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Kosovo’s armed forces are growing with the help of the U.S., a relationship that began in 1999 and has continued through aid for the military, COVID relief, and more. Three years after gaining independence from Serbia, Kosovo received its final military donation from the U.S. in the form of 55 military vehicles. The country’s Defense Minister says this gift will strengthen the Kosovo Security Force’s military capacity as they work to double their troops over a decade.
Why is the U.S. even involved? The U.S. often provides aid to countries in exchange for a prioritization of American goals in the region. This seems to be playing out well in Kosovo, regarded by some as the most pro-American country in the world. The country’s capital has boulevards named after presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, an 11-foot tall Clinton statue, and both Clinton and Hillary are popular children’s names. And even when other U.S. allies began to see America as more of a threat during the Trump era, Kosovo had a 75% approval of the Trump administration, ranking Kosovo first in the world for their view of U.S. leadership.
And all this comes at a time of increased scrutiny of American spending on defense, heightened recently through the involvement in Afghanistan and Israel (the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid). The U.S. promised $3.6 billion to Israel in 2019, all but 0.2% of which was for the military. And that same year, a major report revealed that the Afghanistan war was a failure costing the U.S. $1 trillion and 6,000 American lives.
Now the government accountability office is arguing the Department of Defense needs to better manage their spending after losing roughly $11.4 billion in payment errors in 2020. For context, the total year’s spend was $714 billion, which is expected to increase to $733 billion this year.
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Take the time to understand where and how U.S. taxpayer money is spent. While from 2019, the National Priorities Project provides clear insight and helpful visuals.
- ABC News (Where we found this story) 2 weeks old | 2 minutes long
- Time Kosovo’s U.S. obsession 3 years old | 7 minutes long
- Bush Center Why U.S. provides foreign aid 2 years old | 5 minutes long
- Balkan Insight Kosovo’s military plans 3 weeks old | 3 minutes long
- Government Accountability Office DOD’s payment errors 7 months old | 6 minutes long
- U.S. News Foreign aid to Afghanistan & Israel 4 months old | 4 minutes long
- U.S. Department of State U.S. relations with Kosovo 2 months old | 8 minutes long
- BBC More about Kosovo 5 months old | 6 minutes long
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Tanks a lot for the help!
Art Credit: Chad Racine