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McCain, Kaine release memo pleading to save foreign aid

(AP Photos)

PHOENIX — Not often does a former Republican presidential candidate and a Democratic vice presidential nominee partner up to make a plea to the Congress and the president.

That’s exactly what happened Thursday, when U.S. Sens. John McCain and Tim Kaine wrote a memo, published by Politico, detailing reasons why the United States shouldn’t cut foreign aid.

The two start off the memo proclaiming that security of the nation is the first priority for the government, and after that, then the other resources should come into play to help protect other American interests.

“Defense Secretary James Mattis made that point emphatically when he was in charge of U.S. Central Command,” the memo read. “‘If you don’t fully fund the State Department,’ he told Congress, ‘then I need to buy more ammunition.’ Most general officers share Mattis’ opinion that funding development programs is important to achieving our military objectives.”

In order to achieve these military objectives without using military force, ensuring good relationships around the world is key, according to McCain and Kaine.

They said that 10 years ago, most of the nation’s aid was used to help countries that suffered natural disasters.

“Today, 80 percent of our assistance provides relief and promotes stability in conflict zones and states on the verge of collapse,” the memo read.

They bring up the fact that keeping good relationships with foreign countries also helps the economy.

“Of course, with annual spending deficits and a large national debt, Americans must be wise about where we invest our resources,” McCain and Kaine said. “But concerns over our fiscal condition and the taxes required to sustain it have encouraged some people to assume mistakenly that our assistance to other nations is too expensive to continue at present levels.

“In reality, we spend less than 1 percent of the federal budget on foreign assistance. During the Reagan administration, we spent twice what we do today. President Ronald Reagan, fiscal and defense hawk that he was, understood that helping other nations overcome their challenges was a much less expensive way to prevent and subdue threats to our interests than risking our soldiers’ lives to defend them.”

President Donald Trump has said before that “my job is not to represent the world,” and has demonstrated he means what he says by pulling the United States from the Paris climate agreement.

According to the Associated Press, Trump pulling them out of the agreement means he is pulling the country away from their “staunchest allies, who have expressed alarm about the decision.”

Further cuts to foreign aid will make it “harder to make America safer,” McCain and Kaine said.

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