It’s going to be another busy one here in Washington. It’s mid-March and everything is in session, from Congress to the universities. And at the end of the week, the OAS Inter-American Human Rights Commission starts its semi-annual sessions, so a lot of colleagues from around the region will be in town. Just look at the list of Latin America-related events you could go to here in Washington this week, it’s huge.
In part because I had four meetings on Capitol Hill last week, I never got a chance to make any for this week. This isn’t good–I’ll follow up with one or two staff, because this is a critical time. (The 2018 top-line budget request is expected this week. Appropriators want “wish lists” and inputs on budget items by the end of the month. Northern and Southern Command should be testifying in Armed Services soon.)
But fewer meetings also means more time for writing.
Two writing projects in particular will occupy me at work.
- We’re almost done with an encyclopedic publication explaining the 89 programs in the Defense Department budget that can provide foreign assistance. (See the draft here, as a new section of my Defense Oversight database.) We still need to give it a thorough edit and add a compelling introduction because that’s all most people will read. The gist: there are 89 Pentagon aid programs, and 20 military or police aid programs in the State Department budget. The Trump administration wants to cut the programs run by diplomats, and pass the savings to the Defense Department–where these 89 programs may end up growing, militarizing U.S. aid even further.
I’ve completed a draft analysis of the current spike in Colombian coca-growing. Lots of graphics and photos. That will be posted to wola.org this week, after a few rounds of edits.
I’m also hoping this is the week I revive the WOLA Podcast, replacing our creaky old open-source RSS feed-maker with a different service like LibSyn. Hope to re-launch it by getting a few WOLA colleagues around the microphone for a conversation about something. If that works, I may start a homemade, one-voice podcast to go with this site, too.
Oh yeah, and meanwhile we’re supposed to get 6-10 inches of snow Monday night through Tuesday. So everyone in this city will probably be working at home for at least a day this week.