The House Foreign Affairs Committee is moving forward with a bill signifiying a new shift on America’s foreign aid, with some $6.4 billion in cuts. Those will be extremely welcome with the budget deficit soaring.
At the same time, those cuts are not an attempt to reduce America’s enormous programs aimed at buying influence abroad to more reasonable levels, but are directly at punishing a handful of nations seen as not sufficiently obedient to America’s whims.
The cuts center around post-revolution Egypt, Lebanon in the wake of its government change, and the Palestinian Authority in an effort to punish the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation. There are also conditional cuts to Pakistan aid, explictly demanding they fulfull a number of demands regarding their internal military conflicts.
In the end the “cuts” will likely be short-term, with those countries which acquiesce to the demands likely to see not only a resumption of aid, but an increase as a reward. This would be in keeping with the Obama Administration’s plans to increase the influence of the State Department going forward.