"Standing by our military means we must do more than prepare our people to fight wars; we must work with equal determination to prevent wars. The costliest peace is cheaper than the cheapest war."
President Bill Clinton Monday, August 16, 1999
In his address to the VFW, President Clinton saluted Americans who have served in uniform, both past and present, and emphasized the need to invest in peace by fully funding the international affairs budget The budget funds programs dealing with issues such as conflict resolution, strengthening young democracies, and combating terrorism – helping to minimize the need for military intervention abroad. The President highlighted the following initiatives:
Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative. In his 1999 State of the Union Address, President Clinton called for expanded cooperation with Russia, Ukraine, and other New Independent States (NIS) to safeguard weapons of mass destruction materials and technology so that they don't fall into the wrong hands. The Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative proposed in the President's balanced budget would:
deactivate and store warheads, secure fissile materials, and dispose of 50 tons of plutonium;
tighten exports controls to prevent countries such as Iran from acquiring dangerous technologies;
complete work on a chemical weapons destruction facility and eliminate former chemical and biological weapons facilities;
support civilian research opportunities for up to 40,000 former Soviet weapons scientists; and
help Georgia and Moldova facilitate Russian troop withdrawals from their territories and strengthen their sovereignty.
In its FY2000 foreign operations appropriations bills, Congress slashed the President's request for overall NIS assistance programs
Middle East Peace. In reaching the agreement at Wye River last year, President Clinton committed to helping both Israelis and Palestinians in their efforts to implement peace. The President requested an assistance package which includes funds to bolster Israel's security and to promote the safety and well-being of the Palestinian and Jordanian people. In its FY2000 foreign operations appropriations bills, Congress provided only the funds requested for Jordan, omitting the Israeli and Palestinian components of Wye.
Conflict Resolution in Africa. Recent cease-fire agreements in the Congo and Sierra Leone, as well as the restoration of democracy in Nigeria, offer new opportunities for peace, prosperity and democracy in those regions. Supporting this trend through conflict resolution, democratization, and trade and investment is in the U.S. national interest. In his FY2000 budget, the President proposed $818 million in development assistance and economic support funds to Africa. In its FY 2000 foreign operations appropriations bills, Congress significantly cut the President's request.
United Nations Arrears. Paying our dues to the United Nations is not only an obligation; it is an opportunity to support an organization which advocates goals important to U.S. interests, such as keeping the peace, immunizing children, caring for refugees, and combating the spread of deadly weapons. The Senate has passed legislation that provides authorization for appropriations of the bulk of U.S. payment of U.N. arrears. However, Congressional appropriations bills continue to significantly underfund U.N. arrears payments.