Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 | 2 a.m.
After reading “Biden vows retribution against extremists in Kabul attack” (Aug. 27, Las Vegas Sun), I felt it was imperative to note the importance of continuing to support the Afghani people through nonmilitaristic means.
Long-term security can only be achieved through facilitating prosperity in the region. Instability and poverty are the causes and catalysts for crime and terrorism, not the other way around.
While the United States hosts the largest defense budget in the world, we spend less than 1% of our budget on international aid. This puts us near the bottom of developed countries for funding going to international relief efforts as a percentage of our GDP. Our politicians are focused on the byproducts of global instability instead of working to address the root of the problem.
The importance of looking to history is that we can realize our flaws and strive to be better. We failed in the 1980s when we armed the mujahedeen to fight the Soviets but then were absent in the relief effort. In 2019 over 140 three- and four-star generals asked Congress to increase the international affairs budget because they, unlike so many others, know we cannot win a war by strength alone.
As former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in 2013, “America’s role in the world should reflect the hope and promise of our country, and possibilities for all mankind, tempered with a wisdom that has been the hallmark of our national character. That means pursuing a principled and engaged realism that employs diplomatic, economic, and security tools — as well as our values — to advance our security and our prosperity.”