US withholds military aid from Pakistan

The fact that the United States is withholding $800 million in military aid from Pakistan might apprise many Americans of a surprising truth:  namely that the United States previously was giving $800 million in military aid to Pakistan.  The Guardian reports:

The Pakistan military declared it did not need US military aid as the White House confirmed that it would withhold some $800m (£498m) in assistance to the country’s armed forces.

The row will worsen the already poisonous relationship between the two “allies”, which since the unilateral US raid to kill Osama bin Laden in May has lurched towards breakdown.  Pakistan recently expelled US military trainers from the country, limited the ability of US diplomats and other officials to get visas, and restricted CIA operations on its territory.

At a time when we teeter on a massive economic collapse, many Americans might wonder why it has taken a foreign policy rationale to lead our government to withhold this kind of foreign aid, rather than an economic one.  These same Americans might wonder — where will this $800 million that has been withheld go?

President Obama responded to general criticisms of the US foreign aid program last week, saying that foreign aid is something that “even in tough fiscal times, America needs to continue to do as part of our role as global leader.”

I guess the question is whether or not America will be able to retain its role as a global leader as our economic problems continue to compound upon one another.  I’m all for helping people in impoverished nations, but I am not certain that foreign aid is the best way to go about doing this.

While foreign aid in general likely will remain in its current form for the most part in the near future, I hope that Americans will begin to question the wisdom of our military aid program to nations like Pakistan, especially considering our current need to make every dollar count.

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