Rand Paul recently advocated withholding foreign aid from any nation that opposes Israel. “Israel and the United States have a special relationship,” states Rand’s position paper. “With our shared history and common values, the American and Israeli people have formed a bond that unites us across the many thousands of miles between our countries and calls us to work together towards peace and prosperity for our countries…In the Senate, I would strive to eliminate all aid to countries that threaten Israel.” Kurt Nimmo of Infowars.com reports, “To be fair, Paul didn’t say anything about forking billions of bucks into Israel’s coffers. He merely mentioned the supposed special relationship. If not for the cash, though, it is doubtful this relationship would be as rosy and special for very long.”
While this proposal may be the “conservative” position, it is neither the libertarian nor the Constitutional position. In reading the Enumerated Powers laid out in Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution, I fail to see where Congress is given authorization to give tax-payer funding to foreign nations and Rand’s father Congressman Ron Paul agrees, “Foreign aid is not only unconstitutional, but also exceedingly unwise. It creates the worst kind of entangling alliances that President Washington warned about. It doesn’t buy us any real allies, but instead encourages false friendships, dependency, and a sense of entitlement among the recipients. It also causes resentment among nations that receive none, or less than they feel they deserve. Above all, however, it is simply unconscionable to tax American citizens and send their money overseas. We have enough problems of our own here at home, and those dollars should be returned to taxpayers or spent on legitimate constitutional activities.”
However, the Congress has been giving out foreign aid for decades through USAID, created on September 4, 1961 when the Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act, which reorganized the U.S. foreign assistance programs including separating military and non-military aid. The Act mandated the creation of an agency to administer economic assistance programs, and on November 3, 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Kathleen and Bill Christison write, “Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. Since 1949, the United States has provided Israel with $101 billion in total aid, of which $53 billion has been military aid. For the last 20-plus years, Israel has received an average of $3 billion annually in grant aid.”
Thomas Jefferson, arguably one of the most libertarian Presidents in American history advocated, “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.” Having a “special relationship” with one nation hardly fits this model.