President Obama believes the United States needs to reallocate defense resources to foreign aid efforts around the world.
Obama: If you look at our foreign assistance as a tool in our national security portfolio, as opposed to charity, and you combine our defense budget with our diplomatic budget and our foreign assistance budget, then in that mix there's a lot more that we should be doing when it comes to helping Honduras and Guatemala build an effective criminal-justice system, effective police, and economic development that creates jobs.
Matthew Yglesias of Vox.com: So you're saying it would make sense to reallocate those resources?
Obama: Well, and part of the challenge here is just public awareness. Time and time again, when they do surveys, and they ask people what proportion of the foreign budget is spent on foreign aid, they'll say, '25 percent.' They're pretty sure all their hard-earned money that they pay in taxes is somehow going to other folks. And if we can say, it varies between 1-2 percent depending on how you define it.
And if we were to make some strategic investments in countries that really could use our help, we would then not have to deploy our military as often and we would be in a better position to work with other countries to stand down violent extremism.