Home > Uncategorized > QDDR – Asia Needs a Redraft Focused on Partnership and Leverage

QDDR – Asia Needs a Redraft Focused on Partnership and Leverage

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Ernie Bower, Senior Adviser & Director, Southeast Asia Program, CSIS

That tireless prowler of Foggy Bottom, Josh Rogin, provided a sneak peek at the Obama Administration’s Quadrennial Development & Diplomacy Review (QDDR) this morning on his blog. The plan, which is an every-four year look at how to adapt American structures and allocate resources to effectively promote American interests and values in a rapidly changing landscape, identifies the need to leverage non-government support. Smart. But it doesn’t go far enough.

Secretary Clinton has done a fantastic job of getting out to Southeast Asia to align U.S. interests and values with those of key partners in the region.  Diplo code for this is “shared values, shared interests” – the reference dominates her speeches on her frequent and well managed visits. The QDDR does not go far enough in putting U.S. planning where the secretary’s mouth is – namely a paradigm change for partnerships with like minded governments that would significantly leverage American resources (which the incoming Republican House and conservative Republican senators will squeeze tightly in seeking a balanced budget).

The QDDR that Rogin shared is a no-distribution draft (slap on the wrist there, Josh), but I am glad he shared it. The drafters would do well to go back and seek to transform the level of partnership with American partners like Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia and Thailand, to name just a few. By combining funding, personnel and programs, American influence can go further, building partnerships while accomplishing development goals in less stable states, and creating a new generation of relationships that will anchor the United States in Asia for generations to come. (A good example of this would be full alignment with New Zealand and Australian aid programs on efforts to build capacity for a regional police force in the South Pacific.)

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