Where is American leadership globally today?
Let’s face it, American leadership, or lack thereof, sends a strong message to friend and foe. That message serves to inﬂuence their actions in foreign policy; certainly those policies directed toward the U.S., and our allies.
This past month we were reminded of the disastrous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan one year ago. It left U.S. citizens and loyal allies behind, resulted in the loss of American lives, and was viewed as American weakness and lack of leadership by international thugs and totalitarian regimes.
Further, it served to embolden America’s adversaries and caused our allies to question American resolve. There is no other way to express these travesties.
Since then, we’ve seen Russia’s Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine and China’s Xi Jinping escalate tensions throughout Asia, including its most belligerent activity towards Taiwan recently.
Here at home, we’ve seen examples of real American leadership in some of our governors.
Governors like Henry McMaster, R-S.C., of South Carolina, Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and Brian Kemp, R-Ga. These state chief executives have fought, and fought hard, to keep businesses, schools, and churches open during the coronavirus pandemic.
Today, their states are prospering, while basking in historic budget surpluses.
And there are governors like Greg Abbott, R-Texas, who have fought against an AWOL federal government, to try and secure our border and stop the ﬂow of fentanyl into our country.
A drug killing a generation of young Americans.
Yes, we’ve seen examples of real American leadership at home. But where is it globally?
For it's on the world stage where we face crisis after crisis and America’s adversaries are not only emboldened, they're on the move.
There is one American who has led internationally in recent years during a time of crisis.
He’s gained the respect and admiration of leaders throughout the world on all continents.
He’s an evangelical Christian who’s brought people together of opposing views and from diﬀerent walks of life to tackle one of the greatest problems of our time.
And he’s done it as a conservative businessman who’s employed sound business principles, new technology, innovation, and accountability.
He’s also a man who is known for doing what he believes is right, regardless of the consequences.
In fact, in 2003, he was awarded the John F. Kennedy Proﬁle in Courage Award.
I’m talking about David Beasley, the leader of the U.N.’s World Food Programme (WFP).
Since 2017, the former South Carolina governor has led the WFP’s almost 20,000 employees with oﬃces in 80 countries.
Early in his tenure, Beasley positioned the WFP as a bulwark against terrorist groups who were using food as a recruitment tool. Under Beasley’s leadership, the WFP is now feeding over 115 million people in close to 90 countries.
The food shortage and hunger crisis were only exacerbated during the pandemic.
Lockdowns and disruption of food supply chains made the crisis even worse.
Beasley and his team were up to the challenge.
Largely due to the reforms, innovation, and non-bureaucratic business-like approaches he brought to the WFP, his approach proved to be successful in thwarting what could have been catastrophic, when considered from the perspectvies of food supplies and world hunger.
As a result of their eﬀorts, Beasley and the WFP received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.
The announcement was praised both internationally and here at home.
Republicans and Democrats congratulated Beasley and the WFP.
In an inspiring Nobel lecture on Dec. 10 of last year in Oslo, Norway, Beasley challenged the global community, including governments and businesses, to tackle the root causes of food shortages and hunger.
He clarified, "The ﬁrst thing we need to do is restore our moral compass. The highest standard of humanity has always been the Golden Rule. It is part of all religions and cultures — and it is the foundation of the culture of the World Food Programme every day."
Beasley also urged world leaders to "break down all the divisions of the world the old-fashioned way — by sitting down together and breaking bread."
President Ronald Reagan once said that "personnel is policy."
He was right. Beasley’s appointment by the U.N. as a result of strong pushing by the U.S. was one of the best personnel moves by the Trump administration.
And the Biden administration made the right decision by extending his tenure.
As a result, the right team is in place today as the world’s "bread basket" is threatened by the war in Ukraine.
In countries across the globe and on all continents, David Beasley, for almost six years, has been seen as the American who gets thing done.
He’s brought together industry and governments and people of diﬀerent faiths to tackle the most challenging needs of our time.
From villages in Kenya to presidential oﬃces in Asia, he is admired for his hands on approach to solving big problems. In this role, too, he has been an ambassador for America globally.
At a time when we need American leadership, David Beasley has shown the U.S. and the world what real American leadership looks like.
Van Hipp is Chairman of American Defense International, Inc. He is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army and author of "The New Terrorism: How to Fight It and Defeat It." He is the 2018 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II September 11 Garden Leadership Award for National Security. Read Van Hipp's Reports — More Here.
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