Paul Chabot may not have succeeded in his attempt to win a seat in the California Assembly, but the Hesperia High graduate this week took his attempt to affect governmental policy to a national stage.


Chabot, a 1992 Hesperia graduate, sought the Republican nomination for the 63rd assembly district, which includes Rancho Cucamonga, Loma Linda, Upland and portions of neighboring communities in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, last year.


He didn't win the nomination the seat went to fellow Republican Mike Morrell but Chabot has spent the week rubbing elbows with the politically powerful nonetheless, participating in this week's U.S. Global Leadership Coalition conference in Washington.


"The point of the conference is really to let our congressional and Senate leaders know that we cannot ignore issues outside of our borders," Chabot said Wednesday, while waiting for his plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. He spent Tuesday and Wednesday "speaking with Democrats and Republicans, everyone (understanding) the value of us having an international footprint, not just for our national security, but also for our economic prosperity."


The conference brought together members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, legislators from both sides of the aisle, business leaders and experts like Chabot. Chabot, an advisor for law enforcement, justice and drug control programs for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, today runs Chabot Strategies LLC, a security consulting firm, and is the author of "Eternal Battle Against Evil: A Comprehensive Strategy to Fight Terrorists, Drug Cartels, Pirates, Gangs and Organized Crime."


Key to the nation's security and economic prosperity, he said, are "civilian boots on the ground" in foreign countries.


"In Colombia, violence was out of control, cops were being killed, and the U.S. had a good civilian footprint there, (with) no military presence at that point," and civilian agents helped turn Colombia into a relatively peaceful and healthy democracy. It's a model that he says could be replicated in Mexico, before America ends up with a "failed state" on its southern border.


"In these (tough economic) times, everybody's looking at cutting budgets, and we understand that," Chabot said, who describes himself as a "huge Tea Party Republican." "What we're asking for is if it gets cut, that it gets cut at the same level as everything else."


The United States' investment in international aid is much smaller than most Americans expect it to be: Only 1 percent of the federal budget goes to programs like USAID and the Voice of America.


"By the little investment for our civilian infrastructure we're able to help other countries," Chabot said. "We have American interests, whether it's national security or our economy."


Chabot, an Iraq war veteran, is part of Veterans for Smart Power, a group that seeks to influence policy to leverage civilian resources along with military power.


"The small investment we make pays off huge dividends," he said, citing the examples of Germany and Japan after World War II and South Korea rebuilding as a successful democracy and trading partner after the Korean War. "It was really a civilian footprint after major conflicts, or even to prevent future conflicts" that led to those successes.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.