The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Foreign aid v. Emergency relief

It is highly instructive to note that the world's free nations swung quickly into action to aid the victims of the Boxer Day Tsunamis. The U.S., France, Australia, Germany and Canada quickly announced allocations of cash and had experts and workers on planes within hours of this biblical tragedy. NGO's such as Care, Red Cross and World Concern were on the ground offering medical services, needed goods and transportation before the scale of this disaster were fully known. Private donations totaling millions of dollars began flowing to aid agencies and the region in the click of a mouse. And what is the U.N.'s reaction? U.N. emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland called the response "stingy" and suggested that we should raise taxes so more money would be available to governments when disasters struck. This is indicative of the mentality of the U.N. They seem to believe that all good things come from government and that the riches of nations belong not to its citizen's but to the world and that the U.N. is supremely capable of redistributing it as it sees fit. Last year, 40% of emergency aid was provided by the United States. That is hardly stingy and it doesn't even factor in the millions given by private donation and distributed by NGO's. This is very different then the billions that the U.S. has given in direct transfers to governments all over the world, but that aid exposes the flaw in the thinking of the U.N. P.J. O'Rourke rightly pointed out that giving foreign aid to disfunctional, undemocratic and corrupt nations is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenagers. Every year the U.S. gives Egypt 2 billion dollars in direct transfers as part of the bribe that led to the Sinai Accords that ended hostilities between Egypt and Israel. After 25 years, Egypt remains desperately poor, deeply corrupt and completely undemocratic. Our dollars keep their dictator in power and their citizens hatred of us burning. Every country that you look at; from Tanzania to Jordan, 40 years of direct transfers to governments has allowed then to avoid modernization, land reforms and political reforms. If welfare was so destructive to families that in the 1990's we virtually ended it, why does our government consider welfare for the most disfunctional nations any more rational? America should always lead in times of crisis; demonstrating our compassion and our humanity. But it is no less compassionate to insist that nations must reform and acknowledge the rights of their people and to earmark our aid to specific ends with specific conditions.
*********************************************************** has put together an excellent Tsunami information site that includes donation links, latest reports, videos and more


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