Trumps budget to cut foreign aid, may impact Pakistan

The proposals being released by the White House on Thursday is a "budget blueprint" and not a complete budget. The full budget would be introduced in May.

By: PTI | Washington | Published: March 16, 2017 4:33 pm
Donald trump, trump, Trump budget, trump budget plan, trump administration, Donald trump office, immigration, US, United states, world news US President Donald Trump. (File Photo)

President Donald Trump in his first budget is seeking to cut the foreign aid by a whopping 28 per cent which is likely to have an impact on top recipients like Pakistan. The budget will also call for a dramatic shift from the “soft power” diplomacy of the Obama era to a “hard power” military buildup. It would propose an increase the country’s defence budget by $54 billion. The US is expected to spend more than $40 billion on foreign aid in the current fiscal year, with about 60 per cent of that for economic and development assistance and 40 per cent on security, a media report said.

This is likely to have an impact on America’s foreign aid to countries like Pakistan, which has been one of the top recipients of America’s foreign aid post 9/11. The top recipients are Afghanistan, where 8,400 US troops are deployed, about $ 4.7 billion; Israel, $3.1 billion; Egypt, $1.4 billion; Iraq, $1.1 billion; Jordan,$ 1 billion and Pakistan, $742 million. Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia each received more than $500 million, the report said.

“You will see a fairly dramatic reduction in State Department (budget). That is not a commentary on the President’s policy towards the State Department,” Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management of Budget, said.

He said that the foreign aid line items in the budget happens to fall within the State Department functions.

During his campaign, Trump, had said he wants to spend less money overseas and more money back home.

The budget proposals tries to accomplish this goal. The proposals being released by the White House later today is a “budget blueprint” and not a complete budget. The full budget would be introduced in May.

Mulvaney said despite the reduction in the State Department budget, the White House has protected the core diplomatic function of the State.

“What you see in the State Department budget is the reduction in the foreign aid program,” he said.

“This is the America First Budget. We rolled it by using president’s own words, through articles that have been written about his policies, we talked to him, we wanted to know what his policies were and we turned those policies into numbers. There will be more money on defence, USD 54 billion.” Mulvaney said.

“There is more money for enforcing security at the border and there is more money on enforcing law on the books generally,” he said.

“There is no question that it is a hard power budget. This is not a soft power budget. And that was done intentionally. The President very clearly wants to send a message to our allies and our potential adversaries that this is a strong power administration.

“So we have seen money move from soft power programme such a foreign aid to more hard power programs. That’s allies can expect. That’s adversaries can expect,” Mulvaney told reporters.

Mulvaney said the President wanted to do that without any increase in the projected USD 483 billion budget deficit in 2018.

“We have simply not added to the deficit in order to accomplish his policies. You will see reductions from the President who ran on America First campaign,” he said, adding that there is reductions in the State Department and Environment Protection Agency.

“If he said it on the campaign it is in the budget,” he said.

Among other things, the budget proposes $1.5 billion towards building the wall along the US-Mexico border. The money includes for carrying out feasibility study and conducting some of the pilots projects for building the wall, which was Trump’s major campaign promise.

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  1. N
    NRI
    Mar 16, 2017 at 11:49 am
    As an Indian-origin-Indo-Aryan-Indic NRI, I am so happy that this will affect stan negatively more than India positively. Like I was happy about the election campaign rhetoric against Muslims, only to realize that it exactly acted against Kutchibotlas and Patels.
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    1. B
      Balagopal
      Mar 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm
      In reality it is never going to happen. The CIA and Pentagon (known as "The Deep State") will jump in and make sure the military conflict and Taliban insurgency in the area remain for long since it helps US and Chinese arms s and possible intervention. Military aid to stan will continue covertly and overtly and may even increase due to the proposed rise in US military budget. China will also lobby the US to keep the status quo for its own strategic interests in the region. Sadly, the people in the region is going to suffer on account of these developments.
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      1. G
        George THAKUR
        Mar 16, 2017 at 10:08 pm
        Non-committal and hallucinatory as it seems, none in pragmatist Donald Trump's regime is talking -- even thinking -- of eliminating if not reducing the national debt of $ 21 trillion. 40 billion in foreign aid each fiscal year appears extraneous when interest alone on the national debt nears the total of the US foreign aid. Trump truly needs a Gujarati to sort out America's financial debacles.
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