Secretary of State Mike Pompeo faced internal opposition to U.S. support for the war in Yemen from State Department staff, according to a recent report. The staffers had become concerned by the rising civilian death toll in the war being carried out by Persian Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — not only owing to bombings of densely populated areas, but also a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the fighting, with up to 8.4 million people at risk of starvation.
The U.S. Senate passed a measure that would codify into law the $38 billion defense aid package for Israel over 10 years that was negotiated in the final days of the Obama administration. The U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 approved Wednesday gives the defense package the imprimatur of Congress, which would keep any future president from reneging. The $38 billion deal negotiated in 2016 is the most generous ever to Israel.
President Trump on Monday sent Congress a $4.4 trillion budget with steep cuts in domestic programs and entitlements, including Medicare, and large increases for the military, envisioning deficits totaling at least $7.1 trillion over the next decade. The blueprint, which has little to no chance of being enacted as written, amounts to a vision statement by Mr. Trump, whose plan discards longtime Republican orthodoxy about balancing the budget, instead embracing last year’s $1.5 trillion tax cut and new spending on a major infrastructure initiative.
Forty-five billion dollars. That’s how much the Pentagon says the Afghan war is costing American taxpayers, and with no end in sight they may have to keep footing that bill for years to come.
A key component is missing from the current controversial discussion surrounding football players and the national anthem. In the recent days of argument over whether NFL players have the right to protest racial inequality and systemic injustice in the United States, few have brought up the fact that less than a decade ago, professional football players didn’t even appear on the field during the national anthem.
Even as President Donald Trump faces ever-intensifying investigations into the alleged connections between his top aides and family members and powerful Russian figures, he serves as commander in chief over a U.S. military that is killing an astonishing and growing number of civilians. Under Trump, the U.S. is re-escalating its war in Afghanistan, expanding its operations in Iraq and Syria, conducting covert raids in Somalia and Yemen, and openly facilitating the Saudi’s genocidal military destruction of Yemen.
The budget won’t pass. But what it says about the president is really, really important. Using the Pentagon’s massive budget as a baseline, 55 billion is a relatively small increase. But it’s paid for, in part, by a relatively huge cut to the State Department. State’s $55 billion budget, $19 billion of which is spent on operations related to American wars, is slashed by 29 percent (leaving it with a total of $39 billion). The operative words for State are fewer and less: fewer diplomats, less development aid, and less support for international organizations like the United Nations.
The president’s plan would cut spending for many agencies to historically low levels. President Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint released on Thursday proposes cuts in discretionary spending for most government agencies to pay for large increases in military spending.
Despite Michael Pence’s claim that we need to begin by “rebuilding our military,” the U.S. is not even close to losing its overwhelming military dominance.. Last year, the United States spent $600 billion on its military – roughly as much as the next eight countries put together.