Earlier this week, Tom Miller, president and CEO of the United Nations Association of the United States, told the Westport Rotary Club that “as the richest nation in the world, the United States could do more for Haitian earthquake victims.” Considering Mr. Miller’s position, perhaps it would be instructive to contrast the U.S. contribution and support for Haiti to that of the other members of the U.N.
Claudia Rosett does just that in her Forbes.com column today where she observes:
… the United Nations’ ReliefWeb database showed contributions from the U.S. government (a.k.a. U.S. taxpayers) worth $90 million, or 44% of the grand total pledged.
That’s just a fraction of the real U.S. contributions, which include millions in private donations plus a huge relief operation by the U.S. military. America has been sending ships, air-dropping rations and pouring in thousands of troops to open relief corridors and provide security. All this is politely styled as backup to a U.N. effort, which is in reality propped up by the U.S.
The U.S. is also either the top donor or among the largest to most of the multilateral operations now focused on Haiti. These include not only the U.N., with its array of agencies, but also the World Bank and the International Committee of the Red Cross….
Just behind the U.S. in contributions to the U.N.’s Haiti appeal is a roster of Western democracies, starting with France (12.7% of the total pledged to date), Sweden (7.4%), Spain (3.5%), Germany (2.8%), Brazil (2.6%), Australia, Finland, Canada, Italy, Denmark …
She goes on to note the paltry donations of the oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, but the main point that Mr. Miller should glean is that the U.N. and the world are lucky that America is ready and willing to act and financially support efforts to address crises like that in Haiti. There doesn’t seem to be a long queue of countries ready to take our place as the world’s most generous and effective humanitarian.