International Affairs budgets define the vision administrations have for America’s global standing, and change depending on the president in the White House. President George W. Bush increased the funding toward the State Department by 5% from the Clinton administration. In 2002 at the beginning of his presidency, Bush requested $23.9 billion dollars from the Federal budget for International Affairs. Some Bush’s main focuses with this budget were anti-terrorism, support for new and ongoing peacekeeping operations, nonproliferation, and anti-drug initiatives.
During his first term, Bush funneled billions of dollars into assistance programs for impoverished countries. Development Assistance and the Economic support fund received a total of $4.5 billion dollars in 2004. Collaboratively, Child Survival and Health Programs Fund received $1.8 billions dollars. This funding was primarily for poverty-stricken, African nations. After the events of September 11th, 2001, President Bush made steady increases to anti-terrorism and international military budgets. At the beginning of his first term, Bush only gave $216 million dollars to nonproliferation/anti-terrorism efforts, but in 2002, that number rose to about $535 million dollars.
The Obama administration brought progressive and liberal ideas into the oval office. Obama’s primary concerns in regards to the international affairs budget were global prosperity, climate change, and international peacekeeping operations. One of Obama’s most prominent campaign promises was combating global warming. His administration was granted $808 million dollars to fund the Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions and incentivise renewable energy use. This money was used effectively considering that wind and solar energy use was at an all time high and U.S. oil imports were significantly lower.
Also during his presidency, the threat of ISIS or ISIL was growing exponentially larger with each passing year. In 2015, Obama received a total of $4 billion dollars towards “Counter-ISIL”, counter-terrorism, and humanitarian assistance. Also in the Middle East, about $3 billion dollars were given to support peaceful goals in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Most of this money went to military efforts and support for U.S. embassies. Secondary endeavours in this area include economic development for small cities and better access to electricity and education.
The administration under President Donald Trump has taken a unique approach to foreign policy that echoes conservative foundation, but explores new change. $41.7 billion dollars were allocated in the 2019 fiscal year budget for international affairs, a sharp 30% decline from the the $59.6 billion dedicated in 2017. Justification provided by the administration was: “Our world is increasingly challenged by forces of conflict and instability, underscoring the need for America’s global leadership to protect and advance peace, economic development,and freedom,” highlighting sentiment for priority of domestic issues over foreign interference that did not directly help the American people.
The reduced budget prioritizes a strong contention for the Trump administration: enforcing border security. Implementation of rigorous screening and restriction for permissible travel of foreign citizens in an attempt to promote security and diminish the presence of terrorism has drawn fierce criticism from the public.
Another equally controversial direction President Trump has taken was a strong commitment to the reduction of illegal immigration and illicit goods from southern and maritime borders. Efforts coinciding this are addressing the root motivation for emigration: insecurity, lack of governance, and economic stagnation. The holistic goal of the efforts was to prevent possible international danger, but alienated general foreign citizens at times.
Commitments to allied nations along with protection of U.S oversea personnel and facilities consists of the rest of international efforts, with less focus on intervention that does not directly pertain to American interest. A major plan was construction of a U.S Embassy facility in Jerusalem ignited tension but was completed in order to assert American influence in the Middle Eastern region along with. Fortification of all U.S diplomatic facilities, as encouraged by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board in relation to an earlier security breach in the Benghazi Embassy was a driving retaliation to maintain safety of American influence.
Foreign affairs budgets have seen a juxtaposition in globalistic policy under Democratic administrations against domestic centered policy in Republican governance. Efforts stemming from each budget were unique and representative of a different vision of America. With each election, Americans must ask themselves their own vision they have for the world and America’s place in it.
Out-of-Town (informally called MUNdays) is a publication run by students in Exeter's Model UN club. Currently, the amazing Sophie Fernandez '22 maintains the publication, curates its articles, and edits them. We do accept outside submissions! If you have an article or reflection on foreign policy, email email@example.com!