My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti: The EU vs. the US....

Canada has also been fast off the mark....
Compare and contrast the initial responses of two "major world powers" to the Haitian earthquake disaster. Within hours of Port-au-Prince crumbling into ruins, the US had sent in an aircraft carrier with 19 helicopters, hospital and assault ships, the 82nd Airborne Division with 3,500 troops and hundreds of medical personnel. They put the country's small airport back on an operational footing, and President Obama pledged an initial $100 million dollars in emergency aid.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the European Union geared itself up with a Brussels press conference led by Commission Vice-President Baroness Ashton, now the EU's High Representative – our new foreign minister. A scattering of bored-looking journalists in the Commission's lavishly appointed press room heard the former head of Hertfordshire Health Authority stumbling through a prepared statement, in which she said that she had conveyed her "condolences" to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, and pledged three million euros in aid.

A gaggle of other Commision spokesmen followed, to report offers of help from individual member states, such as a few search and rescue teams, tents and water purification units. We were also told that an official EU representative would be trying to reach Haiti from the Dominican Republic, to stay for a few hours before returning to report what he had found.

Memories might have gone back to December 2004, which saw similarly contrasting responses to the Indian Ocean tsunami catastrophe which cost nearly 300,000 lives. Again, within hours the US took the lead in forming an alliance with Australia, India and Japan, and had sent in two battle groups fully equipped to deal with such an emergency, including 20 ships led by two carriers with 90 helicopters. President Bush immediately pledged $35 million, later rising to $350 million. Because they were self-sufficient, the US forces pulled off a stupendously successful life-saving operation, almost entirely ignored by the British media, notably the BBC (whose journalists on the spot were nevertheless quite happy to hitch lifts from US helicopters).

The EU, by contrast, pledged three million euros for the tsunami victims, called for a three-minute silence (three times longer than is customary to remember the millions who died in two world wars) and proposed a "donors' conference" in Jakarta nearly two weeks later to discuss what might be done.

The only real difference between these two episodes is that, in the five years which have elapsed since 2004, the EU has even more noisily laid claim to its status as what Tony Blair liked to call "a world superpower", capable of standing on the world stage as an equal of the US. Anyone who witnessed the dismal showing at Thursday's press conference of the High Representative, which would scarcely have passed muster at a board meeting of the Hertfordshire Health Authority, might well cringe at the thought.


Blogger Lucy said...

The problem with the EU as it stands is that there is no single leader to make the decisions unlike the USA. It is all done by voting and as this shows, it is very slow and clumsy.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you don't seem to understand the concept of the EU.

eventhough the EU gave only 3 million, individual nations gave much more. Also many private fundraising activities in europe are gathering 100's of millions of euro's. Furthermore relief efforts, helicopters, medical personel etc are also provided by european nations. And isn't it the case that the US is very close to Haiti, and has many navy and military activities in the region?

this is not a 'who's best at helping' compition. I believe you are making comparisons which can't be made.

btw the EU as a total is the largest provider of development aid in the world.. the US is only giving a fraction compared to that. For thi reason alone i would say that it is an opportunistic comparison

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The EU is not a country dear blogger,it has no single leader,it has no army...the decision to act is not in one man's hand.
more over, if the EU wants to send help it has to ask a member state(or more) to provide the planes/helicopters/equipment needed,which slows things down.
France,Spain,Belgium were fast to send help but the US is also closer geographically.
The 3mil were emergency aid money and not the entire sum to be released.
Are you mesmerised by the $100 mil promised by Obama?Do you know the EU gave €325 mil($450mil)to Haiti in 2004-2005?Do you know the EU is the largest donor of delopment aid in the world with over 60% of total?
How much money do you think the European Commission will release for the following reconstruction of Haiti?I can tell you that more than America.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Lucy's Nemesis said...

Lucy and the others, the EU recently voted in a President and Foreign Minister to UNIFY everyone.

The EU is worthless. Get Britain out ASAP.

We do more and help more and will be in a better position financially and legally to be on our own.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous LawyerInPoland said...

EU is a superpower, it is only a very different one than the USA. It is not a country and it isn't a federation. I think that lack of single leader is a good thing.
EU is not a military superpower, it is not really a political superpower yet.
EU is a body that facillitates cooperation and relationships between individual countries, nations, cultures and languages. Countries and peoples that share a very very long history of wars, hostilities and conflict. It will take much more to unite them, then in the case of US states - when they had no culture or history.

Just 67 years ago my grandmother was a slave labourer in a German occupied Poland, who saw her country completely destroyed. Things like that don't just go away. I think EU and European cooperation in general is a wonderful thing.

Having strong leaders would cause divisions. The EU as a bland burreaucratic power is fine for now, but it will surely evolve.

Now, as to the help for Haiti. First of all as someone pointed out, individual countries in Europe do have their own aid effort, including many NGOs like the Polish Humanitarian Organisation PAH.

However I am not sure that flooding a huge amount of aid is the right thing to do. This disaster could be a trigger that would force Haitians into forming their own organisation. Moreover, I ask myself why does everyone is so eager to help in Haiti, when the situation there is the everyday life in many places around the world. And these places aren't being helped like that. Could it all be due to the media attention?

Lucy's Nemesis ---> I wonder why do British people want to get out of the EU, with the unthinkable benefits they take ourt from the EU market, the freedom their companies have to operate in every country and take profits back home, or the freedom to speculate in the real estate in France, Spain, Poland... With the UK immigation to continental Europe...

1:07 PM  
Blogger Lucy said...

I am very much pro-Europe so i want Britain further involved, not less Nemesis. When the EU get their act together, as they will, Britain will be even more on the fringes than we are now. We need to be in the EU becuase we are going to be left behind otherwise.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Lucy's Nemesis said...

Lucy, the EU is fantastic. Fantastic for Europe, not Britain.

I will have a party the day Britain is thrown out of the EU or we finally get a vote.

Socialists can never answer this question: why does Britain want to be part of the EU superpower? Why do we want to be part of an imperialist bullying superpower that has its fingers in pies around the world, imposing cultural values where it shouldnt? What does Britain get from the EU that it woudlnt from a simple free trade agreement? red tape, bendy bananas and buses don't count.

I can think of plenty of good things to do with the $200,000,000,000 we give to Europe every year. We wouldn't be in debt for a start.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Lucy's Nemesis said...

LawyerInPoland, all "the unthinkable benefits they take ourt from the EU market" can be had with a simple free trade agreement. Believe it or not, most British people don't like to be told what to do by some Frenchie Kraut or Belgian Bun, unelected of course.

The EU stops us trading freely with NAFTA and the emerging markets because the EU makes it verboten. The EU overrules our courts. We didn't elect the EU and we didn't agree to enter the EU, we agreed to enter a free trade market.

9:25 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home