BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I am going to tell you the story today of a love affair. It is a story that is a steamy one. It is a story of illicit behavior, of treachery, and of gluttony. It is a story that involves intrigue and deception. It is a story of unintended consequences, and it is a story of anger and violence. It is the story of American foreign aid.
Joseph Sambayi Mukendie never sleeps at home anymore. Mukendie's sleep is interrupted by dreams. He feels unsafe even a continent away from his attackers. Mukendie was arrested at home one night. He was taken to an underground cell at Camp Kongolo--a military base in Kinshasha, Zaire. The secret police of Mobutu stripped him naked, stretched him out on the floor, and then he was beaten with a large stick with nails protruding from the end.
Mobutu received billions of dollars in foreign aid from our country. Over his 30-year bloody dictatorship, he received billions of our taxpayer dollars. As his people starved, his wife went to Europe, spent millions of dollars on spending sprees. Zaire has very little running water and sporadic electricity. It rotted under Mobutu's rule, and yet he received billions of American dollars. Mobutu stole the lion's share of this. He became one of the richest men in the world. Enough was stolen that his wealth was estimated to be in the billions. They called his wife Gucci Mobutu. Her shoe collection rivaled Imelda Marcos'. She was capable of spending $1 million in one day in Europe.
Jean Nguza Karl-i-Bond was an ally of Mobutu who fell out of his favor. Mobutu accused him of trying to seduce the First Lady. Many believed his only crime was that he was mentioned in the foreign press as a possible successor to Mobutu. Nguza was subjected to physical and electric torture to the genitals--too horrific to even repeat. The administration of Jimmy Carter, who ostensibly were champions of human rights, nevertheless continued the steady flow of foreign aid, for foreign aid is a bipartisan project. There is a consensus in the United States and in the Senate. We must send it no matter what the behavior of the recipients.
Not only did our leaders turn a blind eye to Mobutu's graft and human rights abuses, they bestowed upon him inexplicable and personal friendship. Mobutu was known as a personal friend of the first President Bush and vacationed at his personal residence. When Mobutu traveled to Europe, he would stop by the Central Bank of Zaire. Early in his reign, he would come by with a Louie Vuitton bag and would get about $50,000 in cash. Toward the end of his career, he was getting $500,000 in cash for these trips to Europe. One of his many foreign residences was in Switzerland. He apparently had the time and money to vacation there, and even had his own brandy being made at our taxpayers' expense.
It is sad to contemplate what despots and dictators have done and are doing to their people. It is sadder still to realize they are being subsidized in this horrific behavior by taxpayer money. And it continues. We are having a debate now over foreign aid because they still want to send more. Many people think the answer is to send more; maybe they will behave better if they get more of our money.
Apologists for foreign aid don't deny foreign aid has often been stolen by corrupt leaders, and there is evidence the humanitarian outcomes are scant and don't occur. Nevertheless, the advocates of foreign aid justify the continuing aid with the argument we must often choose the lesser of two evils. As many have pointed out, the lesser of two evils is still evil.
Throughout the Cold War, the perceived threat of Soviet expansionism, though, clouded the minds of many leaders. American leaders would pick one dictator over another if he or she were a pro-American dictator. We didn't care what they were doing to their people. We turned a blind eye.
We gave money to dictators from Saddam Hussein, who was once our ally, receiving billions of our tax dollars, to the mujahedin, who were radical jihadists. But at the time, we didn't mind if they were a radical jihadist if they were our radical jihadist because they were opposing the Soviet Union. But the mujahedin actually, eventually, became the Taliban, who are now our enemies. We despise jihad now, and we fight against radical Islamic jihad. But at one time we subsidized jihad. In fact, there were several weapons left over from the time period when we were giving weapons to the mujahedin.
We subsidized Qadhafi before we fought Qadhafi. We gave Qadhafi foreign aid. He was our friend. In the year preceding his overthrow, there were Senators from this body speaking with Qadhafi's family about sending more money to Qadhafi. Where does the insanity end?
U.S. foreign aid has continued to flow despite a long string of abuses well-known to most of those who are dispensing the aid. They simply turn a blind eye. Except for Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia, where many are saying let's
send the money to secularists; now there is a question as to whether some of that money may be going to radical Islamists.
With the end of the Cold War, some were finally cut off. Mobutu, whom I mentioned, who committed these atrocious acts of torture, finally was cut off, but only after 30 years of receiving our taxpayer money, torturing his own people, and stealing everyone blind.
Foreign aid from developed countries in 2006 totaled $100 billion a year. Over the past 50 years, we have given $2 trillion to developing countries in foreign aid. Over the past 42 years, Easterly states that although $568 billion has flowed into Africa, per-capita growth in income in Africa has been flat. In fact, in some countries, such as Zimbabwe, where Mugabe was in charge for several decades, the growth rate has actually been negative.
So for those who say: I just simply want to help people; I want to help poor people around the world by sending them money, it is stolen by their leaders. It doesn't get to the poor people, and, besides, some may have heard we are $1 trillion short in our budget. How can we send more money overseas?
Some academics have argued that with the Arab spring, the emerging democracies will require even more foreign aid. Hillary Clinton is on Capitol Hill today asking for more money to go to Egypt. As they burn our flag, as the hordes gather by the tens of thousands, she is asking to send Egypt more money. There were no Egyptian policemen or soldiers who showed up when our Ambassador was attacked, and Hillary Clinton is asking for more money to go to Egypt.
According to Coyne and Ryan, the world's worst dictators have received $105 billion under the guise of official developmental assistance. Instead of helping the poor, the assistance is aiding the ability of the dictators to remain in power. In fact, it keeps them in power long enough that it inflames the populace so that we end up having to go back in because of war because the populace is so inflamed against the dictator that we have propped up against popular rule.
Some academics argue emerging democracies will require more aid. Professors Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith argue:
Democracy would make the price much higher. Democracy in Egypt comes at a big price for U.S. voters. Good or bad--that is up to the observer, but it will be costly, no doubt.
The professors' argument is that democracy is messy and costs more to subsidize because the ballot box gives voice to the minorities that dictators would not hear, that they would silence or imprison.
I think the real question and the image we have to have in our mind is when we see 10,000 people outside the Embassy in Pakistan burning the U.S. flag, imagine that we would send them more money. Imagine we would not ask for restrictions on this money. I have been asking for 6 weeks to place restrictions on foreign aid. I am not even asking that it end, although I would, but I am asking to simply place restrictions on it. Everyone should watch this vote. If I get this vote, just watch. The vast majority of the Senate is going to vote for unlimited, unrestricted foreign aid. I will probably lose this vote, but when we ask our friends, when we go home and ask our friends: Should we be sending money to countries that disrespect us, to countries that burn our flag, I think most will find that 80 to 90 percent of the American people wouldn't send another penny. That may be why Congress has about a 10-percent approval rating. They don't get it. Ninety percent of the folks up here are going to vote to continue sending taxpayer money with no restrictions to countries that burn our flag and disrespect us. Is it any wonder that only 10 percent of America approves of Congress?
In fact, many people who claim to be conservatives are for foreign aid. Big government conservative advocates, such as John Guardiano, try to couch their support in feigned opposition. He says:
Now, I don't like foreign aid any more than the next conservative. Most foreign aid is probably economically wasteful and counterproductive. But the point of foreign aid is not economics. It is geopolitics.
That is what most of them will admit around here. Continuing his quote:
It is intended to shape a recipient country's behavior and, quite literally, buy American influence.
To his mind he says it does that. But if foreign aid is meant to shape a country's behavior, advocates have a lot of explaining to do. From Mobutu to Mugabe, from Mubarak to Hussein to Qadhafi, from the current Egypt to the current Pakistan that is holding a gentleman who helped us get bin Laden, to the current Pakistan that seemed somehow to let bin Laden live for 7 years in their midst with no knowledge he was there--they have some explaining to do. For those who advocate foreign aid, saying it is shaping the behavior of these countries, they have some explaining to do because it doesn't appear as if these countries respect America. It doesn't appear as if they even like us. And it also doesn't appear that if they want to be our ally they are acting like it.
That is all I am asking. If a country wants to be an ally of our country, they should act like it. If they want to receive and cash an American check, they need to act like our ally at the very least.
There is some question about whether the aid works when it is sent for poverty or humanitarian purposes.
Doug Bandow asked this question and argues that foreign aid actually encourages poverty and starvation because African nations use displays of poverty and starvation to seek more aid. Why get rid of your problem? Why cure your problem if that is what you are showing the world you have so you can get more aid? We don't seem to care about results because we continue to give it to some of these dictators for decades, who produce no results and we know are stealing the money.
Brautigram and Knack illustrate the existence of a moral hazard problem surrounding foreign aid. They contend that aid allocation may actually encourage impoverishing policy because as the damaging policies create misery, the more likely the donors are to grant more aid.
Herb Werlin maintains that American foreign aid is undermined by tariffs and subsidies, including a $3 billion-a-year subsidy lavished on 25,000 cotton farmers. Because of high subsidies, America is able to export corn at two-thirds the cost of production, making it impossible for African farmers to compete. So our trade policy makes it harder for African countries to become self-sufficient. Peanuts are protected by a tariff up to 164 percent, thereby making Africa's peanut-producing nations, such as Uganda, even more dependent on aid.
But it is not just rich people in poor countries getting foreign aid; we also continue to shift our dollars to rich countries.
Michael Tennant reports:
According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, in fiscal year 2010 the United States' top creditor nations received millions of dollars in aid.
So the countries we are borrowing money from, we are sending them foreign aid. China, to whom we owe over $1 trillion, still gets $27 million in aid. Russia, to whom we owe $127 billion, still gets $71 million in aid. To add insult to injury, China gets economic development assistance from the U.S. taxpayer.
It just amazes me. But you mark my words, you listen to the debate, and you watch the vote today--the vast majority does not want any change to foreign aid other than that they would increase it. If we are not getting the behavior we want, they would increase it.
Hillary Clinton is on Capitol Hill today asking to increase aid to Egypt--not to put restrictions on the aid, to increase it. We currently do have some restrictions on aid to Egypt. Hillary Clinton has waived those and said they are doing fine.
When the marauders, when the horde came to the Embassy in Egypt last week, there was a phone call made to our Embassy saying: The mob is coming. But no soldiers came. No one came to protect our Embassy. In the civilized world, the host nation protecting the guest nation's Embassy is of primary concern. It is something every civilized nation is expected to do. In the case of Egypt, no one came. We were lucky that we escaped death in Egypt. We weren't so lucky in Libya.
The report on China that found out we were borrowing money and then
giving foreign aid to countries we borrow from was commissioned by Senator Tom Coburn, who has been watching out for your money. He demanded this report, and he said:
Borrowing money from countries who receive our aid is dangerous for both the donor and the recipient. If countries can afford to buy our debt, perhaps they can afford to fund their own assistance programs without relying on the American taxpayer.
Michael Tennant goes on to say this:
We give China 3.9 million to enforce the rule of law and human rights, neither of which are thought to be China's selling points.
The one that really burns, though, is that $700,000 in economic development assistance. It just boggles the mind that the U.S. taxpayer is asked to send money to China--which is outcompeting us in virtually every sector--to send money to subsidize their economic development assistance.
One would think that with all this evidence that foreign aid doesn't reach the intended beneficiaries and often winds up in the hands of dictators, this information would make it easy to defeat foreign aid.
When you look at the polls of the American people, you find that nearly 80 percent of the American people think foreign aid in general is a bad idea. We have roads in our country that are crumbling and need repair. We have bridges that are crumbling. In my State alone, we had a bridge out 6 months last year. We have two bridges in Kentucky that are older than I am and need to be replaced. We don't have the money, but we somehow have billions of dollars to send to people who disrespect us and burn our flag. I don't understand how we can send our money to these countries that disdain us, disrespect us.
In Pakistan, they hold the doctor who helped us get bin Laden. We fought a 10-year war in Afghanistan to get bin Laden and his followers. We finally got him--no help from Pakistan. He lived in Pakistan for many years. Pakistan is now mad that we got him. In fact, they riot over there and burn the American flag because we killed bin Laden. What do we do? Here is some more money. If we give you some more money, will you behave. If we give you more money, will you let our supplies go across your northern frontier.
But we don't ask them the real question: Are you our friend? If you are our friend, act like it. If you are our ally, act like it.
Anytime this question is broached over foreign aid, the vast majority of career politicians complain bitterly and quash any debate. I have been trying to have this vote for 6 weeks. I am still hopeful we will get it, but they don't want to vote on this because they know they are voting against the popular will, they are voting against the wishes of their constituents.
There is not one Senator from any one of the 50 States up here who, when they vote against these limitations on foreign aid, won't be voting against the will of their State--they won't be voting against the will of their people. You can go to Massachusetts or Maine or to conservative Texas and ask the taxpayers, ask the voters: Are you in favor of sending money to these countries where tens of thousands of people are gathering and burning our flag? Are you in favor of sending hard-earned taxpayer money to countries that disrespect us? Are you in favor of sending money to these countries when we have so many problems at home that we can't handle? And in every State in the Union, you will find that a majority of voters--sometimes a vast majority of the voters--think it is a mistake. So what is happening here is that the will of the people is not being transmitted by this body because this body, when it votes on this issue, will vote in direct defiance of the will of the people.
It is often said that it is difficult to determine whether a recipient is a friend or a foe. Libya is an example. One day Libya came in from the cold. A longtime pariah among nations, rivaling Iran as a model for extreme thuggishness, Libya came in from the cold. Libya and her Colonel Qadhafi phoned the West and said they would change their ways, they would stop developing weapons of mass destruction and become good neighbors to all. This is before the recent Libyan revolution. This is the Qadhafi, whom we helped to overturn, who was by all accounts a horrible dictator, but about 2 or 3 years ago he came in from the cold and wanted to be a friend to America because he wanted our assistance.
With an alacrity sped by naivete, the West welcomed Qadhafi back into the bosom of respected nations. Delegations of U.S. Senators--ones who are still in this body--went to meet with Qadhafi, to meet with Qadhafi's family, to offer Qadhafi money. Prime Minister Tony Blair gushed with praise for his new friend Colonel Qadhafi. President Bush concluded that Libya was no longer a sponsor of terror. Three Senators met with Qadhafi's son and, according to leaked cables, offered him aid. Fast-forward barely a year later into the Arab spring, and these same Senators who were offering Qadhafi aid were back in Libya offering the rebels aid.
We should scratch our heads and say: My goodness. Maybe we should question the judgment of these people who tell you foreign aid should be given to everyone all the time, and if they misbehave, give them more, because you have Senators from this body going and offering aid to Qadhafi and a year later offering it to the rebels to overthrow Qadhafi and saying Qadhafi is a terrible dictator. He was. He always was. But he played a game, and we accepted the game because we are always willing to play the game with your money.
Egypt. Egypt is a pile of contradictions. In the words of former CIA Agent Robert Baer, ``If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them tortured, you send them to Syria. But if you want them to disappear--never to see them again--you send them to Egypt.''
This was the Egypt under Mubarak, who--when we felt someone needed to be tortured or disappeared and we didn't want there to be any repercussions coming back on us, that is where they sent them--to Egypt.
Over the past 30 years, we bought this sort of regime there to do our bidding when we wished. It became very unpopular with the people. So you wonder about the Arab spring and you wonder, why are these people so unhappy? Well, they hated Mubarak because he was a dictator, he was an autocrat, and they didn't have freedom of speech, they didn't have freedom of association, and they were beaten with billy clubs if they tried to gather. Their political parties were outlawed. They hated Mubarak because he was antidemocrat. He didn't allow voting. But he was our guy. We paid for him.
So you have to think this through. Why is there such widespread anti-Americanism? Because we have propped up and given money to so many despots, to so many dictators. Over the past 30 years, the United States sent over $30 billion to Egypt to help finance a police state ruled by an emergency decree that lasted several decades.
Khaled Said became the face of that foreign aid, as pictures of his bloody beating at the hands of the Egyptian police spurred the youth of Egypt to take to the streets in the Arab spring of 2011.
On June 6, 2010, Said had been sitting on the second floor of a cyber cafe. Two detectives from the Sidi Gaber police station entered the premises and arrested him. Multiple witnesses testified that Said was beaten to death by the police, who reportedly hit him and smashed him against objects as he was led outside to their police car.
The owner of the Internet cafe in which Said was arrested stated that he witnessed Said being beaten to death in the doorway of the building across the street after the detectives took him out of the cafe at the owner's request.
Another young man, Wael Ghonim, a young Egyptian living in Dubai, found the photos of Said after he was beaten to death by police, and he started a Facebook page. It is called ``We are all Khaled Said.'' It was moderated by Wael Ghonim. It brought attention to his death, and it became a phenomenon and spread across the Middle East as people saw the death of this man, beaten to death by the police.
So we have to think, why are we seeing people burning the American flag? Why are we seeing such great unrest in 30 different countries? Because our foreign aid and our military aid have propped up dictators who become, over decades, despotic, autocratic, who torture their people and prevent freedom from occurring, and then there is a backlash. What we are seeing is the backlash of 30 years of foreign aid and propping up military dictatorships simply because they were predisposed to like us as opposed to someone else.
``We are all Khaled Said'' was the rallying cry that brought hundreds of thousands of people to the streets in Egypt. Ghonim's Facebook, where he posted ``We are all Khaled Said,'' spawned a revolution.
As hundreds of thousands of protesters filled Tahrir Square, the police beat them back.
David Reiff of the New Republic reports:
U.S. military aid to Egypt, which averages $1.3 billion annually, allowed the Egyptian police and paramilitaries to bombard protestors with volley after volley of tear gas made by a company in Pennsylvania.
Why are they angry? They know this. They know their protests are beaten down by autocrats supported by the United States who are spraying tear gas on them that is made in the United States. We have to understand the dynamic if we are ever to try to improve the situation.
The protest in Egypt escalated day after day. An unemployed man by the name of Salah Mahmoud, who had moved to Cairo in search of work to save enough money to own a home and marry but instead had been living on small day's wages, set himself on fire in the middle of the street before being put out by bystanders.
The U.S. military aid and tactical training given to Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia to fight terrorism was used to fight against free association and freedom of speech of their people.
When we hear about the Arab spring, we need to understand where the Arab spring comes from. The Arab spring was a rising up for democracy. There is nothing wrong with that. But why would a rising up for democracy take on anti-American tones? I am as offended as anybody else by people burning our flag. But we have to understand why did the Arab spring that seemed to be a search for freedom and democracy--why did it get transformed into an Arab winter? Why did it get transformed into an anti-American protest? Because the tear gas that rained down on them for decades was made here, because the police batons were paid for with our money, because Mubarak, who stole millions of dollars and whose family lived with such wealth and abundance, with homes in London and Paris and secret Swiss accounts, got that at our expense. So when they hated Mubarak, they hated us also. They hated us because we were Mubarak. They hated us because we were Ben Ali in Tunisia. They hated us because we were at one time Saddam Hussein's friend.
If we do not understand this, we are never going to figure out a way to make things better. There are many and ample fiscal reasons to oppose foreign aid, but Thomas Eddlem puts it succinctly when he writes: ``Foreign aid has historically been used to suppress freedom and has reduced the moral influence of the example of the U.S. Constitution.''
It is hard for us to imagine, because we have such a great Constitution and such great freedom here, why they don't appreciate that. Why don't they appreciate and look to the shining example we set? We do set a great example in our country for freedom and tolerance and association. Why can't the folks in the Middle East see that? Because they see the truncheon, they see the police baton, they see the jail cells, they see trial without jury from the autocrats we have supported. We have to understand why this anti-Americanism comes. It has come because, largely, our foreign aid for decade upon decade has been given to despots throughout the Middle East. Those despots have run roughshod on their people and their people are unhappy.
It is not that they despise our Constitution. I think many of them would like to have the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution, but it is confusing to us because we think: Oh, they hate what America is all about. They hate America for our wealth and freedom. They don't hate wealth and freedom. They probably don't hate us in the abstract, but they hate us because when they see Mubarak, when they see the other end of a truncheon coming from the police of Mubarak or the police of Saddam Hussein or the chemical weaponry and the chemical gas Hussein sprayed on his people, they see where it came from and they see the money that came in to prop up these dictators.
From 1980 to 1988, there was a war. We have largely forgotten about it. It was between Iran and Iraq. In that war there were planes on both sides, American planes, because we had sold planes to both sides. At the time, Iran was still flying many F-4s, a couple hundred F-4 Phantoms, and on the other side we had advisers on the ground advising Hussein.
Hussein was our ally. We sent money to Hussein on a routine basis. There are some reports that said Hussein directly got money from our CIA. So we can understand the confusion over there and we can understand that even though Iraq was been liberated and there is a democracy there, that some of them still seem to hate us for some reason. We wonder why they would hate us if we freed them. Because some still remember Hussein and they fear there will be another Hussein.
One of the saddest stories that came up in the last week was a young soldier who was killed in Afghanistan. He was killed by the policeman, the Afghan policeman he was training. We have had over 50 deaths in Afghanistan this year from friendly fire, from our supposed allies. This one was particularly sad. This boy was to come home within a week or two. His brother was having a football game. He was supposed to make his brother's football game. This is a patriotic family, a military family. This boy proudly served, and he deserves nothing but our admiration. But he called his dad a week before and he said to his dad: I think the guy I am training is going to kill me. The Afghan policeman had been coming up to him for weeks saying, ``We don't want you here.''
These are the people we are sending our money to. We are sending our young men and women to die over there, but we are supporting people who it is not clear want to be our friends or want to be our allies. It is not clear we can win their friendship. The President of Afghanistan, Karzai, we basically helped get in power. He stays in power probably because of our presence there. Yet he is disdainful of us. They have said if there is a war with Pakistan--Karzai said he would side with Pakistan.
When there was a shooting recently where an Afghan policeman shot several of our officers in a government building where they should not have been armed--or were not armed--Karzai's response was to talk about the burning of the Koran, as if there was justification for these deaths.
When the riots erupted in Egypt recently, what were the first words out of President Mursi's mouth, from Egypt? The first words out of his mouth were: How dare America produce this film?
America didn't produce the film, but those were the first words out of his mouth, not that ``we should protect the Embassy'' and that ``there is no justification for attacking an embassy'' regardless of any kind of discussion over this movie.
We have to figure out how do we get and retain valid allies? We do have allies around the world we do not give any money to. But too often through the years we have decided to choose one dictator over another, to choose the lesser of two evils. Ultimately, often we have had to go back in to fight against our own weapons. Hussein was our ally. We ended up going back to fight against him. The mujahedin, who became the Taliban, they were our ally, too, against Russia. We were, in fact, in favor of radical jihad when it was directed against the Soviet Union. Some of the weapons are left over. In fact, when we look at Taliban weapons captured now, many of them are American weapons because it is unclear whether we have a good handle on what we give to the Afghan police. We are not positive they don't wind up in the hands of the Taliban.
It is a murky situation, but I don't think it is a situation that should continue. I think it is time to come
home from Afghanistan.
People on the other side say: You want to disengage. No; I want to have relationships with countries around the world. I want to have diplomatic relationships. I want to have trade. But I don't think having diplomatic relationships or engaging with other countries means we have to bribe them.
There are some people who hate us enough that bribing them will not work and often is counterproductive.
Thomas Eddlem reports that even:
Rieff--[from the New Republic, who is] no opponent of foreign aid in theory--concluded of [foreign] aid to Egypt [that] ``this is not only a moral scandal, it is a geo[political] strategic blunder of huge portions.''
Like so many authoritarian regimes, the prime beneficiary of the U.S. foreign aid of Egypt was the leader for life, Mubarak, and the end result of 30 years of supporting an unpopular dictator is we are now seeing uprising in the streets. Why are they anti-American? Because they see us as friends of Mubarak. Mubarak was not a friend of freedom.
Aladdin Elaasar, author of ``The Last Pharaoh: Mubarak and the Uncertain Future of Egypt in the Obama Age,'' said the Mubaraks owned several residences in Egypt, some inherited from previous Presidents and the monarchy and others he has built. ``He had a very lavish lifestyle with many homes around the country.''
He estimates the family's wealth between $50 billion and $70 billion. The gross national income is $2,000 per family in Egypt. Do you think that might make people a little bit mad? The guy is worth $50 to $70 billion and the average income is $2,000. The average income in Africa has not improved in decades and they have dictators worth billions of dollars. Do you think that makes those people harbor anti-American sentiments because the leaders, these dictators, have gotten American money? About 20 percent of the population in Egypt lives below the poverty line, according to a 2010 report.
It is not just Hosni Mubarak himself, it is his whole family who has been enriched. In 2001, they estimated his wealth at $10 billion just in American banks, Swiss, British banks, Bank of Scotland, England, Credit Suisse of Switzerland. You wonder what it is worth today or if we found it all. You also wonder how much of that money in those secret bank accounts is actually just your money.
Egypt's First Lady Suzanne Mubarak's wealth just by herself is estimated at $5 billion. How much of that is your money?
When we hear these numbers of billions of dollars the dictators have secreted away in Swiss bank accounts, listen to that and remember when we hear the plethora of Senators who will come to the floor and say that not one penny of foreign aid should ever be cut--ever. Not one penny of aid, they argue, should have conditions placed on it.
The amendment I will offer today places conditions on foreign aid, but it places conditions that have to pass the Senate, not that can be rubberstamped by Hillary Clinton. Hillary thinks human rights are going fine in Egypt. She rubberstamped and said: Give them 1 billion a couple months ago, no human rights abuses in Egypt.
She also approved an extra billion for Pakistan 1 month ago. We cannot rely on the purse strings to be transferred--particularly to this administration but even any administration, Republican or Democratic. The purse strings are to remain--were intended to remain and the Constitution says are to remain--in the legislature.
This is a real problem. My legislation makes it come back, and we have to vote on it here, that they are in compliance, that there are no human rights violations, that Egypt is not stealing the money and that they are willing and able--that they can and will protect our Embassy.
I think, at a very minimum, if they are going to cash our check, if they are going to have our foreign aid--which I am not a big fan of--but if they are going to get it, at the very least it should have strings attached to say: You have to protect the American Embassy.
One of Mubarak's friends was Gamal Mubarak. He is the Assistant Secretary General of the ruling Democratic National Party in Egypt. His own wealth is estimated at $17 billion, supposedly spread through several banking institutions in Switzerland, Germany, the United States, and Britain. You wonder how much of the $17 billion is actually your money.
Alaa Mubarak, the daughter, her property has reached into nearly $8 billion. She has properties on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, real estate in Washington State, New York, owns two royal yachts with a value of 1 million pounds. These are the yachts one can land a helicopter on. These are the yachts that have a swimming pool on them. How much of that $8 billion, how much of the money that went to pay for these yachts for the Mubarak family is yours?
The thing is, you should be mad. I think Americans are mad. But it is this confusing situation. We should be mad about the foreign aid and so are the populations who are burning the American flag, they are mad--because they did not receive the foreign aid. The foreign aid went to Mubarak. So you should be mad that your Senators send this money to dictators and that the dictators live these lavish lifestyles in mansions throughout the world, throughout Switzerland, London, Paris. Some of the largest private homes in the world are owned by dictators, paid for with your money.
You should be angry. You should be frothing. You should be upset. You should tell your Senators, you should tell your Congressman: No more money to these dictators.
But at the same time you become angry, think it through and understand why the Arab world is angry. They don't hate our freedom. They don't hate our Constitution. They are angry at their own dictators, but they are angry we propped up their dictators for decade after decade. But it all has to do with foreign aid.
I have been arguing primarily about Pakistan, but the thing is, this is bigger than Pakistan. Pakistan is just the most egregious and one of the larger recipients of our aid--$3 billion worth a year, maybe more.
Right now they are holding Dr. Shakid Afridi, who is the doctor who helped us get bin Laden. They tortured him for a year, and he will be in prison for the rest of his life. That is not the way an ally acts.
I say no more money to Pakistan until they release this doctor. I don't think that is too much to ask. We would find very few in this body who agree. Ask the American people and 80 to 90 percent agree no more money to Pakistan until the doctor is free. I will be lucky to get 20 percent of them to agree to not just cut off aid, but have restrictions on aid. That is how bad it is.
The Arab spring brought corruption and theft of U.S. aid to Libya and Egypt, but Africa is rife with stories of theft and dictator spoils.
Teodrin Obiang Nguema is the son of Equatorial Guinea's dictator. He recently ran afoul of French customs who discovered that his chartered jet had 26 supercars on it, including seven Ferraris, five Bentleys, four Rolls Royces, and two Buggatis. Is anybody besides me mad that we are sending foreign aid to African dictators whose sons are importing Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Ferraris, and Buggatis to Africa, countries that have no electricity?
I don't care if you are the biggest humanitarian in the world and you want to help people, it is not going to the people. The foreign aid is stolen by the leadership of these countries. This is not one example; this is example after example, decade after decade.
The learning curve around here is so slow we will get 10, maybe 20 Senators to place any restrictions on foreign aid. Seventy percent of the people living in Africa live under the poverty threshold of $2 a day, and the son of a leader is importing Buggatis, Bentleys, Rolls Royces, and Ferraris on his own private charter jet. It has to be a pretty big jet to have 26 supercars on it. The rest of Africa lives on $2 a day. It is our money given by our government to dictators in Africa. We have to get the connection. We need to be mad. There needs to be an ``American spring'' where we tell our leaders we are sick and tired of our money going to fund dictators--an American spring where we understand what happened in the Arab spring.
The Arab spring is a direct consequence of us sending foreign aid and lavishing it on people who don't respect the freedom of their constituents and don't allow constitutional freedoms. The Arab spring's anger, as much as it is directed against America, is not against our Constitution. It is not because they don't believe in freedom. It is because they are upset that we have been funding and subsidizing their dictators. The United States has given Guinea almost $300 million over the past 10 years despite Guinea having one of the worst human rights records on the planet. Torture is said to be commonplace.
The New York Times reported last spring: ``Any policeman can arrest any citizen at any time.''
Torture is a ``current thing,'' ``current,'' said Mr. Mico, a lawyer who is with an opposition party. He was recalling his own beating in the presence of high officials.
Gonzalo Ndong Sima, a pharmacist in the center of town, recounted his recent encounter with the police over a simple traffic mishap saying, ``They beat me like an animal.''
So what do we do? We give Guinea our money and people are beaten with police truncheons at traffic accidents. Who are they mad at? We need to begin to understand where the anger is coming from. When we prop up dictators in third-world countries who beat their subjects into submission, that is why they are angry. They don't care that we are wealthy or free. They are angry because we prop up dictators who beat them with truncheons.
Despite widespread reports of abuse, corruption, and ineffectiveness, foreign aid continues unabated. Despite polls that show over 70 percent of the American voters are opposed to foreign aid, it continues unabated.
Even when advocates of foreign aid are beaten down with stories such as I have been telling today of human rights abuses, starvation, and death threats, hangings, shootings, executions, these advocates trot forward their last defense: ``Foreign aid is less than 1 percent of the whole budget.'' It is only $30 billion.
Do you know how many times they use that argument? Every time I want to cut $30 billion, it is only $30 billion. They use it for $300 million too. It is only $300 million. If we don't get started somewhere, how are we ever going to balance our budget? We can't live on the $1 trillion deficits.
They argue eliminating foreign aid would not balance the budget. No, it won't, but it is a start. We have to start somewhere, and why not start with something that is counterproductive? Why not start with eliminating something from the budget that is counterproductive and seems to create some of the anger--at least it is some explanation for the anger in the Arab world.
The final arguments for foreign aid are so flimsy one would not think they would be worth much to even try to refute. Proponents of the status quo use this argument over and over for any budgetary item. If we can't cut millions now or even billions, how will we ever get to trillions?
When conservatives argued for cutting small subsidies to little airports that sometimes subsidize one airline ticket for $3,000, they argue it will only save $300 million. It is not a valid argument, it is a weak argument, and we should not accept it.
Cutting $30 billion worth of foreign aid would not balance the budget, but I am not even asking to cut the foreign aid. What I am asking for is that we place contingencies on it, rules of behavior. If they want to be our ally, act like it. If they want to be America's ally, act like it. If they want to cash our check, act like an ally and behave. At the very least shouldn't there be rules and restrictions on who gets it?
While there are reasons they are burning the American flag, I am an American and it upsets me. I am bothered by the fact that the American flag is being burned, but I am also bothered by the fact that we are sending money to countries where this is occurring. We are faced daily with tens of thousands of protesters in these Middle Eastern countries. We are faced with the tragic assassination of Ambassador Stevens.
With all the aid and all the evidence that foreign aid is not working, that it enables dictators and rarely buys the behavior we want, Republicans and Democrats still clamor for more. They will fight tooth and nail against any restrictions on the aid.
So one wonders, where are we going? In fact, we will find in this argument--and if we will read the paper, we
will find that Secretary of State Clinton is arguing for more aid to Egypt. Their argument is if a country doesn't like us, if they behave illy toward America, if we give them more money, maybe they will act better.
I think the opposite. One, we are out of money. We are $1 trillion short. I think if we give them less money, they would think more about their behavior. Perhaps if we gave less money or, in my mind, no money to Pakistan until Dr. Afridi is released, maybe he would be released.
It boggles the mind to think these Senators are in favor of no restrictions and increasing aid despite decades of evidence that aid is not working. Proponents of this aid continue to argue that these mobs will be more inflamed if we don't give them money. I think it is quite the opposite.
I think the other thing about it they don't quite get is that I don't think the people writing are writing and saying give us more aid. What they are writing for is they don't like what our aid did in the first place. They are writing against autocratic authoritarian governments that were propped up by our aid.
People arguing that taking away the aid will inflame the Arab world, turn on the television set. They are plenty inflamed. Taking it away doesn't make it better, but at least we have some consultation that we are trying to do something about the deficit and maybe we have problems at home that are more pressing than this and maybe we won't reward bad behavior.
To say that taking away the aid may inflame the Arab world, just turn on the television set because they are plenty inflamed already. If we don't understand why they are inflamed, if we don't understand the Arab spring, if we don't understand why they are mad, that they are mad that we propped up dictators who kept them down and kept them from freedom, we will never understand or come to a resolution to make things better.
I, for one, will not vote for one more penny of foreign aid to anyone unless it has restrictions on it. I will only vote for it if the restrictions say they have to behave and it has to be approved by the Senate. We have tried it before. The other side may come to the floor and say foreign aid already has restrictions. Well, yes, they are not working because we gave them to the executive branch. Like so much in this body, we have been giving up power to the Presidency for 100 years. This is not a Republican-Democrat thing. This is just a legislative abdication of power, and we let the President do whatever he wants.
I am not arguing Republican or Democrat. I am arguing any President. The power should remain here with the purse strings. We should control them tightly, and we should say foreign aid only goes out under strict conditions. We should not let the final decision be made by an administration that doesn't seem to have the fortitude to make these tough decisions.
Enough is enough. We are running trillion-dollar deficits, and it is time to make a stand. I have been making a stand for the last week by filibustering this bill. It doesn't make me the most popular person here in Washington. People's travel schedules have been disrupted because of my filibuster. People's campaigning has been disrupted because of my filibuster. But this is not a new problem, and it is not a small problem.
We are talking about an aid program that has gone on decade after decade. We are talking about an enormous uprising in 30 countries, the Arab spring, and now maybe the Arab winter. We are talking about how we make things better. Until we fully understand what the Arab spring is about and also why the huge amount of anti-Americanism is running throughout the Middle East, we can't make it better.
I say throwing good money after bad is not the answer. This evening I think we will get to vote on my amendment. My amendment is to simply say to Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan that there are restrictions. All three will have to say that they will protect our embassy. There is a question of whether Egypt was forthcoming in protecting our embassy, and there is no question Libya was not.
In the case of Libya, I think there are elements there that like America, and there are also still elements that don't like America, but there is not really a government. I wonder if an embassy should be reopened in Libya. If we reopen the embassy in Libya and we put 50 marines in there, we may have a catastrophe like we had in Lebanon when 200 marines were killed in the early 1980s. Without thousands of marines, I don't think we can protect an embassy in a large city in Libya.
It doesn't mean we don't have relations. When I argue for not putting the embassy back in, it is because I think long and hard about the danger to another ambassador and what their family will have to suffer if another ambassador is killed. I also think we can have probably an embassy in a neighboring country, and that is what I will recommend until things stabilize.
If Libya wants to have aid, they should keep cooperating with us with regard to finding the assassins. They should try to work where they can become stable enough to have an embassy. The bottom line with Libya that a lot of people forget--as I talk about foreign aid, so many people say we can't cut off aid to Libya; they want to be pro-American. They have oil.
When President Obama was bombing Libya, he kept saying: It will all be free. They will pay us for it later. It will be a free war. We heard that one before. Iraq was going to be a free war also. Iraqi oil was going to pay for it. It never ends up happening. That is what they told us about Libya.
With regard to Pakistan, I have one additional requirement. They have to prove to us they will protect our embassy, and they have to release Dr. Afridi. I think this is very little to ask. He is under death threats in prison. His family is under death threats in the countryside. They are hiding and living in fear because they helped us.
The other reason why this administration should take it personally is somebody leaked Dr. Afridi's name. His name should have never been known. I doubt it was someone with the CIA, but somebody who knew his name leaked this story. There were some stories about a month or two ago about how the President was doing a great job with terrorism. In those stories they talked about a doctor with a vaccine program and his name was found out. Somebody leaked it. Somebody very close to the President leaked it. I think that needs to be investigated. It is a crime and it should be punished. Not only is it a crime, but whomever in the administration leaked that information about Dr. Afridi, I hope they lie awake at night and worry about their soul in the sense that this man may well die. He is going to be in prison for the rest of his life because his name was leaked. That kind of behavior from high-ranking government officials is inexcusable.
This evening we will have this vote. I will encourage Senators to vote for this resolution. It doesn't end aid. I would prefer we end it. This is a moderate step in the sense that it attaches conditions to it. I think the American people expect that of us, at the very least, and I encourage my fellow Senators to vote for my resolution.
I thank the Chair.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, we have before us a resolution on containment of Iran. I have voted for sanctions on Iran and do not think it is a good idea that Iran have nuclear weapons. However, I am very concerned about this particular resolution. I think a vote for this resolution is a vote for the concept of preemptive war. I know of no other way to interpret this resolution.
The resolution says that containment--the strategy of trying to prevent expansion or invasion of countries--will never be our policy with regard to Iran. While I think it unwise to announce that we will contain Iran--I do think it unwise to tell Iran: Oh, it is fine to get a nuclear weapon; we will contain you--I also think it is equally unwise to say: We will never contain you.
The reason I say this is that we woke up one day and Pakistan had nuclear weapons. We woke up one day and Russia had nuclear weapons--China and India and North Korea. Had we made the statement--the rash statement--that we will never contain any country that has nuclear weapons, what does that mean? I think that means that you have decided--right now, before anything happens, you have decided that you will preemptively go to war.
We have been at war for a decade now. We have been at war in Afghanistan. I supported going to Afghanistan, but I am ready to come home from Afghanistan. We were at war in Iraq for nearly 10 years. I am glad we are coming home from Iraq. But I do not want to automatically commit our country to a war in Iran.
So while I do think it is a mistake to say we will not contain them, I think it is also a mistake to say we will contain them. It is a mistake to have a policy that is explicit one way or the other.
President Reagan was once criticized and accused of having no foreign policy. He replied that it was not that he had no foreign policy; it was that he did not care to share it with everyone. Because if you give everyone--your potential enemies or friends--if you say to every country: If you do X, I will do X, or if you maybe do this, I will do that, you are exposing exactly what your plans are, and that may not be the best strategy. In other words, foreign policy is an ever-shifting battleground, and there should be a certain strategic ambiguity to foreign policy.
So when we announce to Iran or to the world that we will never, ever contain Iran, it is an announcement that the bombs will be dropping if we ever hear that they are a nuclear power. I do not think we should say automatically we are willing to accept them as a nuclear power, but I do not think we should automatically say there will be a preemptive war with Iran.
Now, everybody has been bragging. They say: Oh, everybody in the Senate is for this. Everybody is not. I am not for this. I may be alone on this, but, interestingly, if you travel to Israel, there is a very spirited debate on this.
Meir Dagan, who was the head of the Mossad, cares deeply about Israel, would not be, by anyone's imagination accused of being a shrinking violet--he has done many things to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon. He is worried about what happens the minute the bombs start dropping on Iran. Where do you think the next set of bombs will go? They will be on Tel Aviv. They will not be on the United States. But if you live in Tel Aviv, you might have some concern over what happens and what Iran does.
The other thing about beginning a war is that historically in our country we have had defensive wars. Nobody messes with us, and I agree with that. You mess with the United States there will be significant repercussions. We will not let you invade other countries and we will not let you invade the United States. But the idea that we will have offensive war and not defensive war is a concept that is new in our history.
Preemptive war, going to war and saying we will go to war to prevent you from doing certain activities is a new concept in our lexicon of foreign policy. I think it is a dangerous one. Announcing to the world, as this resolution does, that containment will never be our policy is unwise. It is a recipe for perpetual war. A country that vows to never contain an enemy is a country that vows to always preemptively attack. To rule out containment as a strategy or as a strategic and sometimes militarily active form of defense is to admit we have become Orwellian. Yes, we have always been at war with East Asia or, yes, we have always been at war with Eurasia. It is an idea that we will always be perpetually at war.
I am proud of being for a strong national defense. I am proud of being for protecting our country. But I cannot accept a resolution that says we will completely get rid of the containment strategy that was a strategy that kept us safe for 60 years during the most aggressive and dangerous war we have ever encountered, the Cold War. The Soviet Union had 30,000 intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the United States and attack us and devastate our country.
If we would have had this concept that we rule out the idea of containment, we would have had an awful and devastating and maybe cataclysmic war with Russia. Now North Korea is more similar to Iran, a two-bit dictatorship that has trouble feeding their own people, has trouble having enough supplies of food and gasoline for their own people. There are similarities. But when North Korea announced it had a nuclear weapon, did we immediately start dropping bombs? Did we say we will not contain them? We contained North Korea. Some would argue the leadership of North Korea is equally as irrational as the leadership of Iran, if not more so. So we were able to contain a two-bit socialist, very small and unproductive country such as North Korea. I see no reason why, if we had to, we could not contain Iran. I am not promoting that as a philosophy. We should not be telling Iran we will contain them. But for goodness' sake, we should not be saying: We will never contain you.
The people who vote for this resolution I think are well meaning, but I do not think they are thinking this through. We have had this before. When the resolution came up for the Iraq war, many voted for it and then some came back later and said: I voted for it before I voted against it. They wanted it both ways. Many come up to me now and say: I voted for the Iraq war, but it was a mistake. I voted for this concept of offensive war, of preemptive war to stop Iraq from having weapons of mass destruction, but I made a mistake.
I think the Iraq war was a mistake. I was not here, but I would have voted no. I fear we are pushing on. Every month there has to be a new and more bellicose resolution to ensure we will go to war and that at all costs we will go to war in Iran. I think it is a mistake. I think there should be some strategic ambiguity, meaning that we do not announce to our enemies exactly what we are going to do. We let them know firmly what our position is, but we do not announce to them our entire military strategy.
To do so, to rule out a strategy that we had for 60 years that worked, that kept us in a very difficult and uneasy peace with the Soviet Union, does anybody here argue we would have been much better if containment would not have been a strategy, if we would have said absolutely to Russia, if you do this, we are going to--the bombs will drop tomorrow.
That scares me. But what scares me more is that so many Members of this body are jumping up and down to embrace each other in the bipartisan desire that we will not have containment as a strategy, that we absolutely will go to war if we wake up and Iran has nuclear weapons. You know what, the other day Meir Dagan, the former head of the Mossad, said that you cannot bomb the nuclear knowledge out of the psyche. Nuclear knowledge, the knowledge to make nuclear weapons, is out there now. It is in Iran. We will not be able to stop that knowledge. We will not be able to eradicate the knowledge of nuclear weapons. That is something to think about. Because there may come a day--and this is the prelude to the next argument. The next argument we have on this floor will be one day when Iran announces, and am not for this, I think we should do everything--I voted for sanctions. I think we should do everything to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon.
But my goodness this is a huge mistake. It may be unpopular for me at home to say this, but I will say it. I will say it loudly. To rule out any kind of defensive strategy that does not include an offensive war is a huge mistake for the country. I will vigorously oppose this resolution. I hope those who have glommed onto this resolution so quickly, because there is an incredible force behind this resolution, there is an incredible lobbying apparatus that says you have to go onto this or else. I hope they will reread this and reconsider. Think about the double and triple amputees who have come home to your town. Think about the soldiers who have committed suicide. Think about the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who are overseas now. Ask yourself, are we ready to send another 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000 soldiers to Iran?
I am not asking that we do nothing. We just beefed up the sanctions a couple months ago. But there are other things to do besides saying we will always have to go to war. For example, who does Iran trade with? You know the reason why the sanctions probably will not ultimately work? Because Iran trades with China and Russia and India and
Japan and they are exempt from the sanctions. We say there are sanctions, but then we give them exemptions and they sell all their oil somewhere else. We do not have the power to shut down Iran through sanctions.
If we were to convince somehow Russia and China to be on our side, we could have leverage, and I think Iran would listen. The sanctions have brought them back to the table. They are negotiating. I do not for 1 minute believe everything they say or think they are trustworthy. But it is better than war to have negotiations, even with a fallible and perhaps deceitful partner sometimes--but it is still better than war.
I think there is such an eagerness or such a lack of reluctance in this body to think through the issues of war. That is how we get into this. We get into it because everybody wants to be stronger than the next guy. Everybody wants to be more bellicose than the next guy. Everybody wants to say: Nobody pushes us around and we are not going to take it. But there are other ways. There are other ways.
We have to worry about and think about what ultimately are the repercussions. Our soldiers are not inanimate clay that we put on this master board of chess, this geopolitical chess game, to move around. These are young men and women who live in your neighborhood, who live in the neighboring town. When I think about war, I think about this resolution; I do not think about empty black and white words on a page. I think about those young men and woman and my commitment, my real and strong commitment that I am not going to war without absolute provocation, without a threat to the national security, and for goodness' sake, without a debate over it.
The other side may say: This does not say anything about war. No, but it says some things that are very unwise; that we would rule out an entire form of defense strategy that we used for 60 years successfully to stay out of war. I think it is a mistake to say it is OK for Iran to be a nuclear country and we will contain them. But I think it is also a mistake to say we will never contain them.
I have another amendment that is coming up this evening. This is an amendment to place limitations on foreign aid. For the last hour or two, we have had a bit of the other side giving their response. That is fine. We discover the truth by hearing the debate on both sides of this. But Senator Moynihan, who used to serve up here who is deceased, once said: Everybody has the right to their own opinion, but you do not have the right to make up your own set of facts.
There was a Senator here earlier who said: Oh, that guy from Kentucky, he does not believe in a strong national defense. He would slash national defense. So anybody who is against foreign aid is not for national defense.
This particular Senator said: He would gut defense and he would cut it by 16 percent. That is just sort of making up your facts. That is not fair. He is entitled to his opinion, but he is not entitled to make up the facts. I do have a budget that I put forward that balances the budget in 5 years. I also have a priority within that budget that I think the most important thing our government does and that the Constitution mandates is a strong national defense. I think it is the most important thing we do in this country.
So in my budget I am able to cut a significant amount of spending, but I actually limit the military sequester. The military sequester was an automatic cut. I do it by cutting out other spending, real cuts in spending in the same year to reduce the size of government, but I do not have a 16-percent cut in military in 1 year.
In fact, under the military sequester, I actually restore $50 billion that allows the first year not to have any cuts in military. Do I think there should be some cuts in military? Yes. But I make it a little bit easier on the cuts over time. To say I am proposing a 16-percent cut is untrue.
Others have said: Yes, the military sequester is so horrible. He is going to cut foreign aid. The country will be defenseless. The hordes will be over here. We will have to fight them over there. There is a certain irony to this because half these people, these Senators who are caterwauling about this military sequester, guess what they will not tell you. They voted for the military sequester. I voted against the military sequester last year because I did not think there was going to be enough cuts to rescue us from this debt bomb that is ticking.
But the people who voted for the military sequester are now up here accusing me of wanting to gut defense and all the military cuts and they voted for the military sequester. Others have come to the floor and said: If we do not pay people to be our friend, if we do not give people foreign aid, then we are wanting to withdraw from the world, that we are going to withdraw into a little, tiny shell, into a closet and lock ourselves in a fortress and we are not going to engage the world.
Nothing could be further from the truth. We do not give any foreign aid to England. Have we withdrawn from England? We do not give any foreign aid to anybody in Europe. Have we withdrawn from Europe? We are incredibly connected with Europe. We are incredibly connected with China, despite our differences--incredibly connected with China. We do not have to give foreign aid to be connected to the world. We should trade with the world. That is the connection. The more we are interconnected through trade, the less likely we are to go to war.
The other side also says that if we do not have foreign aid we will have war. My goodness, has anybody been paying attention? We have had two pretty big wars for a decade. We are involved in the longest war in the history of our country. I do not see any evidence that foreign aid is preventing war.
Some might say: But foreign aid is humanitarian and we want to help poor people. I see zero evidence that foreign aid is helping poor people. It is helping rich people in poor countries. I went through an hour's worth of this earlier talking about how dictators are the ones stealing the money in Africa. Africans live on an average of $2 a day. They did 30 years ago and they still do because foreign aid does not get to the people; it is stolen by the dictators.
The other point to make about foreign aid is: My goodness, if we do not have foreign aid, we will be fighting them on our shores. Because we have foreign aid, we have a great deal of antipathy.
What they need to think through--and nobody is thinking through--is why are the Arabs mad? Why are they yelling and screaming and burning the American flag? That makes me mad, and that is one reason I don't want to send them any money, because they are burning our flag. But why are they mad?
They are mad because Mubarak, who was a dictator in Egypt--do you know what he did when the crowds were formed? He hosed them down with teargas made in Pennsylvania and bought with foreign aid. When the police came with truncheons and beat the crap out of people who were protesting in Egypt, they did it with money from the United States. They are not mad at us because we are rich, they are not mad at us because we drive cars and have nice clothes and have music they find distasteful. They are really not even ultimately mad at us because of that movie. They do not like it, and I understand there are sensibilities on this, but that is not ultimately why they are mad. But they get really mad when they are hit over the head with a police truncheon paid for with foreign aid.
So it is exactly the opposite of what the other side says. The other side says without foreign aid we will have more war. I say because of the foreign aid we have more war. There is no objective evidence. Is there any objective evidence we have had less war with foreign aid? None. Zero. There is a lot of evidence we are out of money, though. We are $1 trillion in the hole every year, and they all come down and pay lip service to it, but then say: Oh, well, $30 billion won't make a difference. I say we have to start somewhere, and foreign aid is a great place to start.
These Senators are disconnected from the public. I defy any Senator who votes to continue foreign aid with no limitations to go home and ask their people. I will bet 90 percent of the people at home--it routinely polls in the 70s--are in favor of not sending money overseas, particularly if asked whether they want to send money overseas to people who despise us or if they would want to send money overseas to people who are burning our flag; would they want to send money overseas to a country that has tortured a man who helped us get bin Laden; to a country that allowed bin Laden to live within its midst for 6 or 7 years unmolested; to a country that is mad at us now because we got bin Laden; to a country where a third of the population would vote for bin Laden for president.
I say far from destabilizing the world, what would happen if we were to remove foreign aid is we would remove the impetus to the Arab spring becoming the Arab winter. What I see is people recognizing that people are angry, but I see no intelligent discussion about why they are angry. When people come to me and they say: Oh, it is because we are rich and we are a wealthy country, that doesn't make any sense to me.
Many of these people actually in the Arab spring do want freedom--a freedom like our freedom. It may be a little different, because it is a different culture and they believe in a different system of democracy than we do, but they still want some freedom. Some might ask: If they want freedom and we have freedom, why wouldn't they admire our system; why wouldn't they be sympathetic; why are they burning our flag; why are 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 people rallying and burning our flag? It is because too often our foreign aid has gone to support dictators who have oppressed their people.
Mubarak got $60 billion in Egypt. Estimates of his family's worth are up to $50 billion. They repressed their people. No one could come into the street without being beaten over the head with a police baton or sprayed with teargas made in Pennsylvania. They were mad at Mubarak, understandably, so that anger is transferred to us. The same with Ben Ali in Tunisia, and the same with Hussein.
Remember that Hussein was our ally before he was our enemy. In the Iran-Iraq war we had American planes on both sides. We had military advisers supporting Hussein against Iran, but we had F-4 Phantoms flying on Iran's side that were left there when we left. So this goes back a long way.
I remember being in high school and being perplexed as to why the Iranians hated us. Why were they burning our flag? Why were they burning our Embassy and jumping up and down like a bunch of idiots burning our flag? Why did they hate us so much? Because we kept in power a man--the shah--whom they didn't like, whom they despised, and who was autocratic and had a very significant police force that didn't allow dissent.
It is the opposite of what the other side argues for. The other side is arguing that without foreign aid we will have war. I am arguing that because of foreign aid we have war. Because of foreign aid and because of the misapplication of foreign aid, because of the theft of foreign aid, and because foreign aid is given to people who repress their people, the Arab spring, which has a healthy element to it, has become the Arab winter. If we don't understand that, we are never going to get beyond that.
We have to also go back to the specifics of what I am asking for in this amendment. In this amendment, what I am asking for is that there simply be restrictions. I am asking that in order to get our foreign aid, a country has to act like an ally; they have to significantly and believably pledge to protect our Embassy. In Libya's regard, they have to promise to turn over the people who assassinated our Ambassador.
I think that is the minimum of what we should do. Frankly, I think we probably shouldn't be sending aid at all, but I think this is a first step in the right direction; to say, for goodness sakes, if we are going to send aid to people, at least send it to people who are acting like our allies.
When we see the American flag being burned in public by tens of thousands of the horde around our Embassies around the world, we should ask ourselves if we want to send good money after bad to that country. Do we believe it is working? And when we think about whether our money should go to African despots and dictators, we should ask if that money is getting to the poor people in Africa or is our foreign aid going to rich people in poor countries. That is the history of it. It is the history of repression, it is the history of human rights abuse, it is the history of theft and more corruption than anyone can ever imagine.
I will probably lose this vote, but I have fought long and hard. I have
fought for 6 weeks to get this vote, and so we are going to have this vote at midnight. People aren't too happy with me now, but we are going to have a vote tonight at midnight, and I think it is an important vote. I think it is an important first step whether we win or lose. Because every Senator who votes on this tonight will have to go home and they will have to engage their constituents and explain to their constituents why they are still willing to send money to countries that are burning the American flag; why they are still willing to send money to countries where there is ample evidence of corruption and thievery; why they are still willing to send foreign aid to countries that are openly disdainful of us.
Does everyone realize the President of Afghanistan, or senior advisers, have said that if there is a war with Pakistan--between the United States and Pakistan--they will side with Pakistan? Pakistan's senior advisers have said if there is a war with Iran, they will side with Iran. These are the people we are sending billions of dollars to and saying: Please be our friends. They laugh and snigger at us and turn away and say: Fools. That is what they say about us.
I say what we need in this country is an American spring--an American spring where we wake up and say: Look, to make our country great again, to retain American greatness, we have to figure out how to grow at home. And I think that means leaving more money at home. I hope the Senate will consider this when they vote this evening.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT