We Can’t Achieve Peace by Funding War
For the U.S. to achieve "peace, wherever peace can be found" as President Trump recommended in his address to Congress, we need to strengthen USAID and the State Department -- the agencies that promote peace, diplomacy, and international development.
Last night, President Donald Trump told Congress that “America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where shared interests align. We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict. We want peace, wherever peace can be found.” As a Quaker peace and justice organization, we agree with the sentiment.
But he also called for “one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.” The $54 billion increase in Pentagon spending the president proposes would have a devastating impact on people in this country and around the globe – at the expense of harmony, stability, and peace. To achieve these increases, the president wants to cut budgets for environmental protection, diplomacy, and peacebuilding – including a 37% cut in the budgets for USAID and the State Department. (The total combined budgets for these agencies is $51.1 billion, less than the proposed Pentagon increase.)
To achieve peace, we need to strengthen, not weaken our nation’s capacity to build it. We don’t need to pour more money into the Pentagon to enrich defense contractors or to expand U.S. military action around the globe.
To achieve peace, we need to strengthen, not weaken our nation’s capacity to build it.
In a letter to Congress, more than 120 retired three and four-star generals wrote: “We know from our service in uniform that many of the crises our nation faces do not have military solutions alone.” Funding massive increases in military spending by deeply cutting funds for diplomacy and development would threaten the United States’ ability to address the crises and challenges of our complicated, intertwined world.
Mention your members of Congress by name to ensure that it reaches their desks and has an impact on their decisions.
U.S. war spending is already unprecedented, equaling what the next seven countries combined spend on their military forces. The Pentagon has also managed to evade the public accountability and audits that every other government agency is required to complete. The U.S. should be looking to cut rather than increase its budget, especially at the expense of key foreign policy tools such as diplomacy and development. Your letter today can make sure that your members of Congress hear this message.