Trump’s Budget Would Cut Russia Deterrence

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump's fantasy budget for fiscal 2021 would increase funding for the Pentagon while cutting most other federal agencies and domestic spending programs, but that doesn't mean every defense program would see its funding increase.

Trump faced impeachment by the House of Representatives because he unilaterally withheld military aid to Ukraine in a scheme to extort the eastern European nation into publicly implicating the Biden family, but Trump's budget proposal for the next fiscal year would effectively codify cuts in aid similar to the cut Trump ordered last summer.

Trump's proposal calls for cutting the European Deterrence Initiative section of the Overseas Contingency Operations fund by 25 percent.

The line item shrinking funds for European support is contained within a subsection of the overall budget known as Overseas Contingency Operations or OCO, a flexible account that many critics consider a de facto slush fund for the Pentagon. All other funds within that proposed budget were slashed for the coming year, including support for local Afghan security forces, for Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group and other international security partnerships.

Trump unilaterally withheld a portion of the fund specifically designed for support to Ukraine last summer at the same time as a telephone conversation in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a political rival.

It's probably worth having a congressional and public debate over how much we should fund programs like this, but we can't assume that any of these decisions or proposals are being made for good reasons under Trump.

Trump's ulterior motives hang over virtually everything the regime does or proposes and that certainly includes the thing he was just impeached for; it includes cuts in programs that deter the foreign nation that helped him get elected in the first place.

Congress isn't going to give him these cuts and even if they did that doesn't mean Russia would roll across the border of eastern European the next day, but the White House budget proposal is a political document that tells us what Trump's future vision would be should he get another term in office.

Who can say what Trump would allow the Russians to get away with if he doesn't have to worry about another election. A lot can happen in four years and Vladimir Putin could also soon be free of ever worrying about another election.

  • muselet

    Donald Trump has been honking on about what deadbeats the Europeans are since before he rode his escalator before throngs of adoring—and remunerated—fans. He would dearly love to withdraw the US from NATO.

    Cutting support to our European allies is alarming, but entirely in character for Trump. At least as alarming are the cuts to support for “local Afghan security forces, for Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group and other international security partnerships.” Ending forever wars is no bad thing, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it; this is emphatically not the right way.

    The US isn’t well-regarded in wide swaths of the world; if enacted, these cuts would make the US reviled.

    Makes you wonder what компрома́т Vladimir Putin has on Trump, doesn’t it? (Possibly none. Trump may simply love him some authoritarians.)