Call for US to cut foreign aid

2013-01-07 20:42

Jerusalem - US Senator Rand Paul on Monday called for a gradual reduction of American foreign aid, delivering the message in an unlikely venue - since Israel is among the top recipients of US assistance.

Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, told reporters that the US can't afford to keep borrowing money and then handing it out to others, even to allies like Israel.

"It will harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process," he told the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, an Israeli think tank.

"I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits... you destroy your currency by spending money you don't have."

Paul, a long-time opponent of foreign aid, acknowledged he was expressing a "minority opinion" and doubted Congress would end foreign aid in his lifetime.

"It's unlikely anything changes, but I think it is worth discussing," he said during his first trip to Israel.

Israel gets about $3bn billion a year in military aid from the US.

Paul insisted Washington should first cut aid to countries with strained ties to America, such as Pakistan and Egypt, and only later wean Israel off aid.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously stated he was interested in doing that.

Paul said the aid, used in large part by Israel and Egypt to buy US weapons, was creating an arms race in the Middle East that could ultimately harm Israel, not help it.

"I'm concerned that some of the weaponry that we are currently giving to Egypt may one day be used against Israel," he said.

Most American military assistance to Israel must be spent on US-made equipment, providing a boost to the military industry there.

Paul suggested Israel would actually benefit from less aid, saying it would enhance its sovereignty by not having to approach the US "on bended knee" when making its own decisions.

"I don't think you need to call me on the phone to ask permission for what you want to do to stop missiles from raining down on you from Gaza," he said.

Paul, the son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, is mentioned as a potential presidential contender in 2016.

A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Paul is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other Israeli leaders before heading off for meetings in Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

  • fidelity.mcoshi - 2013-01-07 20:48

    Good idea. More trade and less aid!

      boaz.yarmarkov - 2013-01-07 22:54

      Israel effectively secures NATO’s southeastern flank, without having a single American soldier stationed in its territory. Still, the superb military installations, the air and sea lift capabilities, the equipment and food storage capacity, and the trained manpower to maintain and repair sophisticated U.S. equipment are instantly at hand in Israel. It is the only country in the area that makes itself available to the United States, in any contingency. The "aid" is more for the US then it is for Israel.

      fidelity.mcoshi - 2013-01-07 22:59

      When did this become about Israel?

      boaz.yarmarkov - 2013-01-07 23:08

      Did you read the article?

      fidelity.mcoshi - 2013-01-07 23:25

      Yes I read it and this is what I understood by it! "Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, told reporters that the US can't afford to keep borrowing money and then handing it out to others, even to allies like Israel."

  • jameel.patel.39 - 2013-01-07 20:50

    And guess which country receives more aid then the whole of Africa put together, not so hard to guess hey...

      boaz.yarmarkov - 2013-01-07 22:47

      Israel and Egypt are the two largest recipients of U.S. aid. For its“participation” in the Gulf War, Egypt was forgiven its indebtedness of $9 billion. Israel pays its bills. It receives $2.8 billion every year. Of that amount, $2.0 billion is for military aid and $0.8 billion for economic aid. It’s fair to ask whether this is a good deal for the American taxpayer. Only a fraction of the aid given stays in Israel. By far the largest share remains with American defense contractors. Peter McPherson, former administrator of the Agency for International Development, estimated that every billion dollars of aid to Israel creates 60,000 to 70,000 jobs in the United States. Compared to the $2.0 billion yearly military aid to Israel, the U.S. contributes more than $130 billion(!) every year to the defense of Europe and more than $30 billion to the defense of Japan, Korea, and the Far East. Over 300,000 U.S. troops are stationed with NATO and over 30,000 U.S. troops in the Far East. In contrast, not one single U.S. soldier needs to be stationed and put at risk in Israel. U.S. military analysts estimate that the U.S. would have to spend the equivalent of $150 billion a year in the Middle East to maintain a force equivalent to Israel’s.

  • BulletProof. - 2013-01-07 20:51

    Also think the Rand needs some assistance after Nklanda story.

  • fidelity.mcoshi - 2013-01-07 21:19

    Paul, a long-time opponent of foreign aid, acknowledged he was expressing a "minority opinion" and doubted Congress would end foreign aid in his lifetime." "The terrorism of the powerful against the weaker states! The highest form of corruption, buying states or countries by promising them one form of assistance or another, buying leaders directly to ensure that they are complaint." -Frank Chikane Foreign aid is a misnomer. It should be called corruption support. Most likely, the fine print on foreign aid comes with many conditions that actually makes everything worse for receiving countries.

      mike.lindsay.391 - 2013-01-07 21:57

      Yea right..... and you would also turn down all the millions of dollars donated by the USA to SA for its world leading AIDS treatment campaign. In the real world one hand washes the other but you're proposing an alternative method ! Be cautious of 'biting the hand that feeds you.'

      boaz.yarmarkov - 2013-01-07 22:48

      Israel is truly America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Middle East. Former President Reagan put it well: “The fall of Iran has increased Israel’s value as perhaps the only remaining strategic asset in the region on which the United States can fully rely.” American aid to Israel is a two-way street. Aid to Israel is America’s greatest defense bargain.

      fidelity.mcoshi - 2013-01-07 23:13

      Mike, in the west, nothing is free and even acts of compassion are just poorly disguised was of making money. Only a fool falls into thinking that the west are the great saviours by giving away food and medicine they can't sell. It is reported that 50% of aid is lost in over heads and most has national security or foreign policy strings attached. Why would Senator Paul "doubt that the US Congress would end foreign aid in his lifetime." I suggest you look into 'dumping' on developing countries, the 'politics' of aid. No self-respected government trades its national sovereignty for aid.

      fidelity.mcoshi - 2013-01-07 23:26

      "Israel is truly America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Middle East." A military outpost!

      mike.lindsay.7927 - 2013-01-08 09:56

      Fidelity. You say that 'No self respecting government trades ......' but where would Africa be if each and every government therein didn't trade for aid. I don't agree with what happens is these circumstance, but this is the real world we live in. In the case of South Africa, does it's ANC government have any respect for its people, the environment or anything outside of its single minded pursuit of self enrichment ? I stand to be corrected, but I don't believe that all the riches in Africa are nearly enough to make it self-sustaining. Bad governance at all levels, defined by blatant corruption and plundering of assets, adds to the continuation of Africa's problems, and so the begging bowl can never be put away. Maybe this is a direct result of its colonial past, where the majority of the people of Africa believe that someone else must provide. The minority who disagree with this, tend to adopt so-called western attitudes and life styles. So, what of an alternative ? How do we begin to change what is seen by the majority in Africa as the norm ? I don't see how this can be done, without a major shift in social standards and behavior. Education, very much better health care, sustainable food resources and job creation to name a few are what's needed. But lets be honest, that cannot happen without sustained aid from the west. In as much as we'd like to be independent of aid on this continent, it just ain't gonna happen.

      fidelity.mcoshi - 2013-01-08 15:51

      "So, what of an alternative" Free trade and access to western markets, especially on products that Africa is able to compete on. The cruelty of trade protection was exposed in the publication "New Review" ( The report described the plight of cotton farmers who depend for their livelihoods on a market heavily skewed by American subsidies. The US is the world's largest exporter of cotton, a status it can maintain because it pays tens of billions of dollars to around 3,500 industrial-scale producers. By contrast, there are some 16,000 cotton farmers in Mali, one of the poorest nations in the world. Half of the country's export revenues come from cotton, but US policy depresses prices and stifles market access for small-time players. It is plainly an abuse of the global trading system. The EU and the US spend more on subsidies for their farmers than they do on aid, but what Africa needs is trade, not aid. The 'west' has never cared one jot about Africa, except how to profit from the corruption it has installed. You should read John Perkins' "Confession of an Economic Hitman". The book highlights how US aid agencies like Oxfam, USAID, Peace Corps,etc are part of US foreign policy agenda to buy leaders in developing countries to allow for US corporations to exploit those countries and live them in a state of dependency.

      fidelity.mcoshi - 2013-01-08 16:00

      "I stand to be corrected, but I don't believe that all the riches in Africa are nearly enough to make it self-sustaining. Bad governance at all levels, defined by blatant corruption and plundering of assets, adds to the continuation of Africa's problems, and so the begging bowl can never be put away." This is a result of development aid, where these silk-tie wearing ignoramuses are beholden to their western benefactors, which is western governments and don't give a damn about their citizens as they don't rely on them for their expenditure. As long as the army is paid, all is well. Western aid workers do not want an exit strategy as well as this would be the end of their organisation and their jobs. Protection from corrupt western "capital" is exactly what Africa needs but never gets. Any attempt to end this corruption is met with the usual array of sanctions and wars in order to restore corruption. You should read up more on the subject of "development aid" its contribution to the underdevelopment of Africa.

      mike.lindsay.7927 - 2013-01-09 12:09

      Fidelity, you are clearly much more knowledgeable than I am on this matter, but as I see it, we are in agreement about the basic problem. The issue is how to stop the current situation re. aid from continuing. Do you begin with the push to grant aid or the pull for more aid ? I'm reminded of a classic by Dire Straits, misquoted in part here ..... 'Money for nothing and the [aid] is free'. Go well my friend.

  • marksebba - 2013-01-07 22:23

    Cut Foreign Aid, but then Israel should mark up the price of their up and coming technology.

      boaz.yarmarkov - 2013-01-07 22:50

      There are many other benefits that the U.S. military derives from Israel. Israel is the only country that has gained battlefield experience with U.S. weapons. This experience is immediately conveyed to the U.S. Enormous quantities of captured Soviet weapons and defense systems were turned over to the U.S. military for analysis. Israel, in the light of its experience, continually modifies U.S. weapons systems. For instance, Israeli scientists have made over 200 improvements in the F-15 alone and similar improvements, mostly in avionics, in later-generation planes. It would be more in line with reality if military aid to Israel were classified as part of the defense budget, rather than as “aid”.

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