The New York Times, the United Nations, and the rest of the American Left have it all wrong in their reaction to the nascent relief efforts for victims of the Asian tsunami. As John Podhoretz points out in his current column for the New York Post,, "The political and ideological exploitation of perhaps the worst natural disaster in all our lifetimes is almost beyond belief — were it not for the fact that nothing these days is beyond belief. Even as tears spring into the most hard-hearted person's eyes at both the unimaginable scope of the tragedy and at the wrenching individual stories of loss, opinion leaders just can't help themselves. They are using this cataclysm as little more than cheap debate fodder about the nature and character of the United States, its president and its citizens."
Podhoretz agrees that the U.S. foreign aid policy is a fit matter for debate, but he correctly points out that this is not the time for such an argument, as the disaster is not about the United States but about its multitude of victims. Absolutely. Moreover, the Left, led by the NYT, the UN, and certain vile European heads of state, are attempting to shift the issue from disaster relief to development aid, which is a different matter entirely.
Podhoretz does not mention, but should have, that the United States has always led the world in private giving, by far, and I am sure that this situation will be no different. To pretend that the United States will not do enough for disaster victims because the president is a Republican and conservative is perfectly absurd.
In my view, the U.S. (and European) Left's treatment of this issue has been disgraceful: the most cynical and brazenly opportunistic political behavior I have seen in a very long time. It is they who have brought shame on us in this matter.