Colin Powell Channels John Edwards on MTP
On Meet the Press, moderator Tom Brokaw asked Colin Powell about the overlooked issues in the campaigns:
MR. BROKAW: What's not on the screen right now that concerns you that should be more prominent in the minds of the American people and the people running for president?
GEN. POWELL: I think the American people and the gentlemen running for president will have to, early on, focus on education more than we have seen in the campaign so far. America has a terrible educational problem in the sense that we have too many youngsters not finishing school. A third of our kids don't finish high school, 50 percent of minorities don't finish high school. We've got to work on this, and my, my wife and I are leading a campaign with this purpose.
Also, I think, the new president has to realize that the world looks to America for leadership, and so we have to show leadership on some issues that the world is expecting us to, whether it's energy, global warming and the environment. And I think we have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world. We need to increase the amount of resources we put into our development programs to help the rest of the world. Because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they're not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.
Powell is borrowing from what JRE said to the Council on Foreign Relations 17 months ago:
There's an emerging consensus inside the armed forces that we must move beyond the idea of a war on terror. The Commander of the U.S. Military's Central Command recently stated that he would no longer use the "long war" framework. Top military leaders like retired General Anthony Zinni have rejected the term. These leaders know we need substance, not slogans—leadership, not labels.
The question is, what should replace the war on terror? Since the end of the Cold War, folks here at CFR and elsewhere have been engaged in an effort to be the next George Kennan and define the era. As all of you know, we need a new strategy for rebuilding a strong military for a new century.
Any new strategy must include new preventive measures to win the long-term struggle and fuel hope and opportunity. This includes strong and creative diplomacy, and also new efforts to lead the fight against global poverty. I've proposed a plan to lead an international effort to educate every child in the world. As president, I would increase foreign assistance by $5 billion a year to make millions of people safer, healthier, and more democratic, and by creating a cabinet-level post to lead this effort.
In fairness to the Obama-Biden campaign, they did mention global poverty in their position paper on Foreign Policy:
Fight Global Poverty: Obama and Biden will embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015, and they will double our foreign assistance to $50 billion to achieve that goal. They will help the world's weakest states to build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth.
It was good though that someone was able to remind voters that poverty is widespread and that we are all interconnected in terms of national security. It's just the American people are hurting and we have to put them first.
I thank General Powell for relaying John Edwards' ideas and putting them back on the burner.
Powell's endorsement of Obama can be found here.