Thursday, January 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022
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Texas. It’s the largest state in the Union -the size of France. Texas is thriving, and it’s also experiencing growth in times of recession. Dallas. It’s the seventh largest city in the nation and one of the wealthiest. It’s an international business center -a boom town. And, surprisingly enough, virtually ineffective in foreign policy clout.

Scott Campbell, vice president of corporate finance and development for Natural Resource Management (NRM), an independent oil company, finds that last statistic a bit disturbing. For several years now, he and many other well-informed Dallasites have stood by and watched several Eastern cities lead the nation in foreign policy decision making. Campbell says there is almost an “incestuous relationship” between New York and Washington, D.C., in the area of foreign policy. The greatest growth in the nation now is occurring in the Sun Belt, yet people living in the Southwest sit on their hands while others make decisions that affect the world, Campbell says.

Last year, Campbell and several of his colleagues, equally frustrated by Dallas’ voicelessness, formed the Foreign Policy Association of Dallas. Today, the group is more than 50 members strong and is preparing to step up their work by adding new members.

Each of the original 50 members of this invitation-only organization was carefully chosen so that a diversely educated, well-informed group could pool their resources on the common denominator of foreign policy. The main functions of the group are to better educate each other and the community as a whole and to provide a voice for Dallas. Members plan to publish a foreign policy periodical to be distributed in Washington, D.C., and at various universities nationwide.

There is a wealth of information within the group on many facets of foreign policy. Campbell, the association’s president, serves on advisory committees to the International Energy Program of the Johns Hopkins Foreign Policy Institute and the Council on International Energy of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is also a member of the corporate advisory board of the American University of Cairo.

Robert Cohan serves as treasurer and is a resident partner of the Washington law firm of Wald, Harkrader & Ross. Cohan’s work makes him an important link with the Capitol, while his personal work overseas provides him with necessary foreign-affairs knowledge.

Other key members of the group are William Elliott, a Dallas attorney active in the Republican party; and Philip Seib, an SMU assistant professor who will put the periodical together and serves as a resident journalist. Frank Jackman is consul general for Canada.

This year, the group is getting down to brass tacks. They are forming committees divided by issue and region. Some of the first issues to be tackled are the world banking crisis, Latin American relations and U.S./Soviet relations. Each committee must produce a recommendation for the association, an article on its findings and a bibliography. The committees may also choose to provide a public forum on each topic. In this case, the association will look for corporate funding support.

“It’s important that Dallas gets a voice in foreign policy,” Campbell says. “For some reason, Dallas has always looked inward. Look at Houston’s contribution to politics. Dallas didn’t get involved in statewide politics until Clements came around. It’s time for us to be an example.”

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