While I imagine the headlines will be filled with tales of Haiti, from some individual tidbits to get your attention to tales of woe about its unlucky history, perhaps blaming outsiders, it’s time for a bit of realism. First of all, let me be clear that I see the problem from two different perspectives, both of which, by their nature, will lead to different solutions. First is the human or small picture perspective. The earthquake devastated a country already in the 7th level of hell. The human cost is horrifying. Based on on a more human focused and sympathetic understanding, one would want to immediately send aid in the form of money, material and people.
However, the second more big picture perspective, acknowledges that somethign truly awful did occur but widens its view to more than the last two days. Haiti has consistently been the worst place in the Western Hemisphere in every way for decades, if not longer. While the earthquake did do unparalleled damage, one has to honestly admit it won’t make that much of a difference in the long run. The country’s only period of relative success was in the early 1900s when it was run by the US Marines Corps. Before and after, it has remained in squalor and rife with horrific violence.
While I’m certain it’s politically unfeasible at the moment, the government should seriously consider how much taxpayer money and taxpayer funded services (in the form of material, military help) it should give. We have far more pressing problems at the moment and the government has no business wasting Americans’ money on a tiny country of no value to us that has essentially no chance of recovery. Private charity should be encouraged and commended, but the USG simply has nothing to gain from expending resources in Haiti, especially relative to our other interests at home and abroad.
I’m well aware this idea will be met with disagreement and even outrage by some. However, I believe that if we have learned anything from the past year, then it is to start crafting and carrying out US policy with the realization that we have limited resources and should begin to act like it. Too many people operate on the assumption that every world event somehow involves or needs to involve the US. But that’s something I’ll be addressing soon.