March 13, 2018

Corker Statement at Hearing on Threats to U.S. Interests from Fragile States

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron Testifies on Findings from Commission on State Fragility, Growth, and Development

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today made the following statement at a hearing to examine threats to U.S. interests from fragile states. The committee heard testimony from former British Prime Minister David Cameron, chairman of the Commission on State Fragility, Growth, and Development.

“We thank our distinguished witness for being here today, and we’ll introduce you more formally in just a moment. But we thank you and appreciate the conversation we had in the back about the potential Russian involvement in your own country recently and the comments made by your prime minister.

“We are delighted to have with us today, David Cameron, who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to 2016.

“Mr. Cameron has devoted himself in the past year to chairing the Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development.

“Successful states depend upon social contracts between citizens and their government. When the fundamental legitimacy is lacking, traditional approaches to foreign assistance and capacity building are not adequate.

“Each fragile state is vulnerable in its own way. They cannot be understood, let alone strengthened, if viewed from only a development or political or security perspective.

“Billions of dollars, pounds, and euros have been spent over the years in many countries only to see them revert to conflict, instability, and repression.

“One of the core questions I hope to explore with this hearing is one that taxpayers, here and in the UK, are justified in asking: why should we continue to concern ourselves with fragile states, and what challenges do they pose to our national interests?

“Few conflicts stay within national borders these days. The number of refugees and displaced persons around the world has never been greater.

“International criminal organizations, human traffickers, drug lords, terrorists, and arms dealers thrive on the safe havens afforded by corrupt and chaotic regimes.

“These destabilizing forces reverberate both regionally and globally, with real consequences for the U.S. economy and national security.

“Our institutions must work smarter, and they must work together, with the right selection of tools at our disposal.

“In my experience, efforts like Mr. Cameron’s are the most effective when they can assemble the best minds and the best research to examine problems with fresh thinking and challenge conventional solutions.

“With that in mind, I look forward to hearing what our distinguished witness has learned and how we can best collaborate with our friends in the UK and elsewhere to defend our common interests to prevent fragile states from become failed states.

“With that, I’d like ask our distinguished Ranking Member Bob Menendez for any opening comments he may have.”

Click here for complete testimony and video footage of the hearing.

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