U.S. President Donald Trump`s vow to put ”America first” includes a plan to drastically cut assistance to developing countries and merge the State Department with USAID, according to an internal budget document and sources, according to Foreign Policy.
The administration`s March budget proposal vowed to slash aid to developing countries by over one-third, but contained few details. According to a detailed 15-page State Department budget document obtained by Foreign Policy, the overhaul also includes rechanneling funding from development assistance into a program that is tied closely to national security objectives.
The document details how the Trump administration`s plans to reduce direct foreign assistance would take place in fiscal year 2018.
Some of the cuts appear directed at countries that had been regarded as strategically important. For instance, foreign assistance to Ukraine, which is used to encourage political and economic reform, is facing a 68.8 percent cut.
”One of the major themes and purposes and directions of U.S. policy in Ukraine for years and years has been to encourage them to move toward European institutions,” said William Taylor, the former ambassador to Ukraine under George W. Bush and now vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
”It`s in our interest that they don`t move toward Russian institutions.”
However, the publication notes that given the steep bipartisan opposition to slashing foreign assistance, Congress likely will not consent to the entire proposed reduction.