Student Voice


June 12, 2024


The United States falls short on humanitarian aid

May 8, 2008

The United States is the world’s lone superpower. Whether you like it or not, the U.S. is the strongest power in the world; it has more resources, more money and more sway than any other nation.

The U.S. uses this power to shape global policy. It uses its power to affect diplomatic relations with countries and shape trade agreements. The most visible use of power the U.S. has displayed is its military strength, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For all intents and purposes, the United States runs the world, for better or worse. Why, then, doesn’t the U.S. use its considerable power and influence for good?

The argument for the invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq has been the perceived threat to American security.

Iraq was an especially dangerous threat to the United States through its attempts to create weapons of mass destruction.

In the process of assisting the people living in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has destroyed their infrastructures and tens of thousands of citizens have died or been severely injured.

The U.S. still has one of the strongest economies in the world, even despite the recent economic crisis.

The United States does send more aid than any other nation, proportionally it does not add up.

The U.S. gives far less than the one percent goal of aid set by the United Nations. In 2004, of the budget over $11 trillion, the United States only earmarked a little over $19 billion for aid. This means only .17 percent of the U.S.’ budget was spent giving aid to those in need.

It wouldn’t be enough even if it was going to people who are suffering, but it isn’t even going to them. The money the United States uses on aid does not go to giving people in need a check for the money or even directly for food. It goes to governments—often times in the form of equipment or military aid. The money isn’t always going to the countries that truly need it either.

Then there are emergencies. In 2004, a tsunami hit much of southeastern Asia. Tens of thousands of people were killed, and the U.S. was among the first countries to give money to help with the relief effort. Last week, a cyclone hit Myanmar. It is reported that at least ten thousand people have been killed. Because the amount of aid the U.S. gives to other countries is already small, it will take away from money that could go to other needs.

While it is important to give money in emergency situations, it is difficult to place more importance on one need than another.

In terms of numbers, the United States gives more aid than any other country in the world. However the United States lags far behind many other countries in the world in the percentage used on aid. The United States should step up to the plate and give more.

Joe is is a political science and international studies major, graduating this May.

Joe Eggers is a fifth year senior from Appleton, Wis. He is a political science and international studies major. He has been involved in several activities on campus, including a stint as last year's Student Senate president.