"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

America's Giving Again

Brandon Crocker has a good article on American aid to tsunami victims, at the American Spectator site. Although it is important to remember that America does indeed give a very large amount of money to needy people around the world, both in nominal and GDP percentage terms, Crocker notes,

"all this talk about who gives the most to poor countries misses the point. As is also true for U.S. domestic policy, the point should be the effectiveness, rather than the amount, of the spending. Much that the U.S. contributes, particularly in response to natural disasters, comes in the form of transport and logistical support courtesy of the U.S. military, direct food aid, and private contributions to organizations on the ground providing services directly to the particular community. This type of aid, ironically not counted in the OECD's calculations, is typically the most effective. Often the least effective is the type that Jan Egeland and the OECD trumpet -- direct government-to-government aid. Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Yasser Arafat's widow, Suha, grew rich on the latter form of aid, but most Haitians and Palestinians still live in squalor."

Crocker takes a look at the statistics and shows how they are deliberately manipulated by anti-Americans of various nations to make America look bad. As Crocker's evidence suggests, these arguments are never about reality but instead about creating a particular impression of the United States, for political purposes. Read it here.

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