Thursday, January 4, 2018

Walking the Talk on Foreign Aid

The other day I walked out to our sun room where my best girl was reading.  I had just seen a piece on the news to the effect that President Trump had precipitously cut some $250 million or so from our foreign aid to Pakistan.  That nation, the president had said, was harboring and supporting ISIS and other terrorists, and if they were going to do that, we sure as heck were not going to pay for it.

"Best Girl", I said, "Do you recall how many times over the years we have wondered about foreign aid?"  I went on to point out that many times over the years we had wondered why the USA was giving money to nations and regimes that opposed us in the UN, that did things we did not agree with, and that were counter to our interest.

We had wondered this, I said, for so many years, only to have the State Department operate on a business-as-usual basis, and shell out dollars seized from USA taxpayers (and borrowed from China) to these nations that hate us.  Talk, talk, talk, threaten, threaten, threaten, then do nothing and blithely turn over the money.

Donald Trump became president on the notion that he was going to be a different one from the previous 43 people who had served (yes, I included Cleveland once).  He was a businessman, with a distinct and different view of the flow of money ... that he actually cared about spending.  We saw that, when he immediately said he would negotiate down the expense of some Federal contracts (and Lockheed Martin, for one, was only too happy to save taxpayer money).

The businessman in him must have choked when he looked at to whom, and how much, we were giving away.  President Trump knows that the government does not "have" money; it has to tax the people for it and borrow the rest, and so he respects the notion that it should be handled with exceptional stewardship.

Now, when the White House announced the cut to Pakistan, it was stated that this had nothing to do with the Pakistanis voting in the UN to oppose the USA for moving our embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv, where the Israeli government is not, to Jerusalem, where it is.  It had nothing to do with that, they insisted.

Now, if we did cut foreign aid to every nation that voted against the USA for moving our embassy to Israel, we would be cutting aid to a lot of nations (and saving us a ton of borrowed money).  So I'm willing to cut the White House some slack and say that the cut in aid to Pakistan was not really punishment for their vote.

But I do believe that a likely scenario is that President Trump took careful note of who had voted against us.  And he had that in the back of his mind, the notion that we give money to nations that oppose us, when he specifically heard some new intelligence about Pakistan harboring ISIS or Al Qaeda terrorists.  That, I imagine, put him over the edge, and he ordered the cut in aid as a shot across the bow to other nations that rely on our wallet but show no respect for it.

Did you notice that there is a reception planned, for the 9th, I think, for the ambassadors and representatives of nations like the Czech Republic that voted with the USA on moving the embassy?  I did.  I laughed when I heard about it, a laugh of joy that we are finally, under this president, "walking the talk" as far as foreign aid is concerned -- oppose us, and risk financial penalties; come with us courageously, and we will show our appreciation.

I love it.  A president is finally rising above the diplomatic cesspool that is the deep state swamp, and doing what the main-street American feels he should be doing.  We're not lightly taking third world countries grabbing our money and spitting in our faces.  Come April, I have a large payment to make to IRS, and I care very deeply about how that is to be spent.

Now we have a president who cares as much as I do.  Let's have even more of that.

Copyright 2018 by Robert Sutton
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