Saturday, June 25, 2005

America - Why the World Needs Her

In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami disaster, America led the initial relief efforts.

The U.S. relief funds do not count the assistance provided by the U.S. military, which has 24 Navy ships, one Coast Guard vessel and about 15,000 servicemen and women involved in the relief effort. The Pentagon has estimated that it is spending about $6 million a day in those operations.

Contrast that with this:

It was Tony Blair, coming onto the scene, who then spoke to Bush and told him that that co-ordination should go through the UN and the G8. But, as the US and other core-group members had already found, the UN had no capacity to do anything or to make any difference in the short term.

It was not until 31 December that the UN had got itself sufficiently together for there to be a video-conference, involving Powell and the UN's Kofi Annan and various senior UN officials. After that, core group meetings routinely included UN representatives.

Today, Mark Steyn reports what happens when the calls for America to hand over the relief efforts to the usual suspects.

The tsunami may have been unprecedented, but what followed was business as usual, the sloth and corruption of government, the feebleness of the brand-name NGOs, the compassion-exhibitionism of the transnational jet set. If we lived in a world where "it's what you do that defines you", we'd be heaping praise on the US and Australian militaries who in the immediate hours after the tsunami struck dispatched their forces to save lives, distribute food, restore water and power and communications.

And if you really want to help, Steyn has a suggestion for you.

Whether or not it has "moral" authority, the UN certainly can't do the job. It becomes clearer every week that Western telly viewers threw far more money at tsunami relief than was required and that much of it has been siphoned off by wily customs inspectors and their ilk. If you really wanted to make an effective donation to a humanitarian organisation, you'd send your cheque to the Pentagon or the Royal Australian Navy.

Is there any thing the UN can do? It wasn't the UN that stopped Molosavich's genocide, liberated Afghanistan, liberated Iraq or emboldened the Lebanese to kick out the Syrians.

Steyn continues.

The passionate hostility of Miss Short and co to action, to getting things done, is remarkable, but understandable. Getting things done requires ships and transport planes and the like, and most Western countries lack the will to maintain armed forces capable of long-range projection. So, when disaster strikes, they can mail a cheque and hold a press conference and form a post-modern "Task Force" which doesn't have any forces and doesn't perform any tasks. In extreme circumstances, they can stage an all-star pop concert. And, because this is all most of the Western world is now capable of, "taking action" means little more than taking the approved forms of inaction.

So, instead of organizing protests outside the embassies of countries like Mugabe's, who is at this moment systematically killing his own people, Bob the Builder wants to hold yet another concert and give more money to these murdering thugs.

Where did all the money go last time? It was stolen.

The scale of the task facing Tony Blair in his drive to help Africa was laid bare yesterday when it emerged that Nigeria's past rulers stole or misused £220 billion.

That is as much as all the western aid given to Africa in almost four decades. The looting of Africa's most populous country amounted to a sum equivalent to 300 years of British aid for the continent.

The problem for the left now, is their fig leaf checkbook isn't covering very much up anymore. They may go to bed feeling all pious and righteous having given money away in an attempt to ease their concience, but the genocide will still be there in the morning.

Money is not the answer, action is. But that would mean calling on America and the left would rather eat their young than do that.

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