With President Donald Trump’s Afghanistan plan increasing the number of troops on foreign soil, it is important to ask: Why have the last three U.S. presidents been unable to end the involvement in Afghanistan? A finger should be pointed at the nation’s reactive response to global poverty.
In 2015, 14 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day. As poverty has the tendency to generate social unrest, political instability and poor education quality, the U.S. faces national security risks from these foreign entities that are more susceptible to demagogues that create a haven for terrorism and organized crime.
Fortunately, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) can enhance stability, self-sufficiency and good governance before military intervention is at all necessary.
However, the current administration’s 2018 budget proposes to cut USAID by 32 percent, which is likely to create more harm than good.
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The U.S. should be learning from its past mistakes and not repeating them. The relationship with Afghanistan could have unfolded differently had we focused on more proactive approaches to foreign affairs rather than getting involved after our national security was threatened.
The U.S. needs to remember that to put America first, everyone else can’t be put last. It is in the country’s best interest to remain an advocate of development and to assist developing nations with alleviating poverty.