And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great: and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Genesis 12: 2-3
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) wants to end foreign aid to all countries that persecute Christians. Friday, Paul said, “There’s a war on Christianity going on, and sometimes you’re being asked to pay for it. I say not one penny to any country that persecutes Christians.”
According to a CNN article published Friday on their website, Paul came down hard on the Obama administration for arming rebels in Syria because they’re killing Christians.
I’ll have to admit that ending foreign aid to those who persecute Christians sounds good, right? I’m certainly in favor of it. But there’s a little more to it than that. He wants to end all foreign aid, period – to everyone. Sounds even better, doesn’t it? After all, with a national debt of cosmological proportions, it makes perfect sense. Not that ending foreign aid would necessarily solve our national debt problem, but it could be a start in the right direction, especially when we all remember that most Americans are generous to a fault, and private funding through charities would allow us all to give as we wished without having the coercive power of the government forcing us to do it through our tax dollars. Where Senator Paul and I part ways on this issue is that he wants to put an end to all foreign aid to Israel also, and I think this would be a bad move on our part.
I’ll make no secret of it – I’m probably libertarian for the most part in my political beliefs, although I’m a very conservative libertarian. I don’t like the welfare state the United States has become, I don’t like sending money and arms overseas to people that mean us harm, and I’m all for personal freedom and liberty to live our lives as we see fit with as little interference from the government as possible. I’ll also be the first to admit that Israel could probably do quite well without our aid. In some circumstances, they would actually be better off without us being financially involved, because let’s face it – with money comes a sense of the one receiving it being beholden to the one giving it. As the old saying goes, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” And yes, we frequently exercise that prerogative over Israel. I often wonder if that’s to Israel’s benefit that we do, though. Or ours, for that matter. I think it isn’t, and would like nothing more than to let Israel make their own foreign policy decisions independent of US influence because they are a rational and responsible nation. Besides that, God Himself knows we’ve been wrong at least as much as we’ve been right on foreign policy, if not more. Especially since January 2009, but that’s another matter.
With all that said, though, why would we, or more specifically Senator Paul, want to end aid to a country that has been such a staunch friend and ally to the United States? Israel is a small country; in fact, it’s a tiny country, but it’s important to remember that Israel is the one and only bastion of democracy and freedom in the middle east. It’s surrounded by nations that, given a chance, would end its existence, and until Obama took office the Israelis could always count on the United States as a friend. For the vast majority of Americans, that remains true, but we as ordinary citizens don’t make nor implement foreign policy.
Just as a matter of interest, the Israel Defense Forces’ main doctrine states that Israel has no territorial ambitions; the IDF is for defense of the nation only. If it’s possible to avoid a war, Israel will seek diplomatic means to try to resolve any conflicts with other nations. However, it also states that Israel cannot afford to ever lose a war, and if one starts, it’s their mission to end it quickly. They have to – Israel can’t afford a sustained war. Several times over the years since the modern State of Israel was formed in 1948, they have proven themselves damned good at winning wars quickly. Simply put, it’s either win quickly, or cease to exist as a nation. There can be no other outcome and the Israelis, more than anyone else, understand this. It’s for this reason in itself that we should continue to support Israel with financial aid for their military capability, in order to make sure they aren’t lacking any means to train their soldiers, sailors, and airmen; to buy weapons and support equipment; in general, to keep themselves well equipped, up to date, and above all, superior to any threat that may present itself.
One other point I’d like to mention in closing. See the Bible verse that heads up this article? We violate it at our peril. Blessing Israel not only means being a friend to them, but supporting them in any way possible. Just a word to the wise in Washington.