In 2012, Israel’s defense budget was around $15 billion. $3 billion of that budget came from the United States. Overall, Israel receives the second highest amount of aid from the United States. Israel is irrefutably in a state of war, the justice of which is being debated in this piece, but the United States should not be setting the precedent of support for administrations that perpetuate war. It is high time that the United States cuts foreign aid, reserving economic aid for countries that are in desperate need and eliminates all foreign military lending. The United States cannot afford to have its assets tied up in blood money any longer.
Last week, Israel asked the United States to up its defense aid package to $5 billion a year in 2017, making a $50 billion payout by the time the contract would expire. This request comes in light of the appointment of Israeli Chief of Public Diplomacy, Ran Baratz, who called President Obama a modern day anti-Semite, and claimed Secretary of State John Kerry had the mental capacity of a twelve-year-old. The continued U.S. military support of an administration that disrespects and insults high-profile government figures is embarrassing. Israel currently is ranked 19th in the U.N. Human Development Index, and outguns its neighbors by a heavy margin. Israel does not need the level of foreign aid that it receives from the United States. However, the support of Israel is not as big an issue in and of itself as is the level of interest that the United States exercises over the Middle East, and the world as a whole.
The money that the United States spends on foreign aid may be negligible in the grand scheme of things, but it is representative of the overall trend of spending far too much time and resources invested in interests abroad rather than focusing on the issues at home. Furthermore, the United States simply cannot continue to have the military presence that, aid-based or troop-based, it currently possesses. U.S. actions continuously tread the line between intervention and infringement upon sovereignty, and foreign aid is a symptom of the lamentable U.S. focus on foreign affairs rather than internal matters.
The United States needs to begin the slow, tedious and yet necessary withdrawal from foreign interests, both militarily and economically. This is not to say that the United States shouldn’t play any role in international affairs or diplomatic relations, but the current level of U.S. entanglement in foreign affairs and international politics cannot continue. Step one, stop funding Israel’s military expenditures. From there, the United States must pursue a policy of disentanglement and focus on domestic matters and infrastructure.
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Email Patrick Seaman at [email protected]