Senate report slams Trump foreign policy as ‘apparent doctrine of retreat’

A recent Senate report shredded the Trump administration’s foreign policy, saying that its budget request for the State Department showed an “apparent doctrine of retreat” from the world.

The lashing came from a report accompanying the Senate’s version of the State Department spending bill. The Senate Appropriations subcommittee that shepherds the bill is headed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has often been critical of President Trump’s foreign policy.

“Battlefield technology and firepower cannot replace diplomacy and development,” Graham wrote in the report. “The administration’s apparent doctrine of retreat, which also includes distancing the United States from collective and multilateral dispute resolution frameworks, serves only to weaken America’s standing in the world.”

{mosads}Graham’s subpanel approved the bill last week, followed later in the week by approval from the full Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill would provide State about $51 billion, more than $10.6 billion more than requested by the administration. Among its differences is about $1 billion more than the administration requested for humanitarian efforts and about $915 million more than requested for embassy security.

Graham’s report asserted that Trump’s request was not in line with his stated goal of sending a message of America’s strength.

“On May 23, 2017, President Donald Trump submitted to the Congress the fiscal year 2018 budget of the United States [U.S.] Government entitled ‘A New Foundation for American Greatness,’ and asserted in ‘The Budget Message of the President’ that ‘[i]n these dangerous times, our increased attention to public safety and national security sends a clear message to the world — a message of American strength and resolve,’” the report said. “This message is not reflected in the International Affairs budget request of $40,521,826,000, a 30 percent cut below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.”

The report invoked 9/11, saying lessons learned since the attack include “the reality that defense alone does not provide for American strength and resolve abroad.”

The report accused the Office of Management and Budget of “arbitrarily” setting the foreign affairs budget number without input from the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Security Council or “any other national security agency.”

“This forced the Department of State and USAID to randomly establish country and program-level allocations that lacked any justification,” the report said.

After the budget was released, the report continued, there was no communications strategy, allowing competitors such as China and Russia to “hijack our national security narrative.”

The report also quoted testimony from 16 retired generals and admirals, who told the committee in June that “the severe cuts to the State Department and USAID that the administration has proposed will make America less safe, and Congress should reject them.’’

Tags Donald Trump Lindsey Graham
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