President Donald Trump’s new 2018 budget proposal would change some foreign military assistance from grants to loans, which would ostensibly force some allies to repay the U.S. for military aid.
The proposal, titled, “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” suggested a massive 28 percent ($10.1 billion) reduction in funding for the Department of the State and USAID. Foreign aid took a significant cut, including military aid, which in some cases will be converted into loans.
The shift in policy is meant to “reduce costs for the U.S. taxpayer, while potentially allowing recipients to purchase more American-made weaponry with U.S. assistance, but on a repayable basis.”
The U.S. spent approximately $5.64 billion dollars on foreign military aid in 2015, according to the State Department website. Trump’s budget proposal would provide $3.1 billion to Israel in order for the country to have “the ability to defend itself from threats and maintain its Qualitative Military Edge.”
The proposal limited and cut foreign aid in several areas in an apparent effort to ensure foreign partners and international organizations pay “their fair share.”
Trump has been vocally critical of foreign partners relying too heavily on the U.S., particularly NATO. Trump and his administration have called on NATO members to meet their spending obligations, since only five of the alliance’s 28 members met the two percent GDP spending requirement.
“A lot of these countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to be paying, which I think is very unfair to the United States,” Trump said during an interview with the Times of London in January. “With that being said, NATO is very important to me. There’s five countries that are paying what they’re supposed to. Five. It’s not much.”
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