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English Horn
Let me start off by saying that on individual basis I think Americans are incredibly generous - one of the most generous people in the world. I am always amazed how much is being donated by common folks to various charities, funds, etc.

However, some UN officials criticized the United States and other Western nations for being too "stingy" when it comes to providing relief to nations struck by natural disasters such as tsunami in Southeast Asia. Critics are quick to point out that all the aid pledged to Southeast Asia by United States is less less than the country spends in a single hour in Iraq.

QUOTE
As the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, answered the critics, the Bush Administration announced it would more than double its aid package to $US35million ($45million) and indicated more was on the way.

"The US is not stingy," said an indignant Mr Powell. "We are the greatest contributor to international relief efforts in the world."

The Government initially said it would give $US15million in aid, an amount considered paltry given the scale of the disaster.

Critics noted that the US was giving less than the cost of a F-16 fighter plane.


As for other nations, Australia pledged $US 35 million; Japan donated $US 30 million; in contrast, France has so far pledged just $170,000, plus a plane with 100 medical personnel and relief workers on board.
And, according to CNN,

QUOTE
The U.S. government is always near the top in total humanitarian aid dollars -- even before private donations are counted -- but it finishes near the bottom of the list of rich countries when that money is compared to gross national product.


Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?
Do we deserve the "stingy" slur?
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Mrs. Pigpen
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid? "Enough" is relative. I think so. Certainly western countries are the most generous humanitarian aid givers in the world (aside from Japan), whether it's "enough" or not. Private US donations, BTW, are not stingy. US citizens donate over three times the amount of private aid as the US government (already the largest dollar amount of any country). While the rest of the world tends to give through government, we give through the private sector. Our colleges alone offer more in scholarships to foreign students than Australia gives in total foreign assistance. Bill Gates has set up a charity fund with 24 billion in reserves, of which he has donated about 4 billion so far to third world countries (if memory serves).

I think an F16 (depends on the model) costs 25-30 million, so we are giving more than that (35 million). Of course, from my viewpoint we are able to give because we have that protection, and other countries are able to give because we have continued to offer that protection. And they have saved their dollars relying on that defense.

I'll say right now, I think we should donate more for the tsunami...and I believe we will.
yehoshua
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?Do we deserve the "stingy" slur?

This is just more proof of how ineffective the UN truly is. The more people see UN Officials, like Jan Egeland from Norwegian, attack the US for not suppling all the aid(because that is truly what Egeland is after) the more people will see that the UN is nothing more then a debating society and fails at everything it attempts (Palenstine, Rwanda, Haiti, ect.).

To start, the $15 million original stems from "What we have to do is make a careful assessment of what is needed. We have given $4 million right away to the International Federation of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, another $10 million, which with other funds, brings it up to 15..." According to Powell on NBC's Today show. In addition to the $15 million, Powell explained on CBS's Early Show, "we have nine P-3 reconnaissance planes on the way, another dozen C-130s are on the way with relief supplies, and so we will be making an assessment as the days go by to see what the need really is and we will adjust our plans accordingly. But this was an initial infusion of money to join the international relief effort.” So not only are we sending money but we are also there helping the local authorities.

With the promise of more aid, why complain? Well I think it is due to lack of understanding of the American system. Egeland explained all America has to do is raise taxes. But that is not it, Congress has to approve the funds, and Congress is not in session at this time. The President can approve limited emergency funds, but I believe he is at his max. And who is going to pay for the P-3s and C-130s and the pilots and crew and housing them and feeding them? The UN? Nope, the US. I think it is official that the UN has once again stuck it's foot in it's mouth. Good job world leaders!

All quotes come from: The Telegraph.
Cyan
QUOTE(English Horn @ Dec 29 2004, 08:58 AM)
However, some UN officials criticized the United States and other Western nations for being too "stingy" when it comes to providing relief to nations struck by natural disasters such as tsunami in Southeast Asia. Critics are quick to point out that all the aid pledged to Southeast Asia by United States is less less than the country spends in a single hour in Iraq.


First of all, I think that the manner in which the criticism was given was quite tacky, particularly given the fact that the US government was pledging money to assist with the disaster and that the money being pledged merely represented the beginning of the funds that will undoubtedly be given to help.

Criticism can be a good thing, but this was not a constructive way to give it. A little bit of appreciation for what is given can go much further.

QUOTE(English Horn)
The Government initially said it would give $US15million in aid, an amount considered paltry given the scale of the disaster.

Critics noted that the US was giving less than the cost of a F-16 fighter plane.


The US initially pledged this amount and sent supplies. This does not mean that it will not send more. It just seems polite to be appreciative of what is being sent before condemning the U.S. for not sending enough. This is what irks me, and I understand that the UN representative who made the statement has now retracted it and says that his statements were misinterpreted. I can accept that, but it just struck me in a negative way.

I have no doubt that we could do more, and I would like to see more humanitarian aid being given, but I think it's fellacious to say that the U.S. is stingy compared to the rest of the world. We do give large sums of money to help.

This idea of basing donations on the GNP doesn't make sense to me, because it's based on gross dollars without considering any of the expenses. unsure.gif
Aquilla
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?
Do we deserve the "stingy" slur?



As Mrs P indicated, much of the humanitarian aid from the US in general comes from the private sector and may not be factored in when people start putting numbers of dollars out there. But, when it comes to disaster relief specifically, I don't think anyone can call the US "stingy". We provide more than just money in those circumstances, we also provide expertise and human resources. And, we are usually among the first on the scene when a disaster strikes. For example, after the Kobe earthquake in Japan, the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Search and Rescue Teams were assembled at Van Nuys airport ready to deploy on board California Air National Guard C-130's to Japan within hours. Following the earthquakes in Armenia, Flying Tigers Air Cargo was filling up 3 of their 747's with food and medicine donated by the people in Southern California to aid the victims. Following the Chernobyl disaster doctors at UCLA, world experts in radiation poisoning and cancer flew to the Soviet Union to assist in treating the victims there. I don't know how you put a dollar figure on that. One of my good friends here in LA is a reconstructive surgeon who can make millions of dollars doing nose and boob jobs in Beverly Hills, but he spends at least 3 months every year in Central and South America operating on children with cleft palates and other physical deformities as part of the Doctors without Borders program. I don't know what that's worth in cash, but quite a lot I'd think.

So no, we're not "stingy".
maxsg
The movie the Polar Express cost an estimated 170 million dollars to make.
Oliver Stone's Alexander cost 150 million. An article in the Christian Science Monitor (2001) said that American's spend 450 million dollars on movie popcorn in one summer. This administration offers to send 35 million dollars (double the original offer) for the greatest natural disaster in human history. We are spending 177 dollars a day in Iraq, and Bush's inauguration ceremony will cost 40 million in private funds. Something is wrong here.
doomed_planet
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?

The quote at the bottom of my post is a good answer to such a question.
I think Americans, by and large, are of the most compassionate people
in the world. That is partly because we have the means. Yet, we are also
a country filled with people of all cultures, and that lends itself to a greater
feeling of global responsibility.

Do we deserve the "stingy" slur?

That's a relative term. By my standards, we are not a stingy country.
Cyan
QUOTE(maxsg @ Dec 29 2004, 11:30 AM)
The movie the Polar Express cost an estimated 170 million dollars to make.
Oliver Stone's Alexander cost 150 million. An article in the Christian Science Monitor (2001) said that American's spend 450 million dollars on movie popcorn in one summer.  This administration offers to send 35 million dollars (double the original offer) for the greatest natural disaster in human history.  We are spending 177 dollars a day in Iraq, and Bush's inauguration ceremony will cost 40 million in private funds.  Something is wrong here.
*



The administration did not pay for the making of the Polar Express or Oliver Stone's Alexander nor did they spend any money on movie popcorn. Individuals did, and individuals also donated large sums of money to charity.

From a CNN article

QUOTE
Americans last year gave an estimated $241 billion to charitable causes -- domestic and foreign -- according to a study by Giving USA Foundation. That's up from $234 billion in 2002. The foundation did not break down how much was for domestic causes and how much for foreign.


What the U.S. government did pay for was a large amount of developmental assistance. The article goes on to say:

QUOTE
The United States uses the most common measure of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 30 rich nations that counts development aid.

By that measure, the United States spent almost $15.8 billion for "official development assistance" to developing countries in 2003. Next closest was Japan, at $8.9 billion.

That doesn't include billions more the United States spends in other areas such as AIDS and HIV programs and other U.N. assistance.


I have no doubt that we could do more, but I believe that it's wrong to belittle our contributions.
2ndwind
As a nation, the USA gives and gives and gives...............the private sector even gives more. I'd say consider the source of the comment (from a UN member) and ignore it. Rarely does anything get better when the UN gets involved...... so are we going to listen to a loser telling us how to win???

And comparing how much aid we give to the amount we spend on popcorn isn't exactly the best analogy. It's like eating all the food on your plate because there are starving people in China. When do we stop buying popcorn so we can bring the amount we anticipate the world will need up to some certain figure? When do you go up to a movie producer or a movie star and tell them they've exceeded the money they are allowed to make because there is suffering in the world?

How many people did Saddam and his sons kill over the last 10 years while the world stood by and did nothing? Or do you have to have people just killed in a disaster to qualify for help?

The USA and it's many people and organizations will exceed anything any other country will do in the up coming days, months and years......count on it!
English Horn
QUOTE(Cyan @ Dec 29 2004, 02:10 PM)
This idea of basing donations on the GNP doesn't make sense to me, because it's based on gross dollars without considering any of the expenses.


That's exactly the point - we spend such an outrageous amount on military expenditures that the amount we allocate for humanitarian disaster relief seems paltry when compared to the certain items on a military budget (one day in Iraq, F-16, etc.)

QUOTE
The USA and it's many people and organizations will exceed anything any other country will do in the up coming days, months and years......count on it!


When we measure donations, we have to measure it against certain "yardstick" - we can not simply compare our contribution head-to-head to contributions from France (which to this point contributed embarrasing $170,000), Australia, Norway, or Sweden. Of course USA's contributions will exceed all other countries - we are the most populous among the wealthiest nations. What really matters is how large is "the slice of the pie" compared to the pie.
$200 donated by Joe the Plumber may be a more generous donation that $10,000 donated by CEO of Amazon.

QUOTE
How many people did Saddam and his sons kill over the last 10 years while the world stood by and did nothing? Or do you have to have people just killed in a disaster to qualify for help?


I hope you're not suggesting that we are in Iraq on humanitarian mission? rolleyes.gif Totally selfless one, too. As bad as it was during Saddam, it wasn't nearly as bad as it is now, with daily suicide bombings against civilian population, explosions, total lawnessness, and, essentially, civil war. Maybe that's why the world stood by and did nothing...
Google
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(English Horn @ Dec 29 2004, 01:18 PM)
$200 donated by Joe the Plumber may be a more generous donation that $10,000 donated by CEO of Amazon.
*


Maybe to Jesus Christ, but if I was starving or had just suffered a major catastrophe, the 10,000 dollar donation would mean more to me.

...Again, you might disagree with our military spending, but there aren't many wealthy nations of Christmases past (or present, for that matter) that weren't well defended.
yehoshua
QUOTE(English Horn @ Dec 29 2004, 01:18 PM)
...we spend such an outrageous amount on military expenditures that the amount we allocate for humanitarian disaster relief seems paltry when compared to the certain items on a military budget (one day in Iraq, F-16, etc.)
Who do you think is paying for the P-3 or the C130s that are resucing people right now? Where does the money for providing the military and the crew and the food and the housing suppose to come from if not from the military fund?
Eeyore
This is one of those interesting questions that can be answered both ways.

QUOTE
USA's aid, in terms of percentage of their GNP is already lowest of any industrialized nation in the world, though paradoxically in the last three years, their dollar amount has been the highest.


QUOTE
As discussed further below, the government spending has tied agendas that has often been detrimental to the recipient. Private aid/donation in contrast has been through charity on individual people and organizations though this of course can be weighted to certain interests and areas. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note for example, per latest estimates, Americans privately give at least $34 billion overseas -- more than three times U.S. official foreign aid of $10 billion.


These quotes come from this sitesite that is a treasure trove of statistics on this issue.

And this graphic reflects the government that pays the most dollars in the world in aid, but pays a low amount in terms of GDP.

Link

QUOTE
Posted Today, 12:18 PM
by Yehoshua

This is just more proof of how ineffective the UN truly is. The more people see UN Officials, like Jan Egeland from Norwegian, attack the US for not suppling all the aid(because that is truly what Egeland is after) the more people will see that the UN is nothing more then a debating society and fails at everything it attempts (Palenstine, Rwanda, Haiti, ect.).


Sometimes calling back on the United Nations as a whipping poster child of ineffectiveness is a cliche. At its worst it reflects an ignorance about what the United Nations does.

I think there are several areas that the United Nations is extremely effective in its functions. And the area of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief is one of those. I would go so far as to say that relief for the victims of the tsunami could not be effectively delivered if the United Nations did not exist. It is far from a debating society on this issue.

Here are the many ways that the United Nations is going to help with the relief of the tsunami

http://www.unisdr.org/
UNCHR
ReliefWeb
The World Health Organization
OCHA
UNICEF
UNDAC

I think the world should look to the United States in leading relief efforts. I think the world also should acknowledge that much of our assistance comes from private donations. I see that Google as a link to donations on its front page. I think the response of our citizens and our government is going to be wonderful.
Hobbes
QUOTE
That's exactly the point - we spend such an outrageous amount on military expenditures that the amount we allocate for humanitarian disaster relief seems paltry when compared to the certain items on a military budget (one day in Iraq, F-16, etc.)


Ahhh, but does it? Note the amounts given to charitable institutions cited by Cyan...$241 billion. Factor in the aid also distributed through the government, and the amounts are surprisingly similar. Unless you're making the suggestion that what we spend on our military is also paltry?

This is also why statistics such as those at Eeyore puts forth must be taken with a grain of salt. Much of the foreign aid contributed in disasters such as these doesn't come from our government at all...it comes from charitable institutions. Given the similarity of this amount to the size of our military expenditure, which dwarfs other countries on a per capita basis, I think it easy to say that we do indeed give more than any other country on earth, even by % of GDP. (unfortunately, however, I have not been able to find any data to either prove or disprove this.)

Therefore, I find it interesting that while we are oft criticized for our efforts in these areas, we are seldom complimented, despite the fact that we are almost always the largest donor. It would be quite interesting to find out which countries the UN officials were from, and compare contributions to relief efforts. I highly doubt the officials would like what they would see.
Eeyore
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Dec 29 2004, 06:35 PM)

This is also why statistics such as those at Eeyore puts forth must be taken with a grain of salt. Much of the foreign aid contributed in disasters such as these doesn't come from our government at all...it comes from charitable institutions. Given the similarity of this amount to the size of our military expenditure, which dwarfs other countries on a per capita basis, I think it easy to say that we do indeed give more than any other country on earth, even by % of GDP. (unfortunately, however, I have not been able to find any data to either prove or disprove this.)
*



Grain of salt? I think I provided the quotation that pointed out the amount of foreign aid provided by US citizens in a quote. The combined relief amount would probably not be the highest percentage of GDP.

Also, a critical official sited above was Jan Egeland of Norway. Per my graph link above Norway gave 2.04 billion in aid which amounted to .92% of GDP, the highest amount the listed countries on that chart.
English Horn
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Dec 29 2004, 06:35 PM)
QUOTE
That's exactly the point - we spend such an outrageous amount on military expenditures that the amount we allocate for humanitarian disaster relief seems paltry when compared to the certain items on a military budget (one day in Iraq, F-16, etc.)


Ahhh, but does it? Note the amounts given to charitable institutions cited by Cyan...$241 billion. Factor in the aid also distributed through the government, and the amounts are surprisingly similar. Unless you're making the suggestion that what we spend on our military is also paltry?


But then we have to assume that the people of other Western nations such as Norway, Sweden, etc. do not make donations to private organizations and funds such as Red Cross, Medecins sans Frontiers, etc.
I would estimate that people across industrialized nations contribute approximately the same amount to charitable and humanitarian causes. I have absolutely no reasons to believe that on individual basis American people contribute less than others - if anything they contribute more. It's the government policy I have the beef with.
Bill55AZ
Another opportunity for the America haters to spew forth their stupidity.
Our initial contribution is just that, initial. The total spent will be a lot more, and at this point no one can know the full extent of the tragedy, much less the final cost to help get the victims back on their feet.
What gripes me is the Hate America groups without, and the self haters within. Can't they wait til there is proof of our so-called stinginess? And I don't agree that we have to measure our contributions against any kind of yard stick. A lot of countries don't have to spend so much on their military simply because we do. And what has the cost of an F-16 got to do with it?
I am sure that SOME will find a way to blame GWB for the "delays" involved.
And I am also sure that most of them have no idea how long it takes to get ships to those in need. Airplanes have no close place to land, and can't carry the many tons of equipment and supplies that are needed. All the planes can do is bring in the initial response items.
GWB isn't my favorite president at times, but lets give him some time and have a real reason before we jump down his throat.
Aquilla
QUOTE(English Horn @ Dec 29 2004, 04:58 PM)
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Dec 29 2004, 06:35 PM)
QUOTE
That's exactly the point - we spend such an outrageous amount on military expenditures that the amount we allocate for humanitarian disaster relief seems paltry when compared to the certain items on a military budget (one day in Iraq, F-16, etc.)


Ahhh, but does it? Note the amounts given to charitable institutions cited by Cyan...$241 billion. Factor in the aid also distributed through the government, and the amounts are surprisingly similar. Unless you're making the suggestion that what we spend on our military is also paltry?


But then we have to assume that the people of other Western nations such as Norway, Sweden, etc. do not make donations to private organizations and funds such as Red Cross, Medecins sans Frontiers, etc.
I would estimate that people across industrialized nations contribute approximately the same amount to charitable and humanitarian causes. I have absolutely no reasons to believe that on individual basis American people contribute less than others - if anything they contribute more. It's the government policy I have the beef with.
*



At the risk of being accused over over-generalization here, I think this statement is a classic illustration of the differences in philosophy between the American right and American left, and perhaps the left in general. In situations like a natural disaster, as a conservative I tend to look to the government for immediate short term emergency assistance, but in the long run recovery from the disaster must come from the private sector. Such a recovery is far too lengthy and expensive for a governmental entity of any kind to sustain. The same is true with humanitarian efforts both within the US and around the world. While governments may establish programs with grants of money that last a few years, private organizations lend support and resources for the long term because that's what they do.

I've seen this up close and personal. I was living in Simi Valley, California when the 1994 Northridge quake hit and literally leveled parts of my community. To be sure the federal, state and local governments did bit a lot in the form of emergency assistance and the American Red Cross was terrific, but that community was really re-built by the people living there with funds from the private sector.
Cyan
Now, I am disappointed. I want to thank Wertz for pointing this out to me.

From ABC News

QUOTE
Describing the $20 million as a "line of credit," Ereli said the money will be made available to countries devastated by the most powerful earthquake in 40 years. This new total of $35 million is bound to be increased, he said.


A line of credit after a gift of only $15 million when other countries are pledging more than that? I hope that this situation will change, but at this moment, I am not at all pleased.
Mrs. Pigpen
I think the term "line of credit" doesn't refer to the amount as a loan, but was an attempt to explain that it is categorized as non-specific funding. A line of credit to be drawn from, at the discretion of the missions and humanitarian groups. Channelnewsasia
QUOTE
Ereli said the latest assistance was akin to a line of credit to be disbursed to US missions and humanitarian groups dealing with the tidal waves triggered Sunday by a mammoth earthquake off of Indonesia.

"Here's money available to be drawn upon to get equipment, to develop capacity, to provide supplies and relief to the people in need as those needs are identified," he told reporters here.
Hobbes
QUOTE(English Horn @ Dec 29 2004, 06:58 PM)
But then we have to assume that the people of other Western nations such as Norway, Sweden, etc. do not make donations to private organizations and funds such as Red Cross, Medecins sans Frontiers, etc.
I would estimate that people across industrialized nations contribute approximately the same amount to charitable and humanitarian causes. I have absolutely no reasons to believe that on individual basis American people contribute less than others - if anything they contribute more. It's the government policy I have the beef with.
*



Why would you estimate that? I can see good reasons they would not...they place a much higher reliance on their government to take care of such issues for them. Further, they are taxed at a far higher rate, leaving much less disposable income for them to contribute to private institutions.

QUOTE(Eeyore)
I think I provided the quotation that pointed out the amount of foreign aid provided by US citizens in a quote. The combined relief amount would probably not be the highest percentage of GDP.


Yes, indeed it did, at least to a point...sorry, I missed it earlier. The amount descrived there amount to some 3.5 times the contribution of the government. When added to the governmental contribution, this would not have made the U.S. the highest contributor as a % of GDP...but it would have come much closer. That mark is currently held by Norway, at 0.92%. Factoring in private contributions, the US amount would come out to about 0.63%, placing us about 5th on the list. However, if you look at the specific contributions listed, you can see that there is still probably a lot of undisclosed aid.

QUOTE
International giving by U.S. foundations totals $1.5 billion per year
Charitable giving by U.S. businesses now comes to at least $2.8 billion annually
American NGOs gave over $6.6 billion in grants, goods and volunteers.
Religious overseas ministries contribute $3.4 billion, including health care, literacy training, relief and development.
$1.3 billion by U.S. colleges are given in scholarships to foreign students
Personal remittances from the U.S. to developing countries came to $18 billion in 2000


This list doesn't include, as far as I can tell, aid given for exactly the type of situation discussed in this thread..disasters. Things such as giving to International Red Cross, or other relief organizations seems to be missing. Ditto for contributions to religious organizations which also send aid in such situations. Already, the International Relief Fund, part of the IRC, has received some $18 million, surpassing the contributions from the government.

Also, the specific foreign aid cited in the article would be missing a lot of money that the U.S. spends on other types of foreign aid not specifically included in the ODA statistics. This is countered, as the article does point out, by the fact that much of this aid is indeed tied in with foreign policy objectives.

The article does indicate that it is difficult to find any such figures for other countries.

QUOTE
Source: Dr. Carol Aderman, Aid and Comfort, Tech Central Station, 21 August 2002. (Aderman admits that there are no complete figures for international private giving. Hence these numbers may be taken in caution, but even with caution, these are high numbers.)
(Unfortunately I have found it very difficult to find comparative figures for private donations from other regions.)


I propose that this is due, at least partly, because such donations aren't nearly as large in foreign countries as they are here...else someone would compile the statistics. However, whether the U.S. is the highest donor or not is not really the question....its whether we deserve to be labeled stingy. I think the statistics clearly show we are not.
loreng59
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?The United States supplies a lot of aid in other forms than just money. Our use of military equipment, such as ships and aircraft provide enormous service to many nations. The cost of that equipment and personnel is rarely factored into the equation. The cost to maintain that equipment and personnel should be factored as well, but sadly is not.

Right now our military is stretched to it's limit and so that equipment is not as readily available as it has been in the past. I believe that the president pledged the entire amount of aid that had not be allocated yet. So he gave what was there and will ask for more.

My question is where are the oil rich nations? So far they have pledged not a single cent. Is the West and Japan the only nations on earth? Why is it that some of wealthiest nations are contributing nothing at all? Nor do they pay anywhere near their share of the UN budget, yet nobody ever says anything about that.

Have done some more research, Saudi Arabia has pledged $10 million, one quarter of Canada's contribution. So I am correcting myself, though I feel that is a mighty poor showing, especially considering the number of Muslims affected.

Do we deserve the "stingy" slurNope, I think the term sucker might be better applied than stingy.
Dontreadonme
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?
Gee, thanks loreng59, you stole all of the fire I was getting ready to post about our military (Navy in particular) helping in the afflicted areas. shifty.gif I could be mistaken, but I don't believe there is another country that has a carrier task force in the area, providing aircraft, manpower, medical aid, electricity, food and fuel.

Humanitarian aid cannot be measured in dollars alone. And to take a probably unpopular position......we are not required to give any aid at all. It's getting a little stale for people to continue harping about our supposed obligation to give tax money.I don't mind giving money to the nations that lost so much, but to call us stingy is a gross mis-statement. Far too much of my tax dollars go off shore as it is, but to then be criticized (as a nation) doesn't exactly endear me to give additional private money in aid.
Julian
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?

Taken across the board - i.e., Western nautions in general - and empirically, I would say no - a third of the world's population STILL has no clean drinking water, despite estimates by some charities and aid organisations that $10bn would permanently solve this problem. That's a lot of money in absolute terms, but pocket change compared to some of the questionable things Western governments do spend money on.

Do we deserve the "stingy" slur?
The UN official who used the terms "stingy" was, I imagine, speaking more with his heart than his head - he must have realised with hindsight that he will have alienated at least some of the private donor who will eventually make up the bulk of American donors, just becasue of the structure of American government and society.

However, unlike some here, I can't see how using anything other than % of GDP as the yardstick of "generosity" is sensible. As has been mentioned, the measurement of generosity is how much you can afford to give -

So, while of course America is the largest single donor - it is the largest single economy and one of the the richest countries in GDP per capita - yet still, even taking into account all the private vs public and indirect vs direct humanitarian aid routes, it ranks well below other (often rather poorer) countries. While many people are privately much more generous than anyone could reasonably expect, the overall picture cannot mean anything except that they are out-numbered by people who will give nothing at all except what they are forced to give through taxation.

"Stingy" may not be a particularly good choice of words, but from this point of view it certainly sums things up.

Oh, and one aside - in the initial media coverage here in the UK, a few seisomologists and policy makers indicated that the governments of the countries worst affected were partly to blame for the extent of the devastation (even before it started to become clear quite what that extent might be) because they hadn't put a tsunami monitoring service in place, as there was in the Pacific.

DUH! Which countries border the Pacific? Japan, Canada, the USA, Australia & New Zealand - some of the richest and/or most developed countries in the world. Even if we exclude relatively poor countries like Mexico or Vietnam, these rich countries would likely set up such a monitor for themselves anyway, and would have the resources and expertise to do so. Would we seriously expect Japan or the USA to set up such a monitoring service and then not tell their poorer neighbours because they hadn't stumped up their share of the cash?
Which countries border the Indian Ocean? Nobody with that kind of cash, that's for sure. Only a short time ago the governments in the area ruled out such a monitor because it would have been too expensive.


However, I think we in the rich West should really change the way we think abut international aid. We should be spending less money overall on projects and more on assistance that might mean disasters such as this are less expensive. The money we end up spending on clearing up the mess from the Sumatran tsunamis over the next decade (and it willl probably take that long in some areas) would have paid several times over for a tsunami warning system that might have minimised the damage.

It's as if we secretly revel in disaster relief as some sort of international competition, we'd rather spend $300 tomorrow to show how generous and wonderful we are than spend $30 today to show how smart and far-sighted we are.

This is a wider issue - the arenas of international trade (e.g. subsidies and overproduction) and monetary policies (e.g. interest payments, defecits, etc.) have a big impact, where again we'd rather leave ourselves open to the risk of spending more money than necessary tomorrow to save ourselves comparatively far less money today.
Ultimatejoe
QUOTE
I could be mistaken, but I don't believe there is another country that has a carrier task force in the area, providing aircraft, manpower, medical aid, electricity, food and fuel.


Well you'd be wrong, sort of. There are two Pakistani vessels naval vessels (don't think they're aircraft carriers though) assisting the islands that they were stationed at. Nice try though...

Pakistani Navy assisting in tsunami relief
Bill55AZ
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Dec 30 2004, 04:59 PM)
QUOTE
I could be mistaken, but I don't believe there is another country that has a carrier task force in the area, providing aircraft, manpower, medical aid, electricity, food and fuel.


Well you'd be wrong, sort of. There are two Pakistani vessels naval vessels (don't think they're aircraft carriers though) assisting the islands that they were stationed at. Nice try though...

Pakistani Navy assisting in tsunami relief
*



This post would sound a lot better without the "Nice Try" comment. Sounds like you want to come off as having a superior opinion, but you must not know much about naval vessels. 2 small Pakistani ships are hardly in a position to do much compared to a carrier task force, which was the point being made. Carriers carry tons of food and fuel, and have the capacity to produce a LOT of fresh water. There will also be major medical facilities on board. Manpower is in the 5 to 6 thousand range. A carrier is like a floating city. The smallest of its escort vessels will likely be larger than the Pakistani ships.
The problem for a carrier, tho, might be finding a deep water dock to tie up to to make the delivery easier. They will probably have to stand off and make deliveries with helicopters. And, given the area of damage is spread out over an area about as large as our entire country, it will take a lot more ships as well time and effort before a dent is made in this tragedy. Each day brings to light more information that makes it obvious that initial reports, tho horrific, were just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Dontreadonme
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Dec 30 2004, 10:59 AM)
  
QUOTE
I could be mistaken, but I don't believe there is another country that has a carrier task force in the area, providing aircraft, manpower, medical aid, electricity, food and fuel.


Well you'd be wrong, sort of. There are two Pakistani vessels naval vessels (don't think they're aircraft carriers though) assisting the islands that they were stationed at. Nice try though...

Pakistani Navy assisting in tsunami relief
*




Nice try??? Oooooh I must have been burned......how could I have overlooked the two Pakistani navy ships. blink.gif
You forgot the Indian Navy ships, and a couple from Japan. My point was they do not in their entirety equal a carrier task force and an amphibious assault force that are on their way or already in the region. With their contingents of Marines to boot.
QUOTE
The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, along with four ships accompanying it, was sent to the region from Hong Kong, while the helicopter carrier USS Bonhomme Richard, along with the five ships and one submarine accompanying it, was diverted to the region from Guam, officials said. 
 
The Pentagon said Thailand has given the U.S. military permission to use a Thai military base as a staging area for aircraft, forensic experts and other relief assistance. Lt. Col. Bill Bigelow, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said U.S. military personnel were heading to Thailand to set up a command and control structure. 
 
Bigelow said the United States was providing nine P-3 Orion long-range maritime surveillance aircraft for search efforts, and at least six C-130 Hercules cargo planes were being loaded with relief supplies. Three U.S. military teams of 10-15 people apiece were going to Sri Lanka, Thailand and possibly Indonesia to assess relief needs on the ground, officials said.

Link

My assertion remains the same as my post above. Humanitarian aid cannot be measured in raw dollars alone. I wonder how much money we're expending on our military in the region? Not that it will matter to those who simply compare checkbooks.
bucket
You guys forgot to mention to Ultimatejoe that Pakistan just happened to receive 224.5 million dollars in financial aid solely intended for military spending from the US in 2003... ..all in all the US gave Pakistan 500 million dollars that year. So in all honesty exactly how much of Pakistan's own contribution is really their own contribution?

source
Aquilla
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Dec 30 2004, 08:59 AM)
QUOTE
I could be mistaken, but I don't believe there is another country that has a carrier task force in the area, providing aircraft, manpower, medical aid, electricity, food and fuel.


Well you'd be wrong, sort of. There are two Pakistani vessels naval vessels (don't think they're aircraft carriers though) assisting the islands that they were stationed at. Nice try though...

Pakistani Navy assisting in tsunami relief
*




According to the story linked, the Pakistani ships were there anyway for goodwill/training purposes. Not exactly like Pakistan sent them in response to the disaster. But, it's a good thing they are there and that Pakistan is helping.

However, as others have pointed out, there is a major difference between an aircraft carrier task force and a couple of "boats". Much of the criticism of this UN fellow from Norway seems to center around how much the US spends on defense so it would seem that the utilization of defense resources in the role of disaster assistance is relevant here. It is a difficult thing to simply measure the cost of deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln to the disaster area because first you have to have the USS Abraham Lincoln to deploy. Conservative estimates of the cost of a single carrier battle group are in excess of 100 BILLION dollars over it's lifetime. How much of that do we factor into the dollar equation? Even a half percent raises the US "contribution" to $500 MILLION.

Just as a historical sidenote on what an aircraft carrier can really do, way back in the 1930's the USS Lexington supplied 30% of the electrical power to the city of Tacoma, Washington for a time during a power crisis. Of course Tacoma was much smaller then, but then again, as fine a ship as the Lady Lex was, she was nothing like one of our carriers today.

Link
Jaime
Let's stop belitting each other's posts and stick with the topic.

DEBATE:
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?
Do we deserve the "stingy" slur?
Ultimatejoe
There was a reason why I posted what I did, and it has been largely misconstrued; which I suppose isn't entirely surprising considering the language I used.

Lets not forget that DTOM said specifically
QUOTE
humanitarian cannot be measured in dollars alone.


The implication of this, taken with his comment on the role that the Carrier Task Force was performing, was that the U.S. was providing aid that wasn't coming through regular aid channels, which sets the U.S. above the bar. There were two ways to read his comments on the navy presence. The first: 'we're better equipped to help people in other ways.' The second: 'I don't see anyone else using their navy, so lay off.'

Granted, it could have gone either way, but considering his position on Foreign Aid, I felt the second was more likely. I still do.

I'd like to note a couple of things. First, I do not support the comments made by Jan Egeland's, I don't think they were either prudent OR warranted. I was disappointed and disgusted when I heard about them on the radio. Can you guess what the second thought was when I heard this story? I actually said to my aunt Jackie (we were actually returning from a wedding reception and my parents were playing chauffer) "I'll put money on the fact that some of my friends in the U.S. are going to use this as an excuse to criticize the U.N." I knew it. You guys didn't disappoint me. Look at the second reply in this thread: "This is just more proof of how ineffective the UN truly is."

It proves no such thing. Such a conclusion makes about as much sense as me concluding that the entire U.S. Congress was racist and segregationist in 1994 because Newt Gingrich talked about bus lines "gradually desotring one apartment complex after another, bringing people out for public housing who have no middle class values..." I would be a fool to make this conclusion, and I believe that using these comments, from a single bureacrat through unofficial channels, to criticize the U.N. are being equally remiss. That being said, the comments (and ensuing discussion do deserve some examination.

QUOTE
Not that it will matter to those who simply compare checkbooks.


I don't believe that this was the purpose of the comments in question, although sadly, it seems to be the measure used by some of the posters here (on both sides of the debate.) I took Jan Egeland's comments to be more based on what was being done versus what the U.S. was capable of doing. And in that light the comments DO have a bit more merit, although they are still inappropriate. The initial aid offered was nowhere near what the U.S. was able to offer on the spot and administer. Canada's offer, which really infuriated me, was even more inadequate. Despite having a much strong Development Aid infrastructure and a more secure fiscal position, the government's initial offer was only 4 million dollars. They quickly realized the mistake they made and upped their offer to $40 million.

Now, on to the question at hand. Is the U.S. stingy? Well, if you take stingy to mean "give or spend reluctantly" then you can make that argument very easily. In fact, you can argue, and some people here have done just that, that the U.S. should be stingy. DTOM said it himself:
QUOTE
Far too much of my tax dollars go off shore as it is, but to then be criticized (as a nation) doesn't exactly endear me to give additional private money in aid.


If that's what you believe that's what you believe. Personally, I don't agree with your philosophy here, but that's just me. flowers.gif However, which criticisms are you referring to? The last time I checked, the critique in question came from a bureacrat from Norway, not from the effected areas. But it is important to note that in the past, much of the aid from the 'West' has come contingent on conditions that have done far more damage than the actual dollars distributed could hope to alleviate. Structural Adjustment programs, championed by the U.S. and arranged by the WTO and IMF, destroyed the economies of numerous impoverished states. Likewise, the aid from individual states is often contingent on trade agreements or practices that directly serve the administering nation. The original Canadian Foreign Aid programs offered in Indonesia actually required that Indonesian companies use the aid money to purchase goods from Canadian suppliers. The U.S., Britain, France (et al) are all guilty of these sorts of practices. Likewise, "aid" is often more of a P.R. excercise at home than humanitarian effort abroad. A New York Times editorial today notes that
QUOTE
Making things worse, we often pledge more money than we actually deliver. Victims of the earthquake in Bam, Iran, a year ago are still living in tents because aid, including ours, has not materialized in the amounts pledged. And back in 2002, Mr. Bush announced his Millennium Challenge account to give African countries development assistance of up to $5 billion a year, but the account has yet to disperse a single dollar.


Now, the U.S. isn't the only player guilty of this sort of thing. That does not change the fact that as the country positioned to DO THE MOST, she is going to be the target of attention when this sort of thing happens. And maybe, just maybe, as the country that is in the position to do the most, she could be doing a little bit more. It's hard to explain to someone who has just lost their whole family, and has no food, water, electricity or shelter, why a government can spend two dollars on their President's Inauguration for every dollar they plan to spend alleviating this crisis.

Now, as I said before, Mr. Egeland's comments were unwarranted and unwise. I didn't agree with them when I heard them, and I don't agree with them now. However, perhaps we should cut a little slack for those people who are upset and agitated. Right now millions of people are suffering and tensions are going to be high. Lets keep that in mind.
Bill55AZ
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?
Do we deserve the "stingy" slur?


The taxpayer or charitable giver likes to think that at least a major percentage of funds given will actually go to those in need, and not end up in some despots swiss bank account, so if we are reluctant to disperse, there just may be good reason. I would take a look at who is using the stingy word and take their personal politics into consideration.
We give to pretty much everyone, even those who hate us. Personally, I think we should give less to those countries who have already proven that they misuse the funds. If they cannot or will not give good account of our donations, they get less and less until they do.
And how about some common sense? What person in their right mind would give the North Koreans a nuclear power plant? I believe that was Jimmy Carter.
And how did Yassar Arafat accumulate the reported billion dollars that he supposedly had when he died? The majority of those funds were probably given to him to benefit his people, some probably for the anti-Israel effort. I have to wonder how much of that came from OUR American tax dollars.
This current situation will run its course, and our detractors will fault us no matter how much we do. Such is the nature of those who practice deceit and/or self delusion. Their minds are made up, and no amount of facts will change their mindset.
moif
Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?

No.

Do we deserve the "stingy" slur?

Yes.

Jan Egelund (sp?) made the comment that the rich nations give but a fraction of their wealth to the poor. In all, not one nation, not even Norway (where JE himself is from) gives more than 1% of GNI. So, as nations we keep more than 99% of our profits, to ourselves.

To my mind, that is not very generous at all.

Also. I agree with Julien. I would much rather see money like this spent in advance of catastrophe's, rather than as a result of them.

I don't see that ANY nation can hold itself proud of its 'generosity' whilst there are children homeless, starving, working as slaves or being used as cannon fodder.
2ndwind
I'm probably going to get my hands smacked for getting off the subject, BUT.......why on earth would anyone make a stupid remark ON CAMERA, in front of the WHOLE WORLD, criticizing any one nation and accusing them of being stingy. In the face of one of the worst catastrophes in modern times - over 117,000 people dead and rising, entire countries and island wiped out and we've got bickering (yes, I said bickering.......because that is what it is) over who gives more.

You're stingy.... w00t.gif
No, we're not - we're generous! wacko.gif
You are too stingy, we gave more per person than you did. wacko.gif
You aren't doing the math right, you need to count charities and the military. mad.gif
If you weren't in Iraq, you could give more! devil.gif
Don't be bringing THAT up again - it has nothing to do with giving! w00t.gif
You're stingy and you know it - everyone hates you! mad.gif
Well, we hate you, too, but we are still going to give more than anyone else. innocent.gif


If the UN representative intended to have made the remark the way it's been taken, it should have been ignored. This is an area where it shouldn't be some big contest and "We're better than you are" attitude over something like this.
Dontreadonme
I'm not sure if this is more a case of 'danged if you and danged if you don't'.....or simply a case of there they go again, those rascals at the UN.

QUOTE
United States President George Bush was tonight accused of trying to undermine the United Nations by setting up a rival coalition to coordinate relief following the Asian tsunami disaster.

But former International Development Secretary Clare Short said that role should be left to the UN.

“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up,” she said.

“It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers.”

Ms Short said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters.

She said the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone” and India had its own problems to deal with.

Link

Is the UN going to play a game of who's is bigger, or engage in a turf battle? Or is it actually going to do something? There has been much ado about Bush being at his Crawford ranch while this is going on....yet surprisingly little about Kofi finally cutting his vacation short four days after the tsunami hit to address the issue. hmmm.gif

Instead of making offhand remarks about the generosity of nations, or who should be the big kid on the playground, is it going to act like the responsible body that everyone wishes it to be?
Ultimatejoe
You know, I wonder how much the people who see fit to endlessly assault the U.N. actually understand of its operations. Have you actually looked to see what (if any) work they are doing in the effected areas? Or do you just assume that they aren't doing anything. Lord knows you haven't actually demonstrated it either way. Howabout, from now on, if we are going to criticize the operations of the U.N. on the whole, we take the time to know what we are talking about?

Reliefweb is a good place to start.

I don't mean to sound overly critical, but I see a lot of complaining about the way the U.N. operates under these circumstances, but not one iota of evidence to demonstrate problems. People merely assume that the political shenanigans that take place in the General Assembly and Security Council automatically apply to the other branches of the U.N... and we all know what happens when you assume, don't you?

In this case however the U.N. may have a legitimate gripe. The fact is that the more humanitarian organizations that you have involved trying to do the same thing, the less efficient they all become. I don't know enough about what this person is referring to to comment one way or the other, but I have no intention of simply leaping to a conclusion on the subject.
Dontreadonme
And I wonder if you switched the acronyms UN for US in your post, if you would see the frustration on the opposite side of the political spectrum..........
What you're seeing, at least in part, is not one or two people endlessly assaulting the UN, but a lot of people questioning the motives and actions of the body. Something that is somehow tolerated, condoned and lauded when directed against the US.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the most vociferous UN basher here at AD, but I have little love for an organization that can't decide if it's a body of collective nations, or a self governing bureaucracy unto itself (Agenda 21 and other UN initiatives are a source of grave concern, but left for their own thread). And in the meantime the citizens of Rwanda, Darfur and SE Asia suffer.

I have no doubt that the UN NGO's do great work when unshackled by the politics of Annan, et al. Maybe their PR is atrocious, but they seem to be doing more bickering in the face of tragedies than actual work.

Frankly I don't see a huge issue with the US, Australia, Japan and India spearheading the relief effort. They are all pacific rim/SE Asian countries and have a robust economy and ample military and civilian relief capabilities. Might this cause resentment among peoples who wish to paint the US as stingy? I don't see how the UN absolutely has to take point on this effort.
Aquilla
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Dec 30 2004, 05:28 PM)
You know, I wonder how much the people who see fit to endlessly assault the U.N. actually understand of its operations. Have you actually looked to see what (if any) work they are doing in the effected areas? Or do you just assume that they aren't doing anything. Lord knows you haven't actually demonstrated it either way. Howabout, from now on, if we are going to criticize the operations of the U.N. on the whole, we take the time to know what we are talking about?

*




If one goes back and actually reads the genesis of this thread they will see that it has to do with criticism leveled by a UN official against the US relief efforts. It seems to me to be only reasonable given that criticism that people would compare what the US is doing in it's totality as compared to the UN. I hardly see that as an "assault" on the UN.
Mrs. Pigpen
US aid has been raised to 350 million
QUOTE
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush (news - web sites), under pressure over the pace and scale of American aid to Asian tsunami victims, abruptly raised the U.S. contribution tenfold to $350 million on Friday.

The White House suggested U.S. assistance could rise still higher after a delegation headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) tours devastated areas next week and reports back to the president on the needs of an estimated 5 million tsunami survivors.


I think I called it in my first post on this thread. We'll likely send more. Our detractors will still say we're stingy.
Paladin Elspeth
$350 million is more like it.

It does point up one problem with being constantly at war--when a catastrophe like this comes up, it is difficult to free-up the funds needed to help those in great need.

And really, when the initial amount pledged by a country represents the amount of money needed to maintain a war for one day, it seems like comparatively little.

We may not be obligated to spend our tax dollars to help catastrophe victims so far away, but as a nation avowedly concerned with doing right and supposedly possessing values from the Jewish and Christian faith traditions, it is the right thing to do. On a more personal note, who here wouldn't want help from other nations if we had been the victims of this tsunami. Imagine the west coast of the USA being affected--would we not want assistance as well?

"The little Norwegian" who was called misguided by the President was interviewed by CNN today. When asked if he felt vindicated for the criticism he leveled by the dramatic increase in funds pledged by the United States, he said no. He said that all countries, not just the United States, needed to help more. He said that it was the people, not he himself, who decided upon the greater response. I apologize for not having a link for this right now. But he did not sound like he just wanted to get on a soapbox against the United States; it is altogether possible that he desired to see a greater response by the world community to the dire need in the countries affected by the tsunamis.
droop224
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Dec 31 2004, 05:41 PM)
US aid has been raised to 350 million
QUOTE
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush (news - web sites), under pressure over the pace and scale of American aid to Asian tsunami victims, abruptly raised the U.S. contribution tenfold to $350 million on Friday.

The White House suggested U.S. assistance could rise still higher after a delegation headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) tours devastated areas next week and reports back to the president on the needs of an estimated 5 million tsunami survivors.


I think I called it in my first post on this thread. We'll likely send more. Our detractors will still say we're stingy.
*



laugh.gif laugh.gif Are we giving 385 million or are we giving 350 million. Is this in addition to what we already planned to give or is this a change in our figure.... Just by chance...could we be giving more because of the scrutiny that was set off by the comments of the UN official?? Doesn't really matter to be honest, we're giving more and that is good, I just found your comment funny.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(droop224 @ Dec 31 2004, 04:42 PM)
laugh.gif  laugh.gif  Are we giving 385 million or are we giving 350 million.  Is this in addition to what we already planned to give or is this a change in our figure....  Just by chance...could we be giving more because of the scrutiny that was set off by the comments of the UN official??  Doesn't really matter to be honest, we're giving more and that is good, I just found your comment funny.
*



ohmy.gif We've discovered the magic words! rolleyes.gif

Bush has been called basically every name in the book, sometimes appropriately, sometimes not....but I think it's fair to say he hasn't caved much over whatever he intended to do regardless of whatever name was thrown at him or the US. Of course we were going to give more for a major catastrophe like this. We give around 200+ million every year to the International Red Cross alone. I remember in 2001 they were short of funds and we gave them an extra 65 million. We gave UNICEF 250 million last year.
moif
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Dec 31 2004, 03:44 AM)
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Dec 30 2004, 05:28 PM)
You know, I wonder how much the people who see fit to endlessly assault the U.N. actually understand of its operations. Have you actually looked to see what (if any) work they are doing in the effected areas? Or do you just assume that they aren't doing anything. Lord knows you haven't actually demonstrated it either way. Howabout, from now on, if we are going to criticize the operations of the U.N. on the whole, we take the time to know what we are talking about?

*




If one goes back and actually reads the genesis of this thread they will see that it has to do with criticism leveled by a UN official against the US relief efforts. It seems to me to be only reasonable given that criticism that people would compare what the US is doing in it's totality as compared to the UN. I hardly see that as an "assault" on the UN.
*



Jan Egelunds comments were levelled against all the rich countries of the world, including his own.
Not just the USA.
Cyan
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Dec 31 2004, 03:41 PM)
US aid has been raised to 350 million
QUOTE
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush (news - web sites), under pressure over the pace and scale of American aid to Asian tsunami victims, abruptly raised the U.S. contribution tenfold to $350 million on Friday.

The White House suggested U.S. assistance could rise still higher after a delegation headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) tours devastated areas next week and reports back to the president on the needs of an estimated 5 million tsunami survivors.


I think I called it in my first post on this thread. We'll likely send more. Our detractors will still say we're stingy.
*



This is a good development, and thank you for pointing out that the "line of credit" was not actually a loan. I have never heard that term used outside of lending, and it had me feeling very upset and disappointed. I'm glad that we are rising to the occassion, and I hope that we will continue to assess the needs of the Tsunami victims and do whatever is in our power to aid in their recovery.
Looms
Wow, another world event that has no effect on me, yet is costing me money? Color me surprised! Yes, the American government is extremely generous... With my money. mad.gif

Since when do we owe these countries anything? Some people on here, as well as that single celled organism from Norway, are talking like the US has some sort of outstanding debt to them.

Charity should be a choice. Period. If I had my way, all this "international community" crap would cease immediately. Those that want to donate to help out with the tsunami, more power to them, charity really is a noble thing. Those that don't want to, should not be forced to. But when my tax money is being sent overseas, there is a name for that, it's called embezzlement.
Julian
QUOTE(Looms @ Jan 3 2005, 01:04 PM)
But when my tax money is being sent overseas, there is a name for that, it's called embezzlement.
*


No - it's called "enlightened self-interest". Or, if you prefer "insurance", or "I help you today; you help me when I need it".

The USA is a country that suffers hurricanes and tornados, that has a major faultline and a major volcano on the West Coast, and that would see most of it's major East Coast population centres wiped out by tsunamis that would make the South Asian event of Boxing Day look like a minor swimming pool accident if the dormant volcano in the Canary Islands splits apart and falls into the Atlantic (where there is no tsumani warning system). Britain, Spain, France, and Canada would also suffer from this last event, so at least three of the eight or nine other wealthiest countries in the world may not be in a position to help out - you'd be reliant on Germany, Japan, Russia and China. Not to mention India - one of the countries that needs help now.

The US government wisely realises that, while it can cope alone with minor events related to these meteorological and geological phenomena, one or more major events would be beyond even America's huge resources to deal with alone. America would then be as reliant on foreign aid and foreign money as Sri Lanka and Indonesia are today.

So it doesn't make sense for America's inevitable future need (the only question is when) to behave like you suggest now. Besides, the $350 million (or so) pledged so far, while it sounds like a lot, is maybe a tenth of the cost of one aircraft carrier or stealth bomber, and I haven't heard you (or anyone else) complaining that you don't personally get any use from them, (even though you don't).
lordhelmet
QUOTE(Julian @ Jan 4 2005, 08:33 AM)
 
QUOTE(Looms @ Jan 3 2005, 01:04 PM)
But when my tax money is being sent overseas, there is a name for that, it's called embezzlement. 
*
 

No - it's called "enlightened self-interest". Or, if you prefer "insurance", or "I help you today; you help me when I need it".

The USA is a country that suffers hurricanes and tornados, that has a major faultline and a major volcano on the West Coast, and that would see most of it's major East Coast population centres wiped out by tsunamis that would make the South Asian event of Boxing Day look like a minor swimming pool accident if the dormant volcano in the Canary Islands splits apart and falls into the Atlantic (where there is no tsumani warning system). Britain, Spain, France, and Canada would also suffer from this last event, so at least three of the eight or nine other wealthiest countries in the world may not be in a position to help out - you'd be reliant on Germany, Japan, Russia and China. Not to mention India - one of the countries that needs help now.

The US government wisely realises that, while it can cope alone with minor events related to these meteorological and geological phenomena, one or more major events would be beyond even America's huge resources to deal with alone. America would then be as reliant on foreign aid and foreign money as Sri Lanka and Indonesia are today.

So it doesn't make sense for America's inevitable future need (the only question is when) to behave like you suggest now. Besides, the $350 million (or so) pledged so far, while it sounds like a lot, is maybe a tenth of the cost of one aircraft carrier or stealth bomber, and I haven't heard you (or anyone else) complaining that you don't personally get any use from them, (even though you don't).
*




Right. We're going to depend on foreign aid to deal with our own disasters. Which country do you see ponying up if that happens?

A first time would be a charm. Which country contributed massive aid after 9/11? Or , instead, did we just get their free "sympathy" which evaporated when we actually decided to do something in response to that attack?

We don't need the world. The world needs us. That's why is so foolhardy when these countries bite the hands that feed it.

In the grand scheme of things, the US is the sugar daddy for the entire world. The other countries are like spoiled children whining that their allowances aren't big enough.
Amlord
QUOTE(Julian @ Jan 4 2005, 08:33 AM)
QUOTE(Looms @ Jan 3 2005, 01:04 PM)
But when my tax money is being sent overseas, there is a name for that, it's called embezzlement.
*


No - it's called "enlightened self-interest". Or, if you prefer "insurance", or "I help you today; you help me when I need it".

The USA is a country that suffers hurricanes and tornados, that has a major faultline and a major volcano on the West Coast, and that would see most of it's major East Coast population centres wiped out by tsunamis that would make the South Asian event of Boxing Day look like a minor swimming pool accident if the dormant volcano in the Canary Islands splits apart and falls into the Atlantic (where there is no tsumani warning system). Britain, Spain, France, and Canada would also suffer from this last event, so at least three of the eight or nine other wealthiest countries in the world may not be in a position to help out - you'd be reliant on Germany, Japan, Russia and China. Not to mention India - one of the countries that needs help now.

The US government wisely realises that, while it can cope alone with minor events related to these meteorological and geological phenomena, one or more major events would be beyond even America's huge resources to deal with alone. America would then be as reliant on foreign aid and foreign money as Sri Lanka and Indonesia are today.

So it doesn't make sense for America's inevitable future need (the only question is when) to behave like you suggest now. Besides, the $350 million (or so) pledged so far, while it sounds like a lot, is maybe a tenth of the cost of one aircraft carrier or stealth bomber, and I haven't heard you (or anyone else) complaining that you don't personally get any use from them, (even though you don't).
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With all due respect, Julian, I hardly think that the US (or anyone, really) donates to disaster relief funds to "hedge our bets" so to speak. Disasters of this magnitude are not predictable and thus are unplanned for in any substantive way.

No, we do this out of generosity and goodwill towards others, the same reason that Australia, Britain or any other country gives to these relief efforts.

Do you think Western nations in general and United States in particular give out enough in humanitarian aid?
Do we deserve the "stingy" slur?


I find it funny that anyone would question an amount that is donated to help others. Who is in a position to judge the amount that will be "enough"? Should giving to tsunami victims trump the needs of our own people? Should any gift horse be looked in the mouth?

The US has a different way of doing things than most other countries. Rather than the government controlling charities, charity is often a private matter. Individuals, rather than government institutions, give the majority of aid, whether it be foreign or domestic. Perhaps this different philanthropic philosophy is overlooked by others.
moif
Looms

QUOTE
Charity should be a choice. Period. If I had my way, all this "international community" crap would cease immediately. Those that want to donate to help out with the tsunami, more power to them, charity really is a noble thing. Those that don't want to, should not be forced to. But when my tax money is being sent overseas, there is a name for that, it's called embezzlement.


What do you mean, 'my tax money'? When you've paid money to some one else, be they a private individual, or a state institution, then it ceases to be 'your money'.

If you don't like state sponsored charity, then I suggest you vote for a candidate that will not send your money oversea's. If, that is, you can actually find such a mythical creature.



lordhelmet

QUOTE
In the grand scheme of things, the US is the sugar daddy for the entire world. The other countries are like spoiled children whining that their allowances aren't big enough.
Well, as entertaining as that might be, I'm afraid its hardly the truth is it.. ?

The world uses the dollar as de facto currency, and as such the USA grows fat on the profit. If the world stopped using the dollar, and say, adopted the Euro, then the US economy would collapse on itself over night.

So, I'd have to say that in fact, America is less of a 'suger daddy' and more along the lines of a plantation owner who needs the poor to work for peanuts in order to keep his house in good order and who (rightly) fears any hint of revolution.
lordhelmet
QUOTE(moif @ Jan 4 2005, 10:34 AM)

Looms

QUOTE
Charity should be a choice. Period. If I had my way, all this "international community" crap would cease immediately. Those that want to donate to help out with the tsunami, more power to them, charity really is a noble thing. Those that don't want to, should not be forced to. But when my tax money is being sent overseas, there is a name for that, it's called embezzlement.


What do you mean, 'my tax money'? When you've paid money to some one else, be they a private individual, or a state institution, then it ceases to be 'your money'.

If you don't like state sponsored charity, then I suggest you vote for a candidate that will not send your money oversea's. If, that is, you can actually find such a mythical creature.



lordhelmet

QUOTE
In the grand scheme of things, the US is the sugar daddy for the entire world. The other countries are like spoiled children whining that their allowances aren't big enough.
Well, as entertaining as that might be, I'm afraid its hardly the truth is it.. ?

The world uses the dollar as de facto currency, and as such the USA grows fat on the profit. If the world stopped using the dollar, and say, adopted the Euro, then the US economy would collapse on itself over night.

So, I'd have to say that in fact, America is less of a 'suger daddy' and more along the lines of a plantation owner who needs the poor to work for peanuts in order to keep his house in good order and who (rightly) fears any hint of revolution.
*




To get back on topic, what is the combined contribution to the developing world from countries that use the "Euro" as opposed to the "dollar"?

Since, as you put it, the American economy would collapse overnight if the world decided to ignore the largest economy in the history of the world, I'm sure you have facts at your fingertips to back up your assertion that the US contribution to the world is insignificant compared to your EU brethren?
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