The humanitarian catastrophe in Haiti is turning out to be a classic illustration of anti-Americanism in seven easy steps.
- Calamitous events take place in a chaotic place (think Bosnia, think Somalia, think Iraq in 1991).
- The U.N and the U.S intervene.
- The civil government proves to be useless or malign, or both. The U.N isn’t up to the job. The only effective force in sight is the U.S. According to today’s Guardian, John O’Shea, the head of Goal, a medical charity, has called on the U.S to take charge of the whole operation. So has a major U.S aid agency (“which declined to be named for political reasons”).
- There are only two possible outcomes.
- The U.S takes over. If this happens, it will be accused of “creating a military occupation under the guise of humanitarian aid” and “occupying” the country outright. (Apologies, my memory’s failing me. These criticisms have been aired already. The first quote’s from President Chavez of Venezuela. The second’s from Alain Joyandet, France’s “Co-operation Minister”.)
- The U.S doesn’t take over. If this happens, it will be criticised for “not doing enough” - and isolationism.
- So either way, the U.S loses.
I’m not a fully signed-up member of the Stars-and-Stripes fan club. But there are times when I think: who’d be an American?