America is facing the toughest economic challenges in our nation's history.
Now is the time to put America first and curtail our foreign aid.
The American people are the most charitable and generous on the face of the earth. Having said that, we must now as a nation concentrate on our own economic well being before we devote resources we can't afford to others.
It is about time that the world communities help more and look to the United States less. The United States has done more than its fair share for others since our birth as a nation.
Let's just take a look at the latest public records of the top 10 countries that receive U.S. foreign aid keeping in mind that these statistics do not even take into account the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq:
- Israel: $2.4 billion Virtually all of this money is used to buy weapons (up to 75 percent made in the U.S.). Beginning in 2009, the U.S. plans to give $30 billion over 10 years.
- Egypt: $1.7 billion $1.3 billion to buy weapons; $103 million for education; $74 million for healthcare; $45 million to promote civic participation and human rights.
- Pakistan: $798 million $330 million for security efforts, including military-equipment upgrades and border security; $20 million for infrastructure.
- Jordan: $688 million $326 million to fight terrorism and promote regional stability through equipment upgrades and training; $163 million cash payment to the Jordanian government.
- Kenya: $586 million $501 million to fight HIV/AIDS through drug treatment and abstinence education and to combat malaria; $15 million for agricultural development; $5.4 million for programs that promote government accountability.
- South Africa: $574 million $557 million to fight TB and HIV/AIDS; $3 million for education.
- Mexico: $551 million.
- Colombia: $541 million.
- Nigeria: $491 million.
- Sudan: $479 million.
In 2008, the United States gave an estimated $26 billion of foreign aid to some 150 countries.
At this critical time to our countries financial well-being, it is imperative that we curtail our charity to others.
With national unemployment hovering nationally at 10 percent, home foreclosures at record levels, our national deficit soaring, a crisis looming for Social Security and Medicare, two wars, states deterring on bankruptcy, just to name a few of our immediate challenges, we must get our own house in order first and foremost.
The American people should demand that our government leaders put America first. We need to come together as a nation and vow to solve our own problems before we seek to solve the problems of others.
We have a long and proud history of helping others and we should be proud of that. But, when times are tough in America, I do not see others rushing to our side. One reason is because many nations are in the same boat economically as we are.
Now is a time for national sacrifice and responsibility. All Americans must be prepared to do their part to restore America to her greatness.
Let's take a lesson America from the unrest we are witnessing throughout Europe. We cannot allow ourselves to blame others. Our problems in many cases are self-inflicted.
Our current challenges pale in comparison to the monumental challenges faced by those who came before us. George Washington did not give up when he was faced with great obstacles while fighting the Revolutionary War. Conditions were horrendous, and troop morale was low.
He knew that the promise of freedom was worth the battle over tyranny. So against great odds, he fought on and led his troops to victory and gave birth to the greatest nation in the history of the World. Our history is chock full of overcoming diversity at great odds.
America is at our best when we are challenged. We never give up and always manage to put our principles above ourselves. We have done it before and today, we must do it again.
A strong and prosperous America is important to the stability and prosperity of the world.
A weak economic, political, national security America means a more dangerous and less-secure world.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is a politics and public policy professor at Georgetown University.
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