What an interesting combination of news items today, both related to international relations and the contrast between the Western tradition and that of other parts of the globe that, well, don’t seem to get it.
First, in reaction to the horrible devastation of the cyclone in Burma, many western nations (including the USA) have donated aid. The oppressive regime’s reaction? Stalling. This group of military thugs is delaying help to their own people, and as we learn from reports, confiscating the aid. “All of the food aid and equipment that we managed to get in has been confiscated,” U.N. World Food Program spokesman Paul Risley said. “For the time being, we have no choice but to end further efforts to bring critical needed food aid into Myanmar at this time.”
At the same time, Fox News reports that the OPEC nations bent on getting as much for oil as they possibly can and thus contributing to the world food crisis donates almost nothing to the World Food Program (WFP), the U.N.’s food-giving arm, which is charged with alleviating the food crisis. Who leads the world in donations? The “evil” USA!
The overwhelming bulk of the burden in feeding the world’s starving poor remains with the United States and a small group of other predominately Western nations, a situation that the WFP has done little so far to change, even as it has asked for another $775 million in donations to ease the crisis.
the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the international oil cartel, tossed in a grand total of $1.5 million in addition to the $50,000 it had previously donated.
The OPEC total amounts to roughly one minute and 10 seconds worth of the organization’s estimated $674 billion in annual oil revenues in 2007 — revenues that will be vastly exceeded in 2008 with the continuing spiral in world oil prices.
The only other major oil exporter who made the WFP list of 2008 donors was the United Arab Emirates, which kicked in $50,000. UAE oil revenues in 2007 were $63 billion.
By contrast, the poverty-stricken African republic of Burkina Faso is listed as donating more than $600,000, and Bangladesh, perennial home of many of the world’s hungriest people, is listed as donating nearly $5.8 million.
Why are we allies with the Arabs?