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2017 Letters to the editor stock

President Donald Trump, in his budget proposal, has said he wants to build our nation’s defenses. Yet he is once again undercutting that very priority by proposing cuts in diplomacy and development efforts.

Last year, in the face of similar proposed cuts, congressional and military leaders pointed out that part of our defense is enabling countries to build their own societies and combat extremism at its source. And even as the president asserts that we should assist only “friends,” the fact remains that broad support for development assistance is a sure way to make more friends — and undercut enemies against which our military would have to defend us.

At no more than 1 percent of our overall budget, “foreign aid” is a bargain for bolstering our diplomatic relations and proactively keeping extremism in check. Congress will be wise to once again reject deep cuts from this administration.

Oscar Lanzi, Chicago

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Local News Editor

Marc Chase is a veteran investigative reporter, columnist and editor of more than two decades. He currently leads The Times news staff as local news editor. He can be reached at 219-933-3327.