Atlas Shrugged in Haiti

In this item from January 19, Melanie Phillips says that the UN failed to organize the Haiti rescue effort, so finally the U.S. stepped into the breach, with the inevitable result that other countries, notably the French, accused the U.S. of trying to occupy Haiti. Meanwhile the Israelis, acting on their own, have been doing a bang-up job of helping victims of the quakes. The lesson is that sovereign nations are entities capable of taking effective action in the world. But leftists see sovereign nations as evil, and insist that any action be taken only by morally virtuous collections of nations such as the UN. But such collections of nations are not entities capable of taking effective action in the world. Once again, it’s the gnostic left versus reality.

A disproportionate response?
Tuesday, 19th January 2010

The unfolding mega-disaster in Haiti has exposed in the most sickening form the utter uselessness of the UN. Of course, it must be acknowledged that the UN is itself one of the victims of this tragedy, with more than 100 of its staff said to have been killed in the earthquake and its aftermath. And yes, the wholesale destruction of Haiti’s already fragile infrastructure means that the difficulties in getting supplies to the people are exceptional.

Nevertheless, the key problem appears to be a total absence of leadership, so that no-one is taking control of the situation. Haiti’s own government is unable to do this; until yesterday, America was taking a back seat waiting upon the UN to do the business. But the UN has conspicuously failed to do so. As a result, while the countries of the developed world have been pouring in aid and supplies, this has been piling up while the people of Haiti are dying from injury, disease and lack of water. And now that the US has finally lost patience and piled in troops to deliver supplies to the people, there are predictable cries from the French—and doubtless other knee-jerk America-bashers—that America is ‘occupying’ Haiti. Such is the derangement of the anti-America obsession.

In answer to the charge that the UN is useless as a global forum in promoting peace in the world, the retort is often that it nevertheless plays an invaluable role in providing aid and relief to the world’s destitute. Haiti shows us the tragic hollowness of that claim. And yet, as we have seen from America’s hesitation in getting stuck into the relief operation in Haiti, world leaders regard international action as suspect unless it has the imprimatur of the UN. Thus decency is paralysed, with the result that countless millions fall victim to death and disease, tyranny and destitution because of the endemic incompetence and worse of the global body that purports to represent the world.

In Haiti, however, there has been one foreign nation that has conspicuously broken free of this paralysis and has had no difficulty in setting up emergency aid for the Haitian victims. That country is Israel. Within hours of the earthquake striking, the Israeli media was reporting that Israel was assembling a team of no fewer than 220 emergency aid personnel to fly to the stricken country. As this CNN report shows, the Israelis have set up a fully equipped field hospital in Port-au-Prince treating wounded and sick Haitian victims. The Israeli Foreign Ministry stated:

Between Friday night and Saturday dozens of truckloads of medical and logistical equipment were unloaded and the field hospital set up. The Israeli delegation landed in the capital of Port-Au-Prince yesterday evening and has located itself in a soccer field near the air port. Upon arrival C4I teams deployed communications infrastructure in preparations for the hospital’s establishment. Two teams comprised of search and rescue personnel and canine operators from the IDF canine unit were sent out on rescue missions. The first team was sent to the Haiti UN headquarters in order to assist in rescuing survivors. The rescue teams are working in cooperation with local authorities in order to reach disaster struck areas where survivors can be located and assisted.

A further Israel Foreign Ministry bulletin states that so far 200 patients have been treated. It would appear that it is only Israel which has managed to establish such advanced assistance this quickly. One desperate American aid worker tells CNN:

I’ve been here since Thursday; no-one except the Israeli hospital has taken any of our patients.

Another remarks of the Israeli field hospital:

It’s like another world here compared to the other hospitals. They have imaging … my God, they have machines here, operating theatres, ventilators, monitoring, it’s just amazing.

Of any American field hospital, there is apparently not yet any sign. The reporter observes that the Israelis have come from the other side of the world. Another aid worker says it makes them ashamed to be Americans.

Israel sent a team of 220 aid workers. Israel has a population of six million. The population of Britain is 60 million. I’d say that was a disproportionate Israeli response, wouldn’t you?

[end of Phillips blog article]

- end of initial entry -

Edward writes:

Fifty years ago Haiti had a population of three million. today the population is nine million. More than half their population lives on international relief and welfare including food. That does not include the approximately one million Haitians that live in the U.S.

This population explosion occurred because of Western countries, primarily America, providing them with food, better sanitation, and medical services. Nature never intended Haiti to have nine million people.We did it because we thought we were doing good. A gnostic fantasy. We are going to support them forever otherwise they will return to famine and chaos. The median I.Q of Haitians is 71. Does Washington really expect them with our help to build a self sustaining society and a democratic government?

Several years ago while I was taking a taxi I asked the driver who was from Haiti, “Why is Haiti so poor while the Dominican Republic, while not rich, is so much better off”. He gave me an honest and intelligent answer. He said ” We have no white people, we killed them all”.

LA replies:

I think Edward’s comment gets at the heart of the issue. Haiti is at present an artificial country created and maintained by outside help. They are even poorer and more desperate than they need to be, because we give them the food and other means enabling them to have a much larger population than they have the ability to sustain. The solution is to stop helping Haiti and allow it to return to a sustainable level in keeping with the country’s capacities and the people’s abilities.

Rick U. writes:

I was thinking about this the other day watching the news. I wondered if the vast number of concrete structures on Haiti would even be possible without all the aid they receive, and therefore is the aid itself, partially or largely, responsible for the extensive collapse of buildings, loss of life, etc.? Left to their own resources, the Haitians could have only built buildings within their capability and access to materials, and presumably the damage would have been much less because the structures would have been more modest.

So, the liberal fantasy comes full circle: Aid produces overpopulation, overpopulation produces the need for more aid, in the form of buildings to house the overpopulation, and the buildings collapse en masse from a 7.0 earthquake. Any bets they make the circle again?

LA replies:

People can be killed by falling wooden structures too. But I think you’re correct. Also, there is an analogy to what we do in the U.S., where federally covered insurance for homes destroyed in hurricane and flood prone coastal regions results in the construction of more homes which adds to the destruction and cost of future hurricanes.

Mark Jaws writes:

What can be said about Haiti—our Western aid artificially raising the population—can be said for all of sub-Saharan Africa. In thinking we were doing good, we knocked the ecological and intellectual balance off kilter. Now, it is just a matter of time before the inevitable calamity will strike. It reminds me of the old Chiffon Margarine commercial, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”

Rick U. writes:

In a way, this mirrors the conversation on health care yesterday, where you said:

Human nature, empowered by modern science, entitled by modern liberalism, and enflamed by modern life with all its goods and enticements, is pressing against the very limits of human capacity. It can’t go on. A sane society has to define limits—limits to our desires, limits to what is regarded as “health” and “health care.”

In this case, it’s about feeding the world. When do we stop creating these unsustainable (to use a word favored by liberals) societies with our food? At some point, we will cause our own shortages of food if we don’t define the limits.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 23, 2010 10:12 AM | Send

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