Should the United States be the world leader in foreign affairs?
March 1, 2023
The United States has the responsibility to send aid in foreign crises
If someone was dying in front of you, and you could save them, would you?
Now, would that change if instead of being right before your eyes, they were somewhere across the ocean?
This is the question that the United States has been facing for quite some time now, and while some have been wasting their days debating over whether someone’s life is worth saving when they are not directly in front of them, it is already too late for many who are actually living in countries experiencing a crisis. It is time for the U.S. to take action, and the sooner the better.
It has been a common sentiment that a country should fight its own battles while other nations avoid the conflict by ignoring them, however, this is unrealistic in the modern world. Major issues will inevitably spread, and it is better to end them before the number of casualties grows any more.
The “not my fight” rationale is what many countries used to justify their actions (or, more accurately, lack thereof) at the beginning of World War II. The United States refused to provide refuge to some displaced by the war, or join the fight until it showed up on their doorstep anyway.
When one country is destabilized, many others also become weaker, especially with the amount of global interconnectedness today. Effects from global crises are evident in the everyday lives of people all around the world, from increasing world hunger to rising gas prices. For the sake of the many countries who depend on each other, the United States needs to get involved in difficult situations worldwide, even if it causes frustration or discontent among the few who do not benefit.
When people are suffering or dying, it goes beyond political boundaries, and the U.S. should provide as much help as possible. It would be a different story if sending aid to countries in crisis would deplete the United States of its resources, but this is clearly not the case.
Additionally, many tend to lose track of the fact that those living through the current global crises are real people, and that the death toll is more than just a statistic. Consider how the number of casualties from the war in Ukraine is continuing to climb. Many who were lost were uninvolved civilians, and every single one of them completely devastated those who cared about their family member or friend or classmate or colleague.
Finally, sending aid to countries in crisis can strengthen the United States’ relationship with them, and ultimately benefit the U.S. as well. In refusing to get involved in anything messy, the United States may also be throwing away the possibility of a powerful ally once they recover from their crisis.
Similarly to the way that citizens have a responsibility to help their communities or U.S. states have a responsibility to support the federal government and each other, when one country is in crisis, the others should provide as much support as they possibly can.
The United States can not afford to be the go-to problem solver of global crises
Raid sirens echoed through the street as Russia began their full scale invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022. Citizens located in eastern Ukraine began moving west in order to avoid the violence, while others stayed put and got ready to fight. Amidst this chaos countless people called the United States and NATO to step up and help provide military resources and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
It has been a year since the fighting started. The United States has already sent thousands of armed equipment, food and medical supplies for both civilians and soldiers at the frontlines, but the constant call to be more involved in the war has become deafening. Not only have we supplied $76.8 billion worth of resources as of 2022, but the president recently announced he will send an additional $500 million in military aid.
It is extremely important for the United States to be a leader in helping solve the world’s problems, but as with anything, there are limits, including sending aid to countries in need. People can not expect more money to be sent in this singular cause. And supporting global conflicts is only one area where the U.S. is expected to help; caring for nations impacted by natural disasters is another huge responsibility. In the past, there have been floods in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Thailand as well as the droughts in China and Philippines and the earthquakes in Turkey, Syria and Japan— all of which the United States was expected to help. As of Feb. 19, The United States has already sent $100 million in an earthquake relief fund for Syria and Turkey. Nobody can deny these countries need help, but at some point, tough choices have to be made. The U.S’s humanitarian budget is $10.5 billion, and these expenses add up to a hefty amount. We cannot provide unlimited financial aid in one issue if we are expected to help in crises that are happening and will continue to happen around the world.
The United States also should not be the go-to problem-solver of all foreign crises. European countries such as France, Germany and Britain could step up and help the neighboring nations, especially since they have direct and efficient routes, better than those of the United States. Although humanitarian aid is important, we need to set limits on how much we can provide. Considering the Russia versus Ukraine war, if it were to last for longer, financial sacrifices will need to be made.
There are too many economic and political barriers that we cannot surpass at this time.
The best thing for us to do at this moment is stand back and help little by little. Of course, focusing on budgeting when the risk of death is in place is not that simple, but in order to continue having resources to send, we first have to solve our own issues. The president sending more money to Ukraine when we are being impacted by an economic recession as well as an increase of prices by 9.1% is adding to the negative impact here. It is extremely important for countries like the United States to help when needed, but we have to know our limits.