Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy
Cutting Funding to the IAEA Is a Horrible Idea
It’s not hard to start an argument these days in Washington. President Donald Trump’s newly released budget will surely spark thousands of them, as analysts, partisans, Big Bird, and eventually members of Congress debate both sides of every issue. But there are some things to which most reasonable people can and should agree. Chief among these is that the United States has a long-standing and continuing interest in preventing countries and terrorists from building nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the only way to interpret Trump’s proposed budget cuts for the State Department and the international programs they fund is that he couldn’t care less.
One of the critical investments the State Department makes is funding our obligations, and then some, to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a U.N.–affiliated agency the United States helped create in 1957. Yes, you heard a lot about the IAEA during the Iran nuclear agreement debate. You may also remember them from the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when they correctly stated Iraq had no nuclear program — warnings ignored by the previous GOP administration.
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