THE end is nigh!
US President Donald Trump’s doomsday budget was released on Thursday and it makes for bleak reading. If Trump has it his way, before long we’ll likely be taking up arms and entering an Orwellian nightmare while set adrift on a planet that rapidly disintegrates beneath our feet.
Alright, I’m being overly dramatic. But in reviewing the budget, it’s difficult to find things to be positive about.
While ravaging social security and benefits at home in the States, it also looks to cut assistance to the international community. As a planet, there are not many of us who stand to benefit other than the familiar winners of military, veterans and law enforcement.
In Trump’s defence, he has kept to his vision of “America first” and by doing so has decimated UN funding and foreign aid by a reported US$10 billion.
The budget states the Trump administration’s intention to “reduce or end funding for international organisations whose missions do not substantially advance US foreign policy interests”, choosing instead to ferry the money into the coffers of the military who will see a generous increase of US$54 billion.
All of this is said to be in a supposed move to keep America safe from outside forces. Trump himself said this on Twitter on Thursday.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2017
The US already has the most powerful military in the world, and the administration appears to be misreading the consensus on a world stage that sees the US’s only realistic potential rivals, China and Russia, slowing and cutting their military spending respectively.
The cutting of foreign aid to give to the military in a bid for protection is an ill-considered strategy and shows the worrying short-sightedness of the Trump administration.
It will come as news to no one that maintaining national security and combating terrorism requires far more than military spending.
The money that Trump is pulling from needy communities and war torn areas across the globe will devastate America’s engagement and cooperation with the rest of the world and cultivate a prime breeding ground for extremism.
While the costs of terrorism are brutally evident, the drivers of them are less so. By pulling investment in conflict prevention and resolution, countering violent extremism, peacekeeping, sustainable and inclusive development, the enhancement and respect of human rights, and timely responses to humanitarian crises, Trump runs the risk of undermining international peace and security and increasing the potential for global instability and terrorism.
And all of this doesn’t take into account the fact that the world is now facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, with 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria facing starvation and famine.
But this looming catastrophe does not appear to concern the White House who on Thursday, when asked by Al Jazeera reporter James Bay whether they were worried that some of the most vulnerable people on Earth would suffer as a result of proposed cuts to foreign aid, answered that they are “going to spend less money on people overseas and more money on people back home.”
Thankfully, Trump’s budget faces little chance of being passed by Congress in its current form and lawmakers are under no obligation to consider it.
But it represents the first blueprint of White House priorities and shows us everything we need to know about the cruel, heartless man sitting in the Oval Office.