The Costs to Cutting Foreign Aid

By J.J. Messner

J.J. Messner became the Executive Director of The Fund for Peace in October 2014 after having been the Director of FFP's Sustainable Development & Security program for nearly four years. He has also co-directed FFP's Fragile States Index and coordinated the country data and trends analysis program as well as FFP's media and communications outreach. Prior to joining The Fund for Peace, from 2006 to 2010, J.J. was Director of the International Stability Operations Association (formerly the International Peace Operations Association), a non-profit organization focused on private sector support for operations in conflict and post-conflict environments. He was also the founder and Editor-in-Chief for four years of the Journal of International Peace Operations. J.J. also has experience in the fields of corporate antitrust law and educational non-profits. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, J.J. received his Bachelors degree in Politics and International Studies from the University of Adelaide, Australia and a Masters of Science (Peace Operations) from George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. His academic work has also included research abroad in Costa Rica, India, Mexico and Timor-Leste as well as a study abroad at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Trump Administration has proposed a 28 percent cut to State Department funding and other international programs in order to help pay for an increase of $54 billion to military spending next year. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with J. J. Messner, the Executive Director of the Fund for Peace, about the benefits of diplomacy and foreign aid and why foreign aid spending versus military spending is not a zero-sum game.

The Cipher Brief: What are the benefits of foreign aid and international development?

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