H.R.608, referred to as the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” is a bill that has received little attention outside of political circles, however the implications of it could affect American policy in the Middle East for a lifetime. Introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), it prohibits Congressional Funding of groups such as ISIL, Al-Qaeda, and Al-Shabaab, along with any other groups that have been assisting these organizations.
This bill is vitally important, and a piece of common sense legislation. The United States has extended itself too much in the Middle East, and we have a long history of funding groups with an extremist ideology. A classic example could be the funding of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, who were at the time fighting the Soviet Union, but later fought the United States after we invaded Afghanistan. An isolationist foreign policy hurts us all, however we require an enforced Moral Diplomacy that prohibits covert financial aid to military groups of any kind. The United States must not be seen as a foreign aggressor in the eyes of the Muslim World like we are now, or we lose credibility in the long run in the region.
I believe that Republicans and Democrats can unite behind the idea that ISIS is an evil organization, as well as other Islamic Extremist groups in the Middle East, which is why it is a logical idea that we stop mindlessly pumping money into a volatile and corrupt region.
A consequence of the Cold War was that the US Department of State and Defense began to view the world in black and white, where you either are a Communist or you are not. The United States funded some of the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world simply because they fought against the Soviet Union.
The United States must have some kind of fiscal responsibility when financing foreign groups, whether that be in Latin America or the Middle East. There is a fine line between battling our enemies abroad by funding ideologically dubious groups or withdrawing completely, and we must toe that line in order to maintain a positive reputation abroad.
I am not advocating for cutting foreign aid, or for America to become an isolationist state, however there is a danger in overinvolvement abroad, and we must carefully study who exactly we are giving money to.