Monday, September 24, 2012

UPDATE 9/25: Romney's Take on Foreign Aid; Paul & Rubio...The Foreign Aid Debate

The recent vote to suspend foreign aid to 3 Middle Eastern countries for their questionable support of the Unites States was a bust.  Senator Rand Paul's legislation lost in the Senate, with only 10 Senators supporting it, all Republicans.

 Via:  The Daily Caller 
 Senate overwhelmingly rejects foreign aid cuts for Egypt, Libya and Pakistan
By a vote of 81 to 10, the Senate on Saturday defeated legislation that would have suspended foreign aid to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya in the wake of the violent anti-American demonstrations in those countries. All 10 supporters of the bill were Republicans.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul had threatened to hold up all Senate business until the bill was considered. He succeeded in forcing a vote, but couldn’t come close to passage.
“When nearly 80 percent of Americans believe foreign aid should be reduced – especially to countries that are not our allies – it is inconceivable why their views are ignored by so many in Congress,” Paul said in a statement. “I am far from defeated on this; I will continue to fight for this issue when Congress returns, and I will continue to call attention to the billions of American dollars – borrowed from China, among other places – being sent to governments that are not willing to respect and protect our interests overseas.”
The proposal would have ended aid to the governments of Egypt and Libya until their police forces arrested all the perpetrators of the recent embassy attacks and handed them over to U.S. authorities. Pakistan would have been ineligible to receive aid until its government released an imprisoned doctor who cooperated with Americans in locating Osama bin Laden.
I agree with Senator Paul that we need to cut and/or suspend aid to the countries that do not have our best interests at heart.  That makes sense.  After all, why should we bankroll countries who hate us and are actively working against us?  Apparently, most of the Senate didn't agree with Senator Paul.

Both of my Senators from Florida voted against the legislation.  It wasn't surprising to me that Senator Bill Nelson (with a D behind his name) would vote against it, but I was a little confused and disappointed when I heard Senator Marco Rubio (a guy I happily supported in 2010) voted against it, too.   I couldn't understand why he wouldn't agree with something I thought was just plain common sense.  

It seems that Senator Rubio agreed that aid to Egypt and Pakistan be cut off or suspended. The sticking point was Libya.  

After reading what Senator Rubio had to say on the issue in his Facebook post and watching his address on the floor of the Senate, I am wondering if Senator Paul would have gotten a more positive response from his fellow Senators had he taken Senator Rubio's advice. 

I've provided the video and Senator Rubio's remarks posted on Facebook:

Facebook Remarks:
Today's Vote On Foreign Aid - By Marco Rubio 
In every region of the world, the United States should search for ways to use foreign aid and humanitarian assistance to strengthen our influence, the effectiveness of our leadership, and the service of our national interests and ideals. When done effectively, in partnership with the private sector, with faith-based organizations, and our allies, foreign aid is a cost-effective way, not only to export our values and our example, but to advance our security and economic goals.

Foreign aid is a foreign policy tool used by the United States to work with other countries. In the case of Libya, Egypt and Pakistan, each receives significant amounts of foreign aid from the U.S. taxpayers, and U.S. citizens expect these countries to meet the conditions we set upon this aid. In the wake of the uprisings across the Muslim world, and the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, it is imperative that the U.S. receive the full cooperation of the host nations in investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the attacks on our diplomatic missions and the deaths of four brave Americans.

Senator Rand Paul’s legislation would affect aid for these countries by effectively eliminating it. The American people deserve to be outraged following these attacks. However, the situations in these three countries are very different. In Egypt, the government has the security capabilities to protect our embassy and failed to do so. It was unacceptable that their president didn’t immediately condemn the attacks and instead focused on a YouTube video.

In Libya, there was a terrorist attack on our consulate which resulted in the death of four Americans, including the ambassador. The Libyan people rejected Islamists in their recent election, but their pro-Western Libyan government does not have the security capabilities of the Egyptians. So far, the Libyans are trying to do the right thing by working with the U.S. to investigate these attacks and strengthen their own security capabilities. In fact, just yesterday thousands of Libyans fed up with terrorism took matters into their own hands by seizing control of the headquarters of several militias and demanding they be disarmed. Cutting off aid to Libya, who is trying to help us, is not the answer as it would weaken their ability to help us and undermine their efforts to defeat the terrorists in their country. It would also represent America's stunning rejection of what is clearly the Libyan people's will to reject extremists and terrorists trying to lead Libya back to darkness.

With Pakistan, I believe we should condition some if not all of the aid on the release of Dr. Afridi. He has been arrested on false charges. The time has finally come for Pakistan to decide if they are going to be a truthful ally of the U.S.

Sen. Paul’s legislation lumps in three different countries with three very different situations and I could not support such a measure as drafted. Prior to the vote on this matter I urged Senator Paul to consider, at a minimum, restructuring his amendment to recognize that there are considerable differences between Libya, Egypt and Pakistan. Since no changes were ultimately made, I opposed this measure.
I will not pretend to be a foreign policy expert by any means.  I know that many people over there hate us.  Bottom line, America is hurting financially, but there could be instances where offering financial aid would be of benefit to us.  In those cases, America must stand on principle and let it be known where we draw the line...without wavering.  And as Senator Rubio said..."we must not abandon being smart". 

Here's what Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) said:

“The recent developments in Egypt, Libya and Pakistan are clearly a cause for concern.  Although this bill was not perfect, it’s important that we send a message to countries receiving U.S. foreign aid that American assistance comes with responsibilities.”

I hope Senator Paul and the conservatives in Congress continue to fight against the wasting of our "borrowed money"...we sure don't have any of our own money to waste.  But when there is a "smart" reason to offer financial aid with America's best interests at heart, we must do it with unwavering conditions.

UPDATE 9/25:

Mitt Romney gave a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting today.  He spoke about foreign aid across the globe (with a special mention of the Middle East) and how a Romney Administration would handle it.  I thought it was a good addition to the conversation sparked by this post.


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  2. It isn't as black and white as it seems. The more poor a country becomes, the more unstable they become as well.

    Countries that are trading partners and both are economically sound the less likely they are to attack one another. Pakistan has nukes. If they become even more unstable than they already are, those weapons could end up in the hands of al Qaeda.

    cutting off the money may feel good, but it could very well start off WWIII and could have horrifying results.

    The Arab Spring started out as rebellion against bread prices. Look what happened with after that.

    I wish it were that simple, but in the dangerous world we live in, it just isn't.

    1. Good points. I am wondering if Senator Paul knew he wouldn't get the vote, but(as Senator Toomey said) did it to "send a message". It did sound like he wasn't proposing never giving them aid. He just wanted them to comply with our requests before receiving it.

      I think Senator Rubio did a good job of explaining his stance. We need more like him to put things in perspective and communicate it clearly.

  3. Hard to shut down government supported money laundering operations. I don't believe sending money or not sending money has any affect on whether nukes stay in Pakistan or not.

    FWIW, the only things I've seen from Rand Paul so far have all been lip service. Like this bill that didn't have a chance. May as well pass a bill for World Peace. Personally, I don't trust him an iota to do anything worthwhile. We'll see as time marches on. Course I don't trust republicans to do anything worthwhile either. None since Reagan have and Reagan didn't turn back the liberal/communist agenda even one turn of the screw. Course, he had a Dem congress, so what he did do is impressive.

    I'll vote for them as I vote Against democrats.

    Tea Party holds the only chance for doing something to get American values back in place in the next half century.

    1. Well, Rand Paul is supposedly a Tea Party guy, so maybe there's still hope for him. Actually, the Senate is ruled by Harry Reid and the Dems, so I really didn't expect the Republicans in the Senate to accomplish anything much.

    2. I don't really see him acting like it. But yes, it's hard to tell the players until they get a majority then see what they do/how they vote.

  4. Foreign aid = buying love. It never works, never has, never will. I understand Rubio's point, in that whatever slight marginal benefit foreign governments gain from US $$ will be lost by cutting these govt's off cold turkey. A cost/benefit analysis is difficult to assess, owing to the complexities within each foreign recipient, but a broad brush conclusion can easily be drawn: for the most part, it's money down a rat hole. The Pakis won't become any less stable because a billion or two is unavailable for bribes.

    Just end the whole stupid policy of buying love. The love we get (and I use the word 'get' generously) is not worth it.

    1. I understand your point. The Beatles may have been right, "Money Can't Buy Me Love".

      Another reason to consider financial aid is that it could be used as leverage. The threat of losing it may prompt a recipient country to think twice before going against the US.

  5. Not black or white my A$$. Let's try something new. Let's cut it off and see what they'll do to get it back. Just maybe they'll listen to our concerns ... DUH, nothing else has worked ... has it?

  6. We don't need to completely disengage ... but we do need to start using the retraction of aid as a stick more and the continuation of aid as a carrot less. A lot.

  7. Embassies are money laundering outlets.. Diplomacy with the muslim brotherhood who has it in their stated goals that all infidels must die and they intend to make that happen. And they've been at it 700+ years in earnest.

    Foreign aid is money laundering. Did the people in Haiti get any money, food, aid, housing? Nope.

    This isn't kindergarten, but there were some valuable lessons there. Some kids never play nice.

    1. You're right that many countries who receive our aid do not use it legitimately. That's a real problem and America has got to be more prudent in our decisions when doling it out.

      Mitt Romney gave a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative today. He spoke about foreign aid, the middle east and what his plans are regarding how a Romney Administration would handle the subject. I am planning on adding the speech to this post.

    2. TCL, I'll come back here to read it and thank you.

      I don't believe any 'foreign aid' money goes to people who actually need it. This is not a challenge to You - but I'd like someone to show me where any foreign aid money actually went to help someone who needed it. Maybe if we send 1,000 to Namibia, 50 will actually get transformed into food that Namibians eat. I'm just that pessimistic about it. I think the vast majority goes to fuel dictator militias, palaces, harems and the like. Most certainly in places like N Korea, Haiti, the Middle East and most other places I can think of.

      I'm just tired of the constant BS and your post was a convenient place for me to vent. I love you and your blog, I hope I'm not being a pain. Let me know if I am though. I can Take criticism :)

    3. I also believe that a lot of the money we send overseas goes to corrupt governments and not to the people it is intended to help. I agree with you whole heartedly on that one.

      The money President Bush sent to Africa for HIV aids may be the only example that may have been legit. It saved a lot of lives.

      I am not qualified, nor have I done any research to find foreign aid programs that have actually worked. I do know that we should not be sending money to countries who are actively working against our best interests. Egypt comes to mind. I know Pakistan has nukes, so that is something we must keep in mind. But using foreign aid as a leverage to persuade them to release the doctor who helped us get Bin Laden may justify it.

      After you hear Romney's speech, let me know if you think he's on the right track...or just dreaming.

    4. TCL, I won't hear Romney's speech, but I will pick up the highlights and be more than happy to offer an opinion. At this point in elections, I pretty much think what candidates say comes from marketing/demographic analyzing people. ie. What do I need to say to get as many (fill in the blank) people on board.

      But they occasionally let out some unscripted stuff, like obama with Joe the Plumber. So far, I don't think that's worked well for Mitt :) Airplane windows not going down for example. But I don't think many people care about that kind of stuff. They're lined up on either the 'Let's get our country back' or 'who is going to keep my IV drip going' side of the fence.

    5. From what I understand, that airline window comment was a joke the left jumped on and tried to turn into a gaffe.


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