Last night ended the painful and terrifying speculation about what would be in the 2018 budget request from President Trump to Congress. And indeed – the budget request is in fact painful and terrifying. Besides the jaw dropping $1.5 billion POTUS requested for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, the budget clearly has some bigly winners and losers. Who won? War and war-like-things. The Department of Defense got a hefty 10%, or $52billion, increase which is will be boosted by $12 billion requested for overseas contingency operations. The Department of Homeland Security also got a big bump of 6.8%, hopefully not to “counter Islamic extremism.” Who lost? Well, everything that doesn’t have to do with war and counter terrorism. Most notably for our purposes, all efforts at peace and diplomacy will – if Congress passes the budget – be gutted. The Department of State (which includes USAID) will stand to lose a staggering 28% of their operating budgets in 2018. Part of the cuts that the budget will force are reportedly going to punish the United Nations most severely. U.S. diplomats at the UN have begun warning that the U.S. is likely to cut our contributions by nearly 50%.  That is crazy, and cruel. But apparently our new, mysterious, and unavailable Secretary of State Rex Tillerson isn’t fazed by the massive cut to his cabinet, in fact he thinks the smaller budget is a good thing because the State Department spending “simply isn’t sustainable.” We’d say that a constant state of war the unsustainable part of U.S. global actions, but hey he’s the former CEO of Exxon Mobil so he must know better. We hope that Congress can find a backbone on this one, and stick up for the essential diplomacy work that the State Department should be doing.

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