Thursday, September 01, 2005

Should America Accept Foreign Aid?

The Katrina disaster is far worse than most Americans could have expected. I've spent a fair amount of time in New Orleans and I remember people telling me that New Orleans in particular is vulnerable to hurricanes, but I never took it seriously. The pictures and stories coming out of the Gulf Coast are horrifying, and to many Americans, look more like stories pouring in from foreign countries struck by natural disasters than from the U.S.

Interestingly, a number of foreign governments (including Canada, France, Honduras, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom) and the United Nations have offered to assist in Katrina disaster relief. Thus far, the U.S. has been polite, but has not formally accepted any of those offers.

Obviously, few countries in the world are better positioned to aid themselves than the United States (the Senate has just approved $10.5 billion for hurricane relief), so the need for foreign aid is not exactly urgent. Moreover, the real problem in places like New Orleans seems to be the lack of order and security rather than rescue workers.

But there is something to be said for accepting foreign assistance, however, minor (and as long as it doesn't disrupt the main aid effort). Accepting help from your friends and neighbors, even if you don't need it that much, can only help remind the rest of the world that America is a gracious country. And a gracious America is a less threatening America.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/02/2005 12:25 AM  
Blogger F said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/02/2005 6:05 AM  
Blogger F said...

Katrina is a terrible catastrophe for the people of America and in particular the people of New Orleans who have been essentially abandoned by their Government. It is surely a message to the people and Government of America that poverty kills in so many ways and that the consumer-market-commercial driven country is a country that does not value its people. The real devastation in New Orleans has been caused by poverty and a lack of making facilities available for people without the resources or the mobility to save themselves. Now, instead of sending national guard in to try to reassure people, they have sent them with orders to SHOOT TO KILL. It is unbelievable. Doesn't the government understand why people might loot? Their lives have been destroyed and if a sweater makes them feel a little better and manages to keep them warm while their Government procrastinates and tries to work out how to prevent people realising that they have failed their country and electorate then all the better.

This is more than a natural disaster, it is a moral and executive disaster. Yes America should accept international aid - it clearly can't save these people itself. But this should also constitute the sign, finally, that your government is morally bankrupt and that cut-throat rat-race America should be exchanged for a country that values all people equally and understands the expereinces of the haves and the have nots.

Fiona de Londras

9/02/2005 6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. Thank you Julian.

9/02/2005 10:09 PM  
Anonymous George Morris said...

Ah, Fiona de Socialista is out again I see. "Loot, drink, be merry!" Blithering nonsense.

"The real devastation in New Orleans has been caused by poverty and a lack of making facilities available for people without the resources or the mobility to save themselves. "

No, ma'm. The problem was caused by inept city and local government -- not poverty. And looting should have been forcefully stopped immediately after it began.

>Doesn't the government understand why people might loot?

Frankly, who cares? People taking bottle water is a world away from barbarians carting off plasma tv's, trying to break into hospitals, raping woman in the superdome... Or can you not understand the difference between maintaining the patina of civilization and chaos?

As for your insipid statement that "your government is morally bankrupt and that cut-throat rat-race America should be exchanged for a country that values all people equally and understands the expereinces of the haves and the have nots."

Well, feel free to return to the worker's paradise... oh, right, communism doesn't work, and it kills millions in the process. Oh, and socialism will cease to effectively work in the EU within 15-20 years as it collapses under the weight of its entitlements.

Strap in, la bamba, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

9/02/2005 10:17 PM  
Blogger D'Amato said...

Venezuela was perhaps the first country to offer aid, and they offered aid in terms of sending people right to New Orleans to help. I haven't heard what happened to their offer. Professor Ku doesn't mention Venezuela. Given the unconscionable delay on Bush's part to send relief to New Orleans, is it possible that he turned down Venezuela's offer of immediate help for ideological reaons?

9/03/2005 1:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prof. D'Amato says... "Given the unconscionable delay on Bush's part to send relief to New Orleans, is it possible that he turned down Venezuela's offer of immediate help for ideological reaons.

The failure here was primarily on the local and state level -- both of which are now trying to pin all the blame on the feds. But, as we've come to expect, everything in your worldview is ideological.

As for our buddy Hugo, what could he conceivably offer by way of manpower that would be significant? We surely don't need his sterling economic advice, and his national oil company CITGO is meanwhile petitioning the U.S. govt for some of our strategic oil reserve to refine here in its three local refineries while Hugo badmouths the U.S. elsewhere. Nice slight of hand. (See http://tinyurl.com/durf5). Thanks, but no thanks, Hugo.

9/03/2005 2:57 AM  
Blogger F said...

George - Of course I understand the difference between looting and physical violence,and to say I equate the two is to refuse to engage productively in discussing the issues. Widespread violence such as the rapes and killings in the conference centre and elsewhere are unforgivable, but were thousands of people not stranded in one small area without food, water or hope they would not have happened.

And of course it is possible to be both humanistic and economically successful -at present the USA is neither, perhaps it's time to rethink strategy

P.S. I love the title 'Fiona de Communista' despite its inaccuracy.
P.P.S. I firmly believe the EU will still be (relatively) socialist in 15 years, but if it's not I'm off to Cuba

9/03/2005 5:06 AM  
Blogger F said...

I mean "Fiona de Socialista"

9/03/2005 5:07 AM  
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