A Conservative Case for the International Affairs Budget

January 13, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Well-known conservative commentator Rich Galen posted a new blog entry yesterday, describing his travels in Kenya and Tanzania. Galen is traveling with other political pundits on a trip led by ONE, with stops at a variety of International Affairs Budget-funded programs, including a research center run by the U.S. Army and a Centers for Disease Control project working to combat AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

On his journey, Galen saw effective International Affairs programs in action. A self-described skeptic, he encourages his fellow conservatives to look at the results, quoting a man in Nairobi who said that funding provided through the PEPFAR program first started by President George W. Bush had saved his life. Galen writes, “I have learned that what I thought had been set of programs to toss money over the transom at Uganda and other African nations, I now see as an investment in what may someday became a vibrant, growing economic engine.”

In addition to being persuaded by the humanitarian and economic results International Affairs programs deliver, Galen quickly saw their importance to our national security, as well. After talking with Lee Brudvig, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, Galen said of these programs, “At their relatively modest costs, they help keep anti-American rabble-rousing at bay because the very people who are most directly affected by these programs tend to be the poorest and thus, the most fertile ground for terrorist recruitment. “

In the current economic climate, politicians from both parties will be looking to make cuts in order to reduce the deficit. But Rich Galen says it best: “At a time when State budgets and the Federal budget are being squeezed through fine fiscal strainers looking for any available dollars, we should take great care before we reduce or eliminate programs which are doing what they were designed to do, within the budgets they were granted, and for which America and Americans are getting due credit.”