Trump wants to cut peace from the US budget — it's not hard to imagine the outcome
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Most political observers and members of Congress believe that President Trump's proposed budget is dead on arrival. But regardless of how it is received on Capitol Hill, a budget is a blueprint for any administration's thinking on critical issues, and it is vital that Americans look at what is in the budget, and what is not.

A major omission in this year’s proposed budget is funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace. It's hard to believe that any commander in chief would cut funds to an institution that has served and continues to serve this country well by supporting our troops, advancing diplomacy, and training and educating peacebuilders in our nation and around the world. USIP is the hub of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict stability. It serves everyone's interests to protect it.

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Congress established USIP more than 32 years ago to be nonpartisan and independent. It was created by congressional leaders who had lived through the devastation of war and hoped to prevent it in the future. USIP has a bipartisan board of directors that by statute include the secretary of Defense, the secretary of State and the president of the National Defense University. Not an insignificant crowd.

 

USIP works to prevent and resolve armed conflict around the world by engaging directly in conflict zones and by providing analysis, education and resources to those working for peace. Its specialized teams — mediators, trainers and others — work in some of the world's most dangerous places, including Iraq and Afghanistan. USIP uses only federal funding to carry out its work, ensuring that it remains independent of outside influence — which is important in these agenda-driven times.

USIP serves as a highly cost-effective way of preserving the peace once a conflict ends or preventing hostilities from breaking out. It is an essential element of our national security architecture.

At a time when America is weary of sustained, costly commitments overseas, USIP's high-impact approach gives people the tools to help solve their own problems so America does not get drawn into these conflicts. It also thwarts the ability of groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to destabilize countries.

In short, we need USIP.

Now is the time for course corrections in the proposed budget to secure American and global peace and prosperity by funding vital organizations. It is not the time to slice and dice the security of America and the global community.

Tara Sonenshine served as undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs, and also served as executive vice president of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). She is now with George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.


The views of contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.