More Stinginess

Alashiya and I were trading Emails, discussing the hurricane relief efforts, when she dropped a bombshell on me. “What are all of these other countries doing to help the US victims of a natural disaster?”

Huh! Good question. It could very well be that there’s some sort of relief effort being organized in another country, but I can’t seem to find any mention of it in the news.

I mean, the people of the United States have always been generous when innocent people from foreign countries need help. You can trace this back to the Berlin Airlift, the opening salvo of the Cold War, and we’ve been going strong ever since. So now that Americans are hurting, why doesn’t someone step up and make an offer of help?

It’s certainly become fashionable in recent years to claim that Americans aren’t doing their share when it comes to aid. I’m waiting for those same critics to rip the rest of the world a new one.

13 thoughts on “More Stinginess”

  1. The United States, of course, has more resources and a much better organized disaster response to deal with a disaster of such proportions than, say, the countries that were devastated by the tsunami last December. According to the spokespeople of the German Red Cross and the German Christian relief organization Caritas, there have not been any requests by the United States for their help. Says the Caritas spokeswoman: “Of course, if they asked us to come in, we would. But that is not the case so far.”
    It should be hoped, however, that those involved in organizing the U.S. disaster response have been informed that this help is available if required.

  2. In terms of private donations to charity, I think one attitude which will be common elsewhere in the world is, “America is the richest nation on earth. Why do they need donations?”

  3. It’s best to wait, I suppose, to see what turns up, and what help is eventually offered. But one really must wonder whether the nanny statism in much of the West has simply rendered their people impotent.

    They may no longer be able to even conceive of an individualistic response (i.e. charity), but must look to the government to act and direct them at all times. And save for Britain perhaps, their governments simply despise us, I suppose.

    We have been, and remain, truly on our own. It’s a thought I will keep close in mind in the future.

  4. Despite the scope of the disaster, we can deal with it with our own resources. There is no actual need for outside assistance, except in a few specialized areas of expertise. For example, how could fresh water supplies arrive from Europe more quickly than we can deliver them from the US? But if the Dutch want to send us some engineers, that would be very welcome.

    The situation in the Nicobar Islands and Thailand was quite different. They had no other effective resources they could divert to emergency uses.

  5. I have heard that 12 countries have offered aid. Right now we have to get the situation under control and figure out where to start. We are going to need a lot of people with special skills. Our friends will help, our enemies will blame us and our failure to ratify Kyoto. Has anyone heard if the Palistinians are dancing in the streets like they did on Sept 11?

  6. Perhaps some other nations could just regift aid packages from the US that they haven’t gotten around to unpacking yet?

  7. It looks like the “traditional allies” are very willing now to offer help. How much of that is altruism and how much is self serving is certainly a matter for discussion.

    If any of them didn’t come through now, I think that would be the last nail in the coffin of any feelings of friendship that Americans might feel for them. If they didn’t come through for us now, Americans would definitely remember.

  8. I don’t really expect much actually, so I don’t think it would be anything than business as usual if there really wasn’t anything in the way of aid. I don’t know but has the US ever really been the recipient of any significant foreign disaster aid in modern times? I don’t really know how I feel about us getting it anyway. I figure we can take care of ourselves, so we shouldn’t really take it, but the offer would be nice.

    I am watching/reading the news as I write this and I can’t help but feel sickened by the general message I hear coming out of many pundits on Katrina…in effect I hear something like: “This emergency was so poorly mismsanaged by Bush himself and his cronies that how could citizens of New Orleans be expected NOT to shoot at police, rape each other, kill each other, and loot sportswear, electronics and other non essentials?”

  9. From

    Australia on Friday said it would donate A$10 million (US$7.7 million) immediately to the American Red Cross as well as sending a team of emergency management specialists to identify what other help could be offered and providing services where most needed.

    Japan donated $200,000 to the Red Cross and would also provide up to $300,000 in aid supplies such as tents and power generators, The Associated Press quoted officials as saying.

    The European Union said it was ready to offer any assistance in the wake of “what is perhaps the greatest civil emergency in U.S. history.”

    Several countries had already been approached by the U.S. to release oil reserves and would do what they could, EU security affairs chief Javier Solana said on Britain’s Sky News network, AP reported.

    NATO said help was available but it would need to know more about what could be needed.

  10. NPR just said Venzuela was offering oil. Some of this is pretty heartening, given just how thin the veneer of civilization seems when stories come out of New Orleans.

  11. I’m certainly encouraged by the response, though the harping about how the disaster “has exposed flaws and deep divisions in American society” is rather tiresome.

    My position pretty much mirrors Steven’s. It’s times like these when you find out who’s an ally, and who’s an enemy hiding behind a smile. It’s nice to see that there’s a number of governments out there willing to walk the walk.

    Ginny said…..

    “Some of this is pretty heartening, given just how thin the veneer of civilization seems when stories come out of New Orleans.”

    I used to work in law enforcement. Not only am I not surprised, I could have predicted what would happen if I had known the scale of destruction beforehand. What we’re seeing are people acting out their true natures without the restraint of civil authority, nothing more.


  12. By Friday, a number of countries had offered help, according to the State Department, as reported by CNN: Australia, Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, China, Columbia, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

    Bush had initially rejected the need for help from abroad, saying on ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “”I’m not expecting much from foreign nations because we hadn’t asked for it. I do expect a lot of sympathy and perhaps some will send cash dollars. But this country’s going to rise up and take care of it.”

    Now, however, the State Department is apparently examining which offers should be accepted, according to a press briefing by Condoleezza Rice on Friday.

Comments are closed.