President Trump’s plan to raise military spending for the coming fiscal year by $54 billion, or nearly 10 percent, won’t strengthen America’s security, and might, in fact, undermine it. To pay for this unjustified increase, Mr. Trump reportedly plans to cut spending on other agencies, most notably the State Department and foreign aid, whose contribution to American security is at least as important as more armaments and troops.
Slashing support for diplomacy would leave the government with fewer tools to prevent conflict. For that very reason, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates argued vigorously for increases in the State Department budget and the foreign aid account. Jim Mattis, the new defense secretary, should do the same. Foreign aid amounts to about 1 percent of federal spending, or $42.4 billion, much of it for American-made weaponry.