U.S. State Department

Contrary to public perceptions, foreign aid represents a tiny fraction of the $4 trillion federal budget. According to the Congressional Research Service, in the past three decades, foreign aid has never accounted for more than 1.4 cents of every dollar spent by Washington. [...] "When you deploy hard power, you actually need more diplomats," says Charles Ries, a vice president at the RAND Corporation who served in diplomatic posts in Iraq and Greece.

Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department. Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact. On his first three foreign trips, Tillerson skipped visits with State Department employees and their families, embassy stops that were standard morale-boosters under other secretaries of state.

After defeating Fascism in World War II, Washington channeled billions of dollars into the war-torn nations of Europe and Japan, helping transform them into economic success stories and vital democratic allies. That’s a lesson worth remembering as President Trump tries to slash the State Department and its foreign aid programs by about 30 percent in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, while raising Pentagon spending by 10 percent.

Rex Tillerson Confirmation Hearing

Can Rex Tillerson help salvage the U.S.' image abroad under the Trump administration?

City Hall, by Tom Hilton

A new website merges community-building and professional advice.

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