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Pakistan has had a rocky relationship with the United States in the recent past, most notably for being the country that housed Osama Bin Laden.

But the State Department recently spent tens of thousands of dollars to fund a music program in Pakistan—and it wasn’t a music program that had any effect on the international war on terror.

The program was funded with a loose and non-specific goal to “create U.S.  and Pakistani music industry ties,” and featured Todd Puckhaber, one of the senior producers at the American music festival SXSW.

According to an article in a State Department funded magazine, Puckhaber was so impressed by the caliber of some of the Pakistani musicians that he’s going to invite them to perform at the SXSW event in Texas next year.

This is all fine and good as far as these Pakistani musicians are concerned. They got their fifteen minutes of fame in front of a famous American music producer, and now they’re going to perform in the States.

But why was the State Department involved in the first place? Is it a new goal of the government to fund poor and struggling musicians from around the world and to enable them to pursue their musical careers?

The State Department is funded by American taxpayers. Though it sounds presumptuous, its purpose is to make the world safe for Americans—and that’s okay because it is funded by Americans. If the State Department were an international NGO that received funding from around the world to give back to people around the world maybe this Pakistani concert wouldn’t be an issue.

But it is an issue, because the State Department has a lot bigger fish to fry. Why are our international resources being spent to promote Pakistani musicians? I understand that they may not get the media attention that other bands do across the world. That’s sad.

But it isn’t a reason to ignore bigger problems in the world—like ISIS, for example—and use precious resources to hold a concert.

If we’re going to have a government-funded concert, let’s fund one in America, not in Pakistan, the home of America’s former number one enemy Osama Bin Laden.

But Pakistan isn’t a safe place for musicians to perform, critics of this viewpoint would say. America has a responsibility to reach out and help struggling nations.

That may be the case, but priorities have to come first in the allocation of taxpayer-funded resources. Let’s focus on the problems that affect America’s international security, and when the world is safe for America, maybe we’ll talk about funding your poor musicians.

 

 

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