Before his appointment as Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry attacked Rand Paul for wanting to cut USAID to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan (September 14, 2012). In the past, Rand Paul has said he would eliminate all foreign aid across the board, to all countries, so this latest addition is not particularly new.
In obvious disbelief over Senator Paul’s position, Senator Kerry explains the importance of aid and the harm that would come if aid were stopped. Harm would come not just to the people of the region but to American interests as well. Senator Kerry emphasizes that aid money goes to civilians who are trying to fend off extremist groups from gaining strength within the region. The aid is helping to stabilize nations, one neighborhood at a time. Civilians are sacrificing much in order to secure their freedoms, and consequently secure American freedoms.
Part of Sen. Kerry’s discontent also seems to stem from the fact that in relation to how much good foreign aid does, “and the impact is extraordinary,” the US actually spends very little money. So to squabble over the cost verses the benefit should be a moot point. He explains that, of the entire budget of the United States that goes into all our foreign operations, embassies, security and aid – all things combine total in at less than 1% of the annual budget.
The stability of these countries are critical to building peace in the Middle East. If aid were just eliminated it would have a “profoundly negative impact that could contribute to even more violence.”
– Mary Purcell