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Foreign Policy Falsehoods

From Nation of Change – Politics

Foreign Policy Themed GOP Debate Full of Falsehoods
by Brooks Jackson, Eugene Kiely, Lori Robertson and Robert Farley
IWatch News/News Analysis
Monday 14 November 2011

We found several exaggerations and misstatements in the latest Republican presidential candidates’ debate.

Romney issued a hollow threat to take China’s currency manipulation to a world body that doesn’t actually deal with overvalued money, and he claimed federal spending consumes more of the nation’s economic output than it really does.

Gingrich overstated U.S. aid to Egypt by a factor of two, and he claimed Obama repudiated former president Mubarak “overnight,” when in fact the president took seven days before he publicly urged Mubarak to begin an “orderly transition” of power.

And Bachmann claimed that “we have no jail” for terrorists captured on “the battlefield,” overlooking the 1,700 men being held without trial at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

The debate took place Nov. 12 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., among eight candidates: Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. It was sponsored by CBS News, the National Journal and the South Carolina Republican Party. The first hour of the 90-minute event was carried live on CBS, which said it planned to broadcast the final 30 minutes the following day on its Sunday show “Face the Nation.” Questions were focused on foreign policy.

Romney’s Hollow Threat on WTO and China

Romney threatened to haul China before the World Trade Organization to address currency manipulation. But as Huntsman suggested, the WTO isn’t a good forum for that.

Romney: “[T]hey’re a currency manipulator. And on that basis, we also go before the WT — WTO — and bring an action against them as a currency manipulator. … We can’t just sit back and let China run all over us.”

Huntsman: “… First of all, I don’t think, Mitt, you can take China to the WTO on currency-related issues.”

Huntsman — a former U.S. ambassador to China — is correct. WTO rules don’t cover currency manipulation, according to a 2011 report by the Congressional Research Service:

CRS, Jan. 28, 2011: The WTO has rules against subsidies, but these are very narrow and specific and do not seem to encompass currency manipulation.

To be sure, the CRS report said it is “debatable” whether WTO rules against unfair trade subsidies can be interpreted to cover a deliberately undervalued currency. But it added: “[T]o date [the WTO] has done nothing to suggest that trade issues linked to currency manipulation are within its zone of responsibility.” The CRS said that a president might seek to amend WTO rules so that they clearly cover currency manipulation, but that is “not easy.”

Overall, we judge that there’s less force behind Romney’s WTO threat than he would have viewers believe.

Gingrich Wrong on Aid to Egypt

Gingrich was wrong when he said Egypt receives $3 billion a year in foreign aid from the U.S. It actually receives about half that.

Gingrich: “You’re giving some countries $7 billion a year. So you start off — or — or in the case of Egypt $3 billion a year.”

The Congressional Research Service said in a June 15, 2010, report that Egypt is the second-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, and had been receiving an average of about $2 billion a year since 1979. However, U.S. aid to Egypt has been “trending downward,” CRS said. It now receives a total of about $1.55 billion — roughly $1.3 billion a year in military assistance and $250 million in economic aid.

The level of military aid has remained consistent, the CRS report said.

CRS, June 15: In July 2007, as a part of a larger arms package to the region, the United States announced that it would provide Egypt with $13 billion in military aid over a ten-year period. Since Egypt has already been receiving approximately $1.3 billion a year in military assistance, the announcement represented no major change in U.S. assistance policy toward Egypt.

Similarly, the State Department also says on its website that “U.S. military aid to Egypt totals over $1.3 billion annually.”

However, the CRS says in its report (and in a separate report issued in February 2011) that economic assistance to Egypt has been “significantly reduced” in recent years — in part due to a 10-year agreement known as the Glide Path Agreement that was reached in 1998 that maintained military aid but reduced economic aid.

CRS, Feb. 4, 2011: Thus the United States reduced ESF aid to Egypt from $815 million in FY1998 to $411 million in FY2008. For FY2011, the Administration is requesting $250 million in ESF (Economic Support Fund) Egypt, the same amount it has received since FY2009.

NationofChange is a 501(c)3 nonprofit funded directly by our readers. Please make a small donation to support our work.
For fiscal year 2012, the Obama administration requested $1.55 billion in military and economic assistance for Egypt, the CRS said in a September report titled “Egypt in Transition.”

Read complete article at Nation of Change.

A Drop In the Bucket

“I saw over five hundred kids walking out of the Congo three years ago and decided I had to do something about it,” says Rev. Paul Oas. What he did was organize the church he attends in San Diego, California to provide support and funds for an orphanage in Rwanda (called ROP Center for Street Children) and put together a team of people to visit the orphanage of 150 children and assist them with health care, clean water, trauma relief, job training and hope for a future in a country that is still reeling from the 1994 genocide. “I feel like I’m in my twenties again,” says Pastor Paul, as his seventy-five year old eyes light up.

For three weeks Pastor Paul, who likes to be called Paul, helped coordinate a team of concerned health professionals in the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. They worked from morning until night providing children at the center with the first medical check up and exam they had ever had, teaching older youth sewing and quilting skills, in order to have a vocation once they left the orphanage and connecting the center for orphans with local clinics, dentists and a water filtration company. They also provided classes in Thought Field Therapy – TFT (a meridian based treatment that eliminates symptoms of post traumatic stress) and did a follow up study with children they had treated the previous year. Other members of the team taught classes on TFT to orphanage directors, ministers and other social service organizations from all over Rwanda.

Paul says, “When people without church backgrounds see things like this they are touched as well and have a change in values. Too often religion has become more interested in form than in function. In the twelfth chapter of Romans Paul says, ‘present your bodies as a living sacrifice and this is your reasonable worship’”. In other words, make sure your walk matches your talk.

There are countless disappointments and frustrations with this kind of work and mission, such as never having enough resources and constant feelings of helplessness, but Pastor Paul believes these realities are part of the journey. “I still get overwhelmed and feel like it’s all a drop in the bucket. The way I take care of that is to keep getting others involved and having it expand.” He says his father and mother (who was a nurse) taught him to always “find a way” and believed “we’re all one family”.

Working in Rwanda is not the first time Paul has gone outside his community in southern California. He has also organized trips to orphanages in Baja Mexico and worked with survivors in Kosovo, as well as visiting a refugee camp of 100,000 on the border of Sudan. He believes that words mean nothing without corresponding action and often quotes a passage from James 1: 27, which states, “True religion and uncorrupted, is to visit the orphans and the widows in their distress and to keep one self unstained from the world.”

After traveling and serving people in Kosovo, Mexico and Africa, Pastor Paul finds it challenging to live in such an affluent part of the world. Instead of judging or condemning those with affluence, he realized that most of them want to get involved and giving to others provides meaning for their lives as well. “People start blossoming,” he says. “Our mission is to help one another mobilize and find our individual gifts.”

The work Paul has done at the ROP Center for Street Children in Rwanda has also blossomed. Not only have members of his church at Christ Lutheran in San Diego committed funds and resources, but Pastor Paul has also reached out and received support for the orphans from concerned individuals and religious and non-religious organizations throughout the country and around the globe. “When you have the compassion to do something,” Paul says with a smile, “you’ll find roadblocks that will stop you, but don’t let them. The roadblocks are for some purpose. When people see your passion for God and His creation, they get involved and new paths appear.”

Pastor Paul Oas has not let roadblocks, government restrictions, lack of funds, cultural misunderstandings or church politics block his path to helping children or prevented him from bringing people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and areas of the country to “get on board”. “Most people say they admire me for doings this, but I don’t want to be admired,” Paul says. “What they are really saying is that it is wonderful what you’re doing and I wish I could help. The greatest admiration is when they contribute or get involved. Some people make a show about how much they love God, but Jesus said, ‘How can you say you love God who you haven’t seen, when you don’t love the brother who you have seen?’”

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