A topic that is on the minds of most politically active American's is the government shutdown and the national budget.

The cuts that will be implemented on certain departments may not the best thing for this country. The proposed budget for International Affairs would be reduced by 30 percent; although, this budget only makes up less that 1 percent of the total.

People do not realize the impact these cuts will have on these developing countries and the U.S. itself. Exercising “soft power” is so much more important than one may believe.

Newt Gingrich once said, “The real key is not how many enemies do I kill. The real key is how many allies do I grow.”

A strong military is important, but alone it cannot defeat terrorism. Defense, Diplomacy, and Development all of which are of equal importance in securing our nation. This is where the U.S. needs to find a balance and not tip the scale one way or the other.

While assisting with the development of these impoverished countries, the U.S. would also be making it more difficult for terrorist groups to recruit and embed themselves in these regions. By giving these people a better life and a clearer path to a “middle class” living situation they would not be likely to join.

If one looks back on history in times of economic weariness the things that pulled the U.S. back to economic prosperity was foreign aid. The Great Depression essentially ended due to WWII and the steps taken after the U.S.’s victory to rebuild Europe. In doing this, the U.S. created new consumers of American products and culture; and furthermore, created new jobs by opening up these new markets. This same model can and should be used again for the countries benefit. Foreign Aid is not only the moral thing to do, it’s a form of power for the nation states that utilize it to its full potential.

Julya L. Generoso, a resident of Kutztown and White Haven, Pa.

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