Trump administration to reduce military aid to Pakistan

Published: May 23, 2017
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US President Donald Trump. PHOTO: REUTERS

US President Donald Trump. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration’s budget proposal would convert some of the United States’ foreign military grants to loans, part of a larger effort to slash spending on diplomacy, aid and programmes abroad by more than 29 per cent, the White House said on Monday.

Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, in a briefing with reporters on Monday said that aid to Pakistan would be reduced, though he did not give concrete details.

“[The] State [Department] still has some flexibility to come up with a final plan on that, but I do know that writ large we have proposed to move several countries from a direct grant programme to a loan guarantee programme,” he said.

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US military assistance to partners and allies reached $13.5 billion in 2015, or 28 per cent of all US foreign aid spending that year, according to the Congressional Research Service. Most grants through the Foreign Military Financing [FMF] programme go to Pakistan Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.

The cuts to programmes under the State Department are in part meant to fund an increase in military spending. The White House budget documents showed total defense spending for the 2018 fiscal year at $603 billion, about 3 per cent higher than President Barack Obama’s proposed 2018 fiscal year defense budget.

The $603 billion includes funding for nuclear weapons programmes at the Department of Energy and other national defense programmes as well as the Department of Defense. The Pentagon’s specific defense request is for $574.5 billion, an increase of 4.6 per cent compared to fiscal year 2017.

Under President Donald Trump’s proposal, the United States would spend 29.1 per cent less on the State Department and “other international programmes” in the 2018 fiscal year compared to 2017, a decrease of US$11.5 billion. That decrease includes a re-shaping of the way some countries receive military aid from the United States.

Foreign military financing gives countries loans or grants to buy US military equipment. The State Department decides which countries are given the financing while the Pentagon executes the decisions.

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Under the Trump proposal, many current grants would instead be converted to loans. “We do change a couple of the foreign military programmes from direct grants to loans,” said  Mulvaney.

“Our argument was instead of … giving somebody US$100 million, we could give them a smaller number worth of loan guarantees and they could actually buy more stuff.”

Military aid to Israel and Egypt, two close US allies in the Middle East and the biggest recipients of US military assistance, will remain unchanged, Mulvaney said.

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The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the proposal, said the foreign military grants could affect Pakistan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Ukraine, Colombia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Congress ultimately controls the government purse strings and may reject some or many of the Trump administration’s proposals. Republicans and Democrats in Congress have criticised the size of the cuts to the State Department and US Agency for International Development.

 

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Reader Comments (10)

  • abood
    May 23, 2017 - 5:15PM

    Please completly stop the aid.all this money anyhow goes to the army high ranking officers.nothing comes to civilians.so please stop it completly.Recommend

  • Mirestan
    May 23, 2017 - 5:22PM

    Afganistan is a problem of USA and Nato. If Pakistan is not paid for its services. Pakistan should stay away for free help. Is it not Pakistans war? Please charge for transit facilities. Recommend

  • Ahmad
    May 23, 2017 - 5:25PM

    Good Move! Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 23, 2017 - 5:28PM

    Pakistan is a neutral state against war on terrorism, so why it needs any Military aid. Anarchists and Opposition’s mission is accomplished. Recommend

  • Mirestan
    May 23, 2017 - 5:34PM

    Pakistan must renegotiate services provided to the USA army fighting in Afghanistan. Pay first policy.Recommend

  • Atif
    May 23, 2017 - 6:27PM

    Becoming a Chinese colony is a good option now.Recommend

  • Ash Rehman
    May 23, 2017 - 7:53PM

    All that American aid/loans never reaches ordinary Pakistani people instead is directed towards military.Try helping in public projects Like in developing solar energy or purification of water. Recommend

  • YugAl
    May 23, 2017 - 10:27PM

    I didn’t saw any begger who is getting loan. Pakistan will be exception i guess.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    May 24, 2017 - 3:54AM

    Reduction in military aid to Pakistan was expected after Trump Administration was briefed on activities of Pakistani supported proxies resulting in American deaths!Recommend

  • James statham
    May 24, 2017 - 12:22PM

    Adil i absolutely agree with your comments. As for @Eddie, you can be rest assured uncle Sam will turn off the tap when they see their “job” is finished, as they have always done with Pakistan. This aid/grant is never without strings attached and just to keep Pakistan engaged. Your military’s logistics chain runs through Pakistan for next to no cost at all. So bear for a little while longer. Recommend

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