White House Pushes Military Might Over Humanitarian Aid in Africa

Actually, the message is not so mixed, foreign policy experts say. If Congress passes Mr. Trump’s proposed Pentagon budget for the 2018 fiscal year — it calls for an additional $52 billion on top of the current $575 billion base budget — the United States will spend more money on military affairs in Africa but reduce humanitarian and development assistance across the continent. The Trump budget proposes cutting aid to Africa to $5.2 billion in the 2018 fiscal year from $8 billion now, a stark drop. Even some of the money still in the Trump proposal would shift to security areas from humanitarian and development, foreign policy experts say.

“We are radically narrowing the definition of why and how Africa matters to U.S. national interests,” said J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Gone are the days, he said, when human rights, development, economic growth and humanitarian relief dominated the American agenda on the continent.

The Pentagon has not yet specified how much money will go to African militaries, but officials say there will be more of it for training programs, joint exercises and counterterrorism efforts. There may also be more funding for Camp Lemonnier, the American base in Djibouti, where visitors are greeted with a video of American and East African troops parachuting out of planes and rolling on the dirt together, to the screaming howls of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.”

The Trump administration has proposed slashing programs that buy antiretroviral drugs for people who are infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, by at least $1.1 billion — nearly a fifth of their current funding. Researchers say the cuts could lead to the deaths of at least one million people in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Over all, Mr. Trump’s budget submission would reduce State Department funding by roughly a third and cut foreign assistance by…

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