Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed his disapproval for the idea that the United States needs to engage any further in the habit of nation building during a foreign relations committee hearing on Tuesday.
Discussing the future of America's "stabilization" efforts in Iraq with Senior Fellow of the Center for American Progress Hardin Lang, Paul questioned our need to continue spending money in Iraq any longer. Lang was discussing ideas for short term projects, but Paul was wondering if Lang had a different definition of "short term" than he did.
Having been there ten years, so we've given quite a bit aid. It's hard to argue that a little bit of short term assistance is not on top of a trillion dollars worth of nation building, both military and non-military," said Paul. "We've spent a lot of money over there."
"They're not a destitute country," added Paul. "They have oil, and by golly they aught to rebuild their own country. We can be of some help stabilizing things, but it isn't our responsibility to rebuild everybody's country."
Paul pointed out that the U.S. itself is in $20 trillion worth of debt, and that it's about time to stop bridge building everywhere but in our own country.
"Look, I've got a bridge that's 50 years old in my state I'd like to replace," said Paul. "We've built and bombed so many bridges around the world we don't have any money left for ourselves."
America's financial investments in other nations dwarfs spending on its own shores in many situations. In fact, NextCity.org pointed out in 2013 just how much money flows to other countries from the U.S. vs a city like Detroit. The difference range from $20 million more, to billions.
If much of this money used to improve nations overseas were used here, the differences would likely be astronomical.