simply too little food in the world to feed everyone. What is missing are linkages that would allow those in areas of abject poverty to gain access to the life-sustaining components necessary to flourish—food, water and energy.

This issue was addressed just before the recent G8 summit as U.S. President Barack Obama joined public and private groups and individuals at the 3rd Annual Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security. The meeting was hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and explored ways to sustainably alleviate the issues of poverty which are exacerbated by food scarcity.

Speaking to an audience of nearly 50 international organizations and companies, Obama announced his New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a public-private partnership intended to tackle the issue of food insecurity through a confluence of private sector capital and public initiatives. These efforts will be aimed at agricultural development through micro-finance, education, health care efforts, infrastructure improvements and indigenous economic growth.

The international relief agency Oxfam is supportive of the initiative, but says it puts too much emphasis on private contributions to alleviate poverty to the exclusion of previously pledged government efforts to develop stronger and more substantive public programs.

Obama has stressed that food security is a moral, economic and security imperative. At the EastWest Institute our efforts, like the Economic Security Initiative and Affordable World Security Conference, seek to address this issue by working toward coordinated policies that can provide better access to food, water and energy to regions of the world that need them the most.

Battling Bureaucracy in Afghanistan

When I took command of a NATO task force in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan in July 2010, one of my first patrols in the province included a stop at the construction site for an unfinished U.S.-funded police headquarters. Inside, we found loose 82mm mortar rounds and cell phone components: clearly the tools of an IED-maker.

Finishing this well-intentioned and important project, which had stalled due to a cumbersome bureaucracy, poor contracting procedures, high leadership turn-over, and a lack of proper supervision, became one of my top priorities.

When I relinquished command and left Afghanistan about a year later, the project was back on track but still incomplete, despite three years of frustrating effort. Next door to the police headquarters, meanwhile, my Australian friends and counterparts had quickly transformed a vacant lot into a gleaming, functioning school for girls – all within a single calendar year.

Though we were successful in some other important development projects, the challenges we faced in bringing this single U.S. project to fruition, and the strategies that allowed other NATO nations to move more quickly, symbolize many of the challenges faced and lessons learned by U.S. and NATO personnel in Afghanistan. These lessons also highlight how outside help, if offered and managed with an awareness of local cultural sensitivities, can help transform whole communities for the better in a much shorter period of time.

Route to Command

I reported to the International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan on June 27, 2009. As the lead planner on the newly established ISAF Joint Command (IJC) run by both Americans and Afghans, I supervised planning for the security of Afghanistan, including the role of the 30,000-soldier U.S. “surge,” and the corresponding 10,000 increase in NATO forces.

After a year, planning included how to replace the Dutch when they departed Uruzgan, a province about 100 miles north of Kandahar. The plan called for a NATO command called “Combined Team Uruzgan” (CTU) to take control of Uruzgan from the Dutch. The new team would consist primarily of U.S. and Australian forces and be commanded by a U.S. colonel—in this case me.

When I arrived in Uruzgan as the new commander, I had about a month to meet, train, and prepare my largely ad hoc Australian and U.S. staff for combat. The lessons I learned as a planner in Kabul were essential to preparing my command to conduct counterinsurgency operations. These lessons focused on building solid relationships with Afghans and coalition forces; helping the Afghans build better governance systems; completing development projects; developing the Afghan National Security Forces; and expanding security in the province. Consequently, my first battlefield circulation patrols were intended to determine the status of existing development projects in Uruzgan’s capital city of Tarin Kowt.

The need for the police station

Police in Tarin Kowt clearly needed better facilities if they were to play a major role in an Afghan-led security effort after NATO forces depart in 2014. The Combined Security Transition Command (Afghanistan) and the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs decided the police headquarters in Tarin Kowt was a high-priority project. They tasked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with its construction.

The project, which included four major buildings and several outbuildings, was 70 percent done when the Afghan contractors from Kabul and Kandahar stopped paying their subcontractors and fled the area, taking with them what was left of the money they received to complete the project. Having spent the budgeted funds on the project without completing it, the Corps of Engineers struck a deal with Matiullah Khan, a local warlord. Matiullah also happened to be the commander of the local militia, the Kandak-e Amniat-e Uruzgan (KAU), and a colonel in the Afghan National Police (ANP). The idea was that he would keep the site secure indefinitely.

The previous Dutch commanders viewed the headquarters as a U.S. project and let it sit unfinished. They also chose not to deal with the local police chief, who, although corrupt, was able to secure the population by resolving conflicts and expanding police presence throughout the province in a professional manner. The lack of ownership, change-over in coalition leaders, and distrust of local officials created a situation where there was no one who felt responsible for the half-completed project. In fact, when I returned to base after my initial reconnaissance patrol and made inquires as to the status of the project, it took several weeks to find documentation on the project and determine exactly how it had come to fail.

A lot can go wrong in Afghanistan, and in the scheme of things you could argue this project was a drop in the bucket. Our frustrated attempts to get the project restarted so that it could be completed are symbolic of the seemingly dysfunctional process the United States has created, making building trust—and constructing buildings—as difficult as possible. The four-acre compound stood as a monument to the coalition’s ineptitude.

Bringing it back on line

To get the project on track, we had to find “back pay” for security services that for two years had guarded the partially built but unoccupied police headquarters. The Corps of Engineers had a dilemma: The original contract was cancelled, but all funds had been paid to the original contractor who left the area. There was no money remaining on the original contract to pay the guards. Even if there were additional construction funds available, the Corps could not pay the guards, as to do so would have violated U.S. regulations on how construction funds can be expended. The Corps tried to solve this problem by initiating a new contract, but it still could not include back pay for two years of security. It took seven months to get the exceptions and authorizations needed for the guards to receive their back pay. The final solution to pay the guards included a deal coordinated with Matiullah, the local warlord.

After two years of inactivity, the contractors were ready to finish the job, but again the Corps of Engineers stepped in and stopped any effort. In Afghanistan, the Corps is required to adhere to certain specifications on construction projects, so parts of the plan had to be redesigned. This continued for several months, with the project commencing in fits and starts.

Then there were the multiple regulations clearly designed for the United States but blindly transferred to such projects in Afghanistan. When hand rails and wheelchair ramps did not meet U.S. codes, the contractors had to stop their work. Accessibility is important, but we lost another two months reworking the plans. Afghan contractors were not prepared to meet the requirements of U.S. plumbing and electric codes either. Insisting on adherence to Western plumbing standards hardly made sense, since most Afghans did not use Western facilities and often ruined the plumbing soon after installation.

Finally, there were the myriad rules and regulations that required Afghan companies to fill out mountains of paperwork, which they simply were not prepared for. After 11 frustrating months, and intervention at the flag officer level, the project had barely restarted and was still several months from completion when I departed in June 2011.

Lessons Learned

Compare the police headquarters with the beautiful school next door, where girls were already getting an education. Without many of the road-blocks that the U.S. experienced, the Australian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team was able to build their school in under a year. The Australians tracked the progress with regular check-ins and aggressive quality assurance while coordinating their activity with AusAID (the equivalent to USAID). The U.S. experience with absconding contractors would have been detected quickly. Moreover, unlike the U.S. practice of paying contractors up front, they dispensed funds in phases throughout construction. Finally, they did not face the road-block of construction regulations built for their home country; they constructed their projects in accordance with Afghan standards.

Completing the police headquarters is important not only for the effectiveness of the police, but for gaining the respect for the local government and the Afghan national government. When NATO or the United States promises to make improvements in cooperation with the Afghan government, the people see a more effective, more trustworthy government. When we fail the government, the government fails the people. The success of counterinsurgency operations is contingent on assisting the local government in earning the trust of its people.

I worked with a remarkable multinational group of soldiers and civilians. We worked together across cultures and regulatory structures. Though it was no small task, the group divided labor, and I believe we made a real difference in securing and building infrastructure in Uruzgan by expanding security to new areas and building roads that cut regional travel time dramatically.

The U.S. Army’s obstacles are often self-inflicted. Problems with contracting and money disbursement in Iraq and other theaters are directly related to the massive bureaucracy associated with contracting today. In my opinion, we have gone too far in regulating projects, to the point where we are wasting time and money due largely to our own inefficiency. The U.S. has committed to too many projects to manage and complete effectively given the massive regulatory requirements and turnover of coalition forces. The United States should take the spirit of cooperation in the coalition one step further and learn from the efficient operations of some of our partners.

James L. Creighton served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army for 30 years, including as commander of Combined Team Uruzgan. He is chief of staff of the EastWest Institute in New York.

Image Credit: Australian Department of Defense

Click here to read an AAP write-up of this article in The West Australian.

Defense Cuts and the Future of Security

The U.S. defense budget and a new, broader definition of security were dominant themes at day two of the Affordable World Security Conference, co-hosted by the W. P. Carey Foundation and the EastWest Institute.

Participants discussed the current defense budget and potential cuts.

“Half the money the Defense Department spends will be wasted,” quipped CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin. “The trouble is no one can tell you which half.”

Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post journalist Dana Priest argued the defense budget includes a vast landscape of private contractors, but many politicians believe they cannot risk arguing for cuts. “In a very politicized system,” Priest said, “cutting defense … can so easily be called ‘soft on defense.’”

State Department veteran Terrell Arnold underlined the importance of how money is spent. “There is no fixed relation between the amount of money we spend and what we get,” Arnold said.

General Michael Hayden, former director of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, argued that institutional structures “relatively preordain” future outcomes. Change, he said, must come at the institutional level and in strategies like counterinsurgency to prevent threats rather than targeted attacks to eliminate existing threats.

Hayden also said the “cyber domain” presents a new kind of security challenge. While he said the result of the Stuxnet attack on Iranian infrastructure was positive, it represented a turning point. “This is a legion that crossed the river … this is August 1945,” he said, noting it was the first time a nation state had attacked another‘s critical infrastructure in peacetime using software-based weaponry.

Participants also assessed the U.S. position in international politics, its dependency on fossil fuels, and the U.S. relationship with China.

Ambassador Chas Freeman criticized the current U.S. approach to China, arguing that some on both sides are engaging in shrill rhetoric. Wei Hongxia, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International peace, noted that the Chinese media, too, can play the nationalist game.

EWI Vice President David Firestein called for more careful public discussions. “Discourse about U.S.–China relations is important, because it has an impact not only on the tone but on the substance,” Firestein said.

Earth Policy Institute President Lester Brown focused on the dangers of resource scarcity in the coming decades. “Food is probably the weak link in our system, as it was with many of the societies whose archaeological sites we study today,” he said.

Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, called for action “We can manage change or wait for it to exert itself, but either way, change is coming,” he said.

Closing the conference, former President of Costa Rica and Nobel peace laureate Óscar Arias Sánchez declared: “Our real enemies today are climate change, poverty, inequality, hunger, disease, environmental degradation and illiteracy, which can create dangers anywhere in the world.” He called for the world to practice the “art of peace,” not the “art of war.”

Click here to read coverage of the first day of the Affordable World Security Conference.

Security and Scarcity: Welcoming World Leaders

The Affordable World Security Conference opened Tuesday in Washington, where former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, now Executive Director of UN Women, and others addressed world security and the role of women and young people.

“Half of the world is women. In some places more than half. ... And half the world is under 25 years of age,” Bachelet said.

The afternoon also included powerful remarks by Sylvia Earle, former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who underlined the importance of the world’s ecosystems.

Assistant Secretary of State José Fernandez argued for continued support for important international development initiatives.

Earlier, the day began with an exchange of views about future security priorities and the best use of economic and other resources in the 21st century.

Hosted by the W. P. Carey Foundation and the EastWest Institute (EWI), the conference runs Tuesday and Wednesday at the Newseum in Washington and by livestream on the Internet. It confronts the stark choices before U.S. and international policymakers as they seek security with limited resources.

Smart choices about security expenditures are necessary to ensure economic prosperity, according to Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics.

"The wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq have shown how expensive little wars can be," Stiglitz said. Arguing that much of the U.S. defense spending has been “counterproductive,” he added, “we have to be focused on maintaining economic strength.”



Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff argued that a broad range of new threats including cybersecurity mean the cost of one action versus another is hard to determine. “It’s easy to understand what you’re spending,” he said. “It’s not easy to understand the cost if you don’t spend.”

Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), emphasized the vulnerability of populations in developing countries to the effects of climate change. In response to a questioner who noted challenges to the accuracy of climate science, Pachauri said the IPCC reviews all criticisms. “We do realize that this has major implications,” he added.

Ambassador Paula Dobriansky also noted the importance of energy in international security. “We are not looking for a silver bullet but for greater diversification,” she said, emphasizing the need for increased international cooperation.

Conference Chairman William R. Polk, speaking by video, set the stage for the gathering. “There are no quick fixes, no simple answers, and the traditional ways that we've organized ourselves to meet dangers are insufficient,” Polk said. “We are trying to solve 21st century problems with 20th century means.”

New strategies and security measures are necessary, said EWI Board Co-Chairman Francis Finlay. “Current policies and organizational frameworks are not only failing to achieve security and peace, but actually run the risk of aggravating confrontation and conflict,” Finlay said.

The conference continues Wednesday with discussions on the U.S. defense budget, the pivotal relationship between the United States and China, and other key issues.

Speakers Wednesday include Nobel Peace Laureate and former President of Costa Rica Óscar Arias Sánchez, General Michael Hayden, former leader of both the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, and Khalid Malik, director of the U.N. Development Programme’s Human Development Report Office.

Follow along live at the livestream.

Click here to read coverage of the second and final day of the Affordable World Security Conference.



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