Diana Ohlbaum

Diana Ohlbaum

Board Chair

Diana Ohlbaum is Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Quaker peace lobby. In that role, she directs FCNL’s foreign policy lobbying team and leads an effort to replace the current U.S. foreign policy paradigm of military domination and national superiority with a more ethical and effective one based on cooperation and mutual respect.

From 2013-2018, Dr. Ohlbaum ran an independent consulting firm specializing in advocacy, political strategy and legislative impact. Before that, as a Senior Professional Staff Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she conducted oversight of foreign assistance programs and coordinated efforts to overhaul the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. She previously served as Deputy Director of USAID's Office ofTransition Initiatives, a cutting-edge unit designed to advance peace and democracy in priority conflict-prone countries, and as Director of Public Policy for InterAction, an alliance of NGOs engaged in humanitarian relief and international development.

In addition to the CIP Board, Dr. Ohlbaum serves on the Executive Committee of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and the Advisory Council of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Russian Studies from Amherst College.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
September 17, 2021

Executive Summary — Dismantling Racism and Militarism in U.S. Foreign Policy

by Salih Booker and Diana Ohlbaum

The major challenges facing Americans today—pandemic disease, climate change, economic inequality, racial and gender injustice—cannot be solved without international solidarity and human compassion.

Executive Summary — Dismantling Racism and Militarism in U.S. Foreign Policy
REPORT
September 17, 2021

Dismantling Racism and Militarism in U.S. Foreign Policy

by Salih Booker and Diana Ohlbaum

The current U.S. national security paradigm robs us of economic resources, corrupts our political system,
endangers our lives, and offends our most fundamental moral values.

It perpetuates a system that discriminates against, disempowers, disrespects, dehumanizes, and brutalizes Black and brown people and other communities of color. It is an extension of systemic white supremacy at home that relies upon the threat and use of force abroad.

Continuing the U.S. quest for global military domination harms not only the people of other countries and the earth we share, but the vast majority of Americans. The Racism-Militarism Paradigm, moreover, harms all of our social, political, and economic institutions, including our democratic institutions, thus weakening our entire society.

To peacefully and democratically dismantle this paradigm, we must offer a compelling alternative vision of the U.S. role in the world.

Dismantling Racism and Militarism in U.S. Foreign Policy
WEBINAR
September 17, 2021

Uniting to Dismantle Racism and Militarism in U.S. Foreign Policy

Salih Booker and Diana Ohlbaum

Webinar on dismantling structures of militarism and white supremacy in U.S. foreign policy.

Uniting to Dismantle Racism and Militarism in U.S. Foreign Policy

LATEST NEWS

July 2, 2021

The Willful Self-Delusion of American Independence Day

by Salih Booker and Diana Ohlbaum

On Independence Day, many Americans celebrate throwing off the yoke of oppression by a distant power. They recall the unfairness and indignity of life under colonial rule. What too many Americans haven’t done is reckon with the fact that the founders of our nation were colonizers, not colonized, and that in the 245 years since declaring its independence, the United States has only expanded the scope of its imperial domination.

February 9, 2019

The trouble with all that spending on national defense

by Diana Ohlbaum

In rejecting one statistic regarding the size of the U.S. defense budget, Robert J. Samuelson missed the point and undermined his own argument in his Jan. 28 op-ed, “The truth about defense spending.” The United States now spends more on the military, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it did at the height of the Korean War, the Vietnam War or the Cold War...

April 23, 2021

The Bloated Pentagon Budget Isn’t Just Wasteful. It’s Racist

by Diana Ohlbaum

Americans can no longer pretend that the size of the Pentagon budget is a measure of national security, or that spending more on the military will keep us safer. Instead, we must recognize the Pentagon budget for what it is: a monument to white supremacy. And like Confederate statues, it needs to be removed from its pedestal.

November 29, 2018

Will More Women In Congress Mean Better U.S. Foreign Policy?

by Diana Ohlbaum

The 116th Congress will seat more women than ever before—at least 125, an increase of 18. These women will be a more diverse group, among them 43 women of color, including the first two Muslim congresswomen, first two Native American congresswomen, first black congresswomen from Massachusetts and Connecticut, first two Latina congresswomen from Texas, and the youngest congresswoman...