The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

US aid and diplomacy budget cut, except...

In the US, both the House of Representatives and the Senate are working on bills that would make deep cuts to the US foreign aid budget. These cuts will undermine the Obama administration’s policy of relying more on such aid as a completement to US power, reduce the ability to open consulates and finance international organizations, and make any idea of a “Marshall Plan” for the post-uprisings Arab world completely moot. But of course there is an exception:

The Republicans also attach conditions on aid to Pakistan, Egypt and the Palestinians, suspending the latter entirely if the Palestinians succeed in winning recognition of statehood at the United Nations. However, one of the largest portions of foreign aid — more than $3 billion for Israel — is left untouched in both the House and Senate versions, showing that, even in times of austerity, some spending is inviolable.

Can't say I'm surprised that Israel, a relatively wealthy country, will remain untouched while more worthy humanitarian aid will be slashed.

With regard to the balance between diplomatic and defense budgets, I have just started reading the provocative new book by Stephen Glain, State vs. Defense, which chronices the rise of militarism in the US and resultant paltry spending on diplomacy. So far, it really looks good.