(The Hill) A reasonable case can be made for additional spending on the armed forces, border security, and veterans — a case which we will not examine here. But proposed offsetting cuts in other parts of the budget will reduce America’s security and standing in the world.
One big risk comes from the deep cuts the Trump budget makes in funding for international activities, sometimes called “soft power.” Many of the risks we face in the world have major cross-border dimensions. They include terrorism, weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue regimes or terrorists, mass migrations resulting from drought and violence, and biological weapons or natural outbreaks of disease.
Reducing those risks requires allies and coalitions, which means diplomacy and in some cases aid and support for weaker partners. Military leaders, from former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to General John Allen to General David Petraeus and many others, have underscored this basic reality.