Down the Rathole

Last year, President Clinton, who has rarely found a conflict that lie did not want to join, complained to the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Congress was cutting foreign aid, "the very programs designed to keep our soldiers out of war in the first place." He threatened to veto the foreign-assistance appropriation hills passed by the House and Senate, which had reduced his request by two billion dollars. Naturally, Congress capitulated, throwing more good money after bad. What is a few billion among friends for programs which have consistently failed?

The pattern is likely to be repeated this year. The administration has proposed spending $22.8 billion next year on international affairs, including the cost of manning the State Department, subsidizing the United Nations, and funding international conferences and commissions. Roughly $12.2 billion is slated for "international assistance programs."

Where does it all go? There is three billion dollars for "international development assistance," which falls under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). More than one billion dollars is for general aid; separate funds have been established to aid Africa, respond to disasters, and combat disease. Another $1.5 billion is for the former Soviet bloc. All of this money is supposed to encourage economic growth, democratic development, environmental protection, population reduction, and a variety...

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