1. Action Alert
  2. Peacebuilding, U.S. Wars & Militarism

We Can’t Achieve Peace by Funding War

By Diane Randall, March 1, 2017


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.)

Update President Calls for Big Increase in Pentagon Spending 

Congress Will Decide on Budget Priorities

President Donald Trump is proposing tens of billions of dollars in new Pentagon spending this year and next. But before the president’s proposals become real they will have to be voted on by Congress and that’s where you can make a difference.

Press Release Cuts to the State Department Will Diminish American Leadership 

Funding cuts will damage U.S. security

President Trump’s budget will diminish American leadership in the world, further entangle the military in overseas conflict as the primary foreign policy tool and ultimately increase costs to taxpayers.

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.

Will you write a letter to the editor calling on Congress to fund diplomacy, not war?

Mention your members of Congress by name to ensure that it reaches their desks and has an impact on their decisions.

Advocacy Resource Publish Letters to the Editor 

Publishing letters to the editor and op-eds is a great way to get the attention of your members of Congress. But first, you need to write a piece that tells your story – not just the facts.

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.

Diane Randall

  • Executive Secretary

Diane Randall is the Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Diane leads FCNL’s staff to effectively educate and lobby for the policies and legislative priorities established by FCNL’s General Committee. A lifelong advocate for peace and social justice, Diane is a fierce proponent for citizen engagement that advances policies and practices to create a better society for all.