Some bloggers have declared today to be “Blog Quake Day” and are calling for online donations to agencies assisting the relief effort in Pakistan.
Oxfam declared today that “rich countries” are “failing to respond generously to the UN South Asian Earthquake appeal.”
In related news, Anatol Lieven, author of America Right or Wrong, wrote a hard-hitting piece for Sunday’s LATimes Op-Ed page which takes the Bush administration to task for its “pitiful” response to the earthquake in Pakistan.
The U.S. has pledged only $50 million in aid, a tiny fraction of what it is capable of providing. According to USAID, as of Oct. 17, nine days after the earthquake struck, the U.S. military had flown only 168 helicopter sorties to the affected areas. It can certainly do much more in a country next door to Afghanistan and near the Persian Gulf, where substantial U.S. airborne forces are deployed…
Much has been said in the U.S. in recent years about Pakistan’s actual or potential unreliability as an ally; some of it is fair. But reliability cuts both ways. The same U.S. pundits who have listed Pakistan’s faults and who lecture Pakistan on how to run its affairs are silent in the face of the administration’s failure. To Pakistanis, we are like a rich man in a manor who hectors his poor neighbors about their faults but refuses to help them in time of desperate need.
Why is the White House reacting so tepidly in Pakistan after handling the tsunami disaster so well? The answer may be that an administration that is becoming increasingly monarchical and politicized is also becoming increasingly paralyzed. It’s foreign policy crew can still walk and chew gum simultaneously, but it may not be able to think at the same time.
Whatever the reason, by failing to extend more generous and visible assistance to Pakistan, the Bush administration is committing a grave moral and political blunder.
LINK to Op-Ed in LATimes.