Sunday, January 24, 2010

We Should Help Haiti

Recently, I have seen many cynical comments on various news sites about the aid that is going to Haiti from this country. I have seen several comments from friends on Facebook, decrying the fact that millions are being spent by the U.S. government on the relief efforts in that country, while there are millions of people in the U.S., who are homeless and in need of food. Actually, the amounts being spent in that country are minuscule, compared to the money raised and spent by charities and the government on poverty and homelessness here at home.

Some of these folks do not want to see their tax money spent in Haiti, either because they are simply too nationalistic and do not want to sent aid anywhere, or because Haiti has a predominately black population. We all heard from Comedian, Rush Limbaugh, with his racist comments regarding the President's motivation for providing assistance. I have also seen comments from those who say that any such aid is motivated by politics, and that politicians should be sending their own money, not the government's money. In reality, these complainers are making more of a political issue of this than the politicians.

First and foremost, we should assist Haiti because of humanitarian reasons. Haiti is our neighbor and neighbors should help neighbors. The U.S. is the leader of the civilized world and the U.S. should set the example. However, since Haiti is a neighbor, we should also be motivated by global politics.

We already have a hostile neighbor off the Florida coast. Venezuela to the south is lead by a hostile dictator. We are fighting a difficult war with the powerful drug cartels in Mexico. Haiti is ripe for the picking by the any hostile group that could gain a foothold. We should work to win the hearts and minds of the people of that country and provide resources to help rebuild and to motivate the people to develop a positive economy and a strong, democratic government.

If ever we should engage in nation building, the time is now and in Haiti. We do not need a totalitarian regime that could be influenced by Cuba, Russia, China or any other of our potential enemies. We certainly do not need drug cartels setting up shop there. A weak and divided Haiti is ripe for the picking. There is no reason to assume control of the country and its government, but the time is now to provide humanitarian and economic aid to help this struggling country and its people maintain their independence and rebuild a country that could be an example to the rest of that region.