Aid or ammunition? As Trump plans first budget, we’re reading about the security dividends of global health investments

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Trump’s budget entails steep cuts for diplomacy foreign aid – While this fiscal year’s $50.1 billion for the State Department and USAID represents just a little more than 1 percent of the entire federal budget, this AP piece cites sources saying the president’s proposal for next year would cut that by 37 percent.

US foreign aid expected to be the biggest casualty of Trump’s first budget – This analysis in The Guardian breaks down how President Trump’s plan to increase defense spending would cut investments in overseas emergency aid and development responses that represent a sliver of the U.S. budget, but that humanitarian and military leaders agree are essential to U.S. standing and security.

Trump’s 2018 budget will squeeze civilian science agencies – This piece in Science, in turn, breaks down how the president’s proposed increase to military spending also could lead to a more than 10 percent cut in funding for scientific research.

Make America benevolent again – This Washington Post perspective piece paints contrasting pictures of American power on display, in “billion-dollar B-2 bombers flying in formation over the White House, or, rather in a tiny salmon colored pill that, for $1 a day, keeps 11.5 million people in the developing world alive.” The author of the piece describes a visit to a CIDRZ clinic in Zambia where, with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the pharmacy shelves were stocked with the medicine known there as the “magic pill,” that turned HIV from a death sentence into a chronic manageable condition. She quotes a patient at the clinic who stopped to tell American visitors “Thank you. I know what you’ve done for us.”

The yield of U.S. investments in Africa – Click on the PDF under the photo on the Consortium of Universities for Global Health site, to read this commentary by Dr. Charles Holmes. He served for four years as CEO of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia cited in the above Post piece, after working for PEPFAR through two administrations. In this piece he gives both a close up and long view of the benefits of U.S. support that came, not only from the life-saving magic pill, but in the strengthened health system, ready to confront the next health threat. He writes of the proven value of the investments made, in consistently expressed gratitude among people whose health, home and communities have been made better, and in a restored work force, that will continue, now under a Zambian CEO, the life-saving work the U.S. made possible there.

Trump budget faces GOP resistance – This Politico piece rounds up reactions to Trump’s plan from both sides of the aisle, reminding readers that Congressional leadership and appropriators will be producing their own proposals, and including Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) response that foreign aid “directly advances U.S. national interests by fostering a safer and more stable world.”

Foreign assistance is not charity – The rest of Sen. Coon’s statement is here, and highlights the bipartisan popularity of overseas aid and its dividends at home and abroad.

One thought on “Aid or ammunition? As Trump plans first budget, we’re reading about the security dividends of global health investments

  1. Muguwa Joseph

    Cutting off global Health Aid to me will even be more disastrous; instability in those areas were the aid has currently been sent means lots of insecurity, unemployment, political instability – just to mention a few. If analysed critically, these are among the main motives people trying all means to “avenge” the haves-and have-nots affair”, incessant legal or illegal migrations to the USA, terrorism and the rest. So, having enough ammunition at home will not really be the problem solve. In fact it will be counter-productive. Just stop the geneses of these from their countries of origin.. More plausible, is the need to have another more cost- effective approach (if at all it is with the systems of aid dispatch) and accountability. Like the current approach of the USA fighting terrorism by doing it on the soils of the perpetrators.

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