Would less foreign aid take some shine off America as a “city on the hill”?

America’s lack of interest in helping to solve humanitarian disasters around the world is hurting its moral stature, said Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), and the willingness to cut foreign aid by nearly all the GOP candidates is not reassuring.

“If we look away,” from such issues, Wolf said, “we will no longer be the shining city on the hill and the country we’ve been known for.”

Wolf discussed his thoughts on America’s role on the world stage at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. while promoting his new book, “Prisoners of Conscience.” The book relates Wolf’s work and experiences in countries including Sierra Leone, Sudan and Tibet during his 31 years in office.

One of Wolf’s biggest concerns is that the government is not focusing enough on helping Americans become more informed about oppression and violence going on in other countries, leading to continued suffering amongst the people in these areas.

“The Republican Party and this administration both are sort of not looking into these issues,” Wolf said. Referring specifically to the current GOP candidates, Wolf added, “I would hope that someone would break out of the pack and begin to talk about these issues.”

Republican presidential front-runner and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney suggested earlier in the campaign that he would eliminate foreign aid, while Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has long been an opponent of such aid. Texas Governor Rick Perry said that in his administration, foreign aid for all countries would “start at zero,” with nations having to make their case for more aid. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, in contrast, has said that providing aid is “in America’s interest.”

Currently, American foreign aid comprises only one percent of the entire federal budget – but it’s money well spent, in Wolf’s eyes.

“America used to be the beacon,” he said. “And I want us to be the beacon again.”

— Amethyst Tate

Go beyond:

  • You can watch Wolf’s entire talk here.

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