The Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan in a Post-bin Laden World

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the phrase “post-9/11 world” became commonly used to describe a new world that had changed in a fundamental way on that date. The death of Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011 will not have the same globe-shaking implications as his greatest crime, but it has served as a catalyst for significant shifts in the relationships between the United States and Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thus, when talking about Afghanistan and Pakistan, it is appropriate to say that we now live in a “post-bin Laden world.” It seems likely that May 1 will end up being a landmark date not only because of the immediate effects of bin Laden’s death, but because of the reactions that death has provoked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the U.S.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing Tuesday morning on the “Strategic Implications of Pakistan and the Region.” A bleary-eyed Senator John Kerry (D-Mass), the Committee Chairman, presided over the hearing only hours after returning to the U.S. from his visit to Pakistan in which he defended the raid on bin Laden’s compound. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton’s Testimony on the State Department Budget

This morning, Hillary Clinton testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the State Department budget requests for FY 2012.  Clinton opened by discussing the importance of the State Department’s efforts in Libya through isolating their leadership and suspending them from the Human Rights Council, as well as USAID’s focus on supplying Libya with food and medical supplies as well as helping those fleeing the violence into surrounding countries.  Clinton explained the importance of needing a State Department budget that supports efforts such as these, which are vital national security tools.  The core budget request of the State Department is $47 billion, which: supports programs and relationships in every country in the world except North Korea, supports vital civilian missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, trains Mexican police to fight the drug cartels and help to secure the border, helps countries like Egypt and Tunisia to rebuild their countries into strong and stable democracies, and funds global health programs for HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.  Clinton closed by saying the 16% budget cut from State Department and USAID passed by the House are devastating to our national security.  (Click here for Clinton’s testimony.)

Click here for Chairman John Kerry’s opening statement.
Click here for Ranking Senator Richard Lugar’s opening statement.