It’s Not Only America’s Duty to Help Haiti

Wednesday, 20 Jan 2010 07:28 AM

By Walid Phares

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When nature strikes, particularly against those nations unequipped to handle a disaster, it is incumbent on the entire international community to rush for help.

It’s not the duty of just the United States of America but of all nations capable of delivering aid to do so in these crises.

Always in times such as these we see American forces and equipment displaying stunning capacities to intervene in the four corners of the planet. Everyone in the world community — from those whose life’s work it is to scorn America and everything it does to those who are on America’s sides in its fight against terror — expect American soldiers, Marines, and sailors to be first on the ground while U.S. air assets are covering the stricken areas.

And soon after the drama recedes, the anti-America propaganda machines go back to business as usual: online, on satellite TV, and on campuses. When it gets bad for humanity, Uncle Sam is the superman we need. When nature is calm, the jihadists and their acolytes raise hell about infidel America.

This time in Haiti we will hold everyone as responsible in the mass rescue underway.

Yes America is mobilizing its resources and will always do to meet its humanitarian obligations. U.S. resources are already establishing a humanitarian bridge to the island that happens to be very close to the mainland.

Haitian Americans, many of whom I had the privilege to have in my classrooms, are an amazing brand of émigrés: hard working, education seeking, and society building. Their mother country has been destroyed in front of their eyes and their entire patrimony is being shattered by the disaster’s aftermath.

They fully deserve the support of their chosen homeland in the most strategic way. They will definitely be at the forefront of the campaign to rescue, save, and rebuild their island.

Facing this act of nature together, we know that Americans and Haitians will partner to save the people of the oldest African descendant and independent nation in this hemisphere. But we want the rest of the international society, particularly the rich and famous, to chip in.

We know that the usual helpers will extend their support: Canada, the European Union as well as Japan, India, and other democracies.

China, which is thrusting through markets in Africa and Latin America, seems to be willing to show support.

Russia, which oil industry provides it with significant cash, must also donate generously. The Russian military, second to the U.S., must also display its power in humanitarian missions. Russian surface ships and submarines have been visiting Venezuela for joint exercises. It would be a good idea to send these high tonnage vessels to the shores of Haiti.

Beyond the traditional donors contributing money or technological assistance, this time we want to see the hard core critics of international interventions opening their checkbooks.

Blasting Washington for deploying its fleets around the world, dictatorships in the Western Hemisphere should show compassion with the descendents of slaves in the Caribbean.

Hugo Chavez, who brags about helping the disenfranchised, must donate free Petrol to the island for at least one year. Morales should join in and offer some of Bolivia’s gas resources for heating.

Lula, as Brazil’s economy is booming, must extend aid and increase his country’s participation in the U.N.’s operations in Haiti by ten times. The Castro regime sent 70,000 soldiers to fight an African resistance in Angola during the cold war, but they sent only 90 doctors to neighboring Haiti.

Cuba must be a staging ground for humanitarian assistance and send seven divisions to help rebuilding the poorest of the poorest nations.

Across the seas, the Organization of Islamic Conference must ask its members, especially its very rich ones, to foot parts of the relief and reconstruction bills.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the U.A.E., Iran, and Libya can afford to save every single family in Haiti and help them face the future. And in humanitarian interventions there should not be conditioned religious conversion to make charity happen.

Influential Al Jazeera and other networks should dedicate significant portions of their debates on how best to save millions of dispossessed people in Haiti inasmuch as they focus on best to free the 300 Jihadi terrorists across the bay, in Guantanamo.

Yes, if the critics of U.S. efforts to defend the world from terrorism would step in — for once — and put their money where their mouth is, they may help humanity.

To help Haiti we will form a coalition of the willing. Those who act greedily will lose the moral ground.


Dr. Walid Phares is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


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