The federal government’s foreign aid totals about $55 billion, ($44 billion economic aid and $11 billion in military aid), which is less than 2 percent of the entire U.S. federal budget. I spell that out because most Americans think we spend 30 percent of our federal budget on foreign aid, and probably think 10 percent would even be fair.
We are spending about $12 billion a month on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps we should; perhaps we should not. But foreign aid is a tiny part of our budget.
When America looks for allies around the world, it is important that our foreign aid has made us friends before we need those allies.
Almost all the foreign aid we give to other countries is required to be spent in the U.S., helping to create jobs and support American industries.
As for the assertion in Bill Hughes’ May 26 letter, “Establishing aid doesn’t follow logic,” that Israel spent $3.5 billion of its aid buying French Mirage jets, it is simply not true in current times. France has not even sold Israel military equipment since Israel’s defensive war in 1967 for fear of offending Arab countries and losing commercial advantages.
In the Middle East, Israel is America’s most stable ally and the only liberal democracy in the region.