Although this point has been raised repeatedly here at The Borgen Project, we can’t say it enough – it is absurd that the U.S.’s military budget is more than 10 times the budget for foreign aid. New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof recently shed light on the U.S.’s overinvestment in our military:
“The U.S. spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined…we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest budget, China.”
Addressing poverty is just as crucial to our national security as military/intelligence spending. Paradoxically, as Kristof points out in his column, it is often the people with expertise in military who also have the insight to warn against overinvestment in arms. President Dwight Eisenhower once said:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
President Eisenhower’s bold and wise words have been echoed by others, such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates who has argued for more investment in diplomacy and development aid. It is time for President Obama to take heed of these words and emphasize development, rather than requesting to increase military spending (which he did this year).