The Department of Defense is asking for more money from Congress to invest in new technology and weapons platforms, in order to better implement the National Defense Strategy. But the role of diplomacy can be overlooked in the era of great power competition. Sharon Burke, senior adviser at New America, says that the lack of emphasis on the State Department in recent years is bad news for America abroad.
“I think it’s a real concern that you do see across the American public, that people don’t have a connection or a value on foreign aid and on foreign relations in general, which is really almost catastrophic. I think people in my community both inside and outside of government, we take it on the chin on this. We accept that we’ve failed to communicate to the American public just how important it is for the United States to have good relationships in the world,” Burke said. “It’s not just so we’re perceived as a kind benevolent nation, it’s also on a transactional basis; the source of a lot of prosperity and stability and peace. The military can win you wars, but only the other elements of your governments and your polity can win you peace. That is what we want here, so underselling these instruments is really a problem.”