The Worst Crisis In Recent Memory


by Patrick Appel

Jeb Koogler spotlights the floods of Pakistan:

Attention to the crisis has been heavily focused on the security angle. The dominant narrative regarding Western aid is that Pakistani extremist groups are gaining influence by controlling the aid distribution process, and that the West should thus increase its own aid distribution in order to counter these radicals. John Kerry, for example, visiting the region last week, mimicked this line of thinking: "Miles upon miles of destroyed homes, of people dislocated, people in camps in great heat, losing their possessions, growing frustrated, worried about the future. We need to address that, all of us rapidly, to avoid their impatience boiling over or people exploiting that impatience."

But note how this narrative obscures the humanitarian angle, and downplays the notion that governments have a responsibility to assist peoples beyond their borders. Our aid policy in the wake of this crisis should largely be constructed and justified based on a notion of shared humanity -- not merely on a narrow assessment of American interests. That Pakistanis are suffering and desiring of international aid should be enough to warrant our attention, our dollars, and our support.

Via Joyner, who rounds up more analysis.