Fox News personalities have called for the United States to cut off foreign aid to several countries in the wake of protests and attacks on U.S. consulates abroad. However, top military officials and Republicans say cutting foreign aid is "foolish" and bad for national security.
Fox Calls For U.S. To Slash Foreign Aid Following Attacks On U.S. Consulates
Fox's Bolling On Pakistan: "Maybe It's Time To Cut Off The Aid." During the September 24 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Eric Bolling complained about the billions of dollars in aid the United States has provided to Pakistan, then said, "Maybe it's time to cut off the aid and maybe send a drone or two right over the embassy." [Fox News, The Five, 9/24/12]
Fox Hosts Retired Army Colonel To Suggest Foreign Aid Should Be Cut Off Following Embassy Attacks. During the September 24 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, retired Army Col. Danny McKnight suggested that the U.S. should stop sending foreign aid to the Middle East because of protests and attacks at U.S. consulates. From the show:
NEIL CAVUTO (host): You know, Colonel, we saw the case of Mogadishu, good intentions gone bad. We talk now today with our overtures to the Middle East, and particularly those in Libya and elsewhere, this betting on the moderates and that those good intentions and the good money behind it will pay off. We saw the same in Mogadishu, didn't turn out that way. Similar lessons now, or what?
McKNIGHT: Well, similar for sure. It didn't pay off over there, and it probably would have even been a tougher thing to achieve in Mogadishu than it would have been in Egypt, Libya, et cetera. But I will tell you that if this is the kind of reaction we get from the people just because they don't agree with a movie or whatever the reason was -- I think they were looking for a reason, personally -- but if we're putting money towards them and they burn down our embassies, burning our flag, kill our people, that money's not being paid back properly, not at all. They don't deserve that money. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 9/24/12]
Hannity: Media Should Ask Obama Why He's "Giving Billions Of Taxpayer Dollars In Foreign Aid To Egypt." Fox host Sean Hannity included in a "list of questions that our inept media ought to be asking the White House": "Why are you giving billions of taxpayer dollars in foreign aid to Egypt, a country where Osama bin Laden's name has been spray-painted now onto our embassy?" [Fox News, Hannity, 9/14/12, via Nexis]
However, Military Experts And Republicans Say Foreign Aid Is Necessary For National Security
Republican Sen. McCain: "It Would Be Incredibly Foolish" To Strip Foreign Aid From Egypt, Libya. Politico reported that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) slammed fellow Republicans who suggested the United States should strip foreign aid from Egypt and Libya. McCain said stripping foreign aid would be "incredibly foolish" and "only someone who doesn't understand anything about that part of the world would suggest such idiocy":
Sen. John McCain scolded some conservative Republicans for trying to strip foreign aid from Egypt and Libya after attacks on diplomatic facilities in those countries left a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead.
"Of course I think it would be incredibly foolish," McCain, an Arizona Republican and leading defense hawk, told reporters Thursday as he left a closed-door Senate Intelligence Committee briefing about Tuesday's attacks that was attended by CIA Director David Petraeus.
"Only someone who doesn't understand anything about that part of the world would suggest such idiocy," he said. [Politico, 9/13/12]
Former National Security Adviser Jones Says Foreign Aid Is One Of The Most Effective, Long-Term Counter Terrorism Tools. According to the Huffington Post, former National Security Adviser James L. Jones, a retired Marine Corps general, has said:
The work being done in the global health world by the US and other nations is crucial for promoting global stability and eliminating the circumstances that foster hate and radicalism. In the 21st century it's not enough to have a strong and capable military to counter the threat of terrorism and instability. [Huffington Post, 9/20/12]
Gen. Petraeus Says Congress Should Not Cut Foreign Aid: "This Is A National Security Issue. It's Not Just A Foreign Aid Issue." In a 2011 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. David Petraeus, then the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, explained that "inadequate resourcing of our civilian partners could, in fact, jeopardize accomplishments of the overall mission" in Afghanistan. Petraeus went on to explain that the need for foreign aid "is a national security issue ... not just a foreign aid issue":
PETRAEUS: I am concerned that levels of funding for our State Department and USAID partners will not sufficiently enable them to build on the hard-fought security achievements of our men and women in uniform. Inadequate resourcing of our civilian partners could, in fact, jeopardize accomplishment of the overall mission. I offer that assessment, noting that we have just completed a joint civil-military campaign plan between U.S. Forces and Afghanistan and the U.S. Embassy which emphasizes the critical integration of civilian and military efforts in an endeavor such as that in Afghanistan.
SEN. LINDSAY GRAHAM (R-SC): At the end of the day, should the foreign operations accounts for Afghanistan be considered overseas contingency operations? The same category?
PETRAEUS: Well, it's certainly as important. Again, I don't know how to classify categories. As I wrote in that letter, this is a national security issue. It's not just a foreign aid issue.
GRAHAM: From your point of view, it would be a national security?
PETRAEUS: Correct. [U.S. Senate, Committee on Armed Services, 3/15/11]
Daily Caller: Former Republican Members Of Congress Explain "Why Congress Shouldn't Slash Foreign Aid." On the right-wing website The Daily Caller, former Reps. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Connie Morella (R-MD) explained how cutting foreign aid would do "little or nothing to tame the deficit, but will seriously hamper our ability to conduct an effective foreign policy." From their post:
As two long-serving Republican former members of Congress, we believe the fiscal situation in this country demands bold action. However, we are deeply concerned about the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' recent proposal to make sweeping cuts to the budgets of the State Department and at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The last few months of global turmoil have sparked new calls for U.S. leadership in uncertain times. Slashing the 1% of the federal budget allocated to international affairs will do little or nothing to tame the deficit, but it will seriously hamper our ability to conduct an effective foreign policy. [The Daily Caller, 4/6/11]
Furthermore, Foreign Assistance Is Relatively Small Amount Of U.S. Budget
Forbes: "From A Purely Budgetary Perspective," Foreign Aid "Is Not Much Of An Issue." Forbes magazine asserted that foreign policy is a relatively small amount of the U.S. budget while aiming to achieve a variety of humanitarian goals and strengthen national security. From the article:
The classic criticism of foreign aid is that it ends up supporting corrupt or authoritarian regimes. That's the question the Obama administration is going to have to sort out as the situation in Egypt evolves. However, from a purely budgetary perspective, it's not much of an issue. Total U.S. foreign aid in 2010 was about 1.7% of the U.S. budget. By any measure, the $1.5 requested for Egypt this year -- down from $1.8 billion in 2006 -- is a lot of money. But put it in perspective. As part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008, Uncle Sam invested $100 billion in Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo collectively in order to prop up the financial sector. Earlier this week, Chevron reported earnings of $5.3 billion the last quarter of 2010 alone.
Forbes cited the following graph to give perspective on foreign aid cost in context of entire U.S. budget: