There seems to be some belief that the US gives lots of aid. Lets just dispell that myth. The US gives a lot in pure monetary terms but when looked at in more detail it is not nearly as impressive as it first appears:
(quotes taken from http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Debt/USAid.asp)
USA's aid, in terms of percentage of their GDP is already lowest of any industrialized nation in the world
"Most of the United States' increase in 2001 was due to a $600 million disbursement to Pakistan for economic support in the September 11 aftermath. (political)
Official Development Assistance (ODA) for 1999 and 2000
|Click on column headings that are links to change sort order|
|ODA in U.S. Dollars|
|ODA as Percentage|
|Country ||1999 ||2000 ||2001 ||1999 ||2000 ||2001 |
|11. ||United Kingdom||3,401||4,458||4,659||0.23||0.31||0.32|
|15. ||New Zealand||134||116||111||0.27||0.26||0.25|
|22. ||United States||9,145||9,581||10,884||0.1||0.1||0.11|
Among the big donors, the US has the worst record for spending its aid budget on itself - 70 percent of its aid is spent on US goods and services. And more than half is spent in middle income countries in the Middle East. Only $3bn a year goes to South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa
See also, for example, the well-regarded Reality of Aid project for more on the reality and rhetoric of aid. This project looks at what various nations have donated, and how and where it has been spent, etc.
While the US provided large amounts of military aid to countries deemed strategically important, others noted that the US ranked low among developed nations in the amount of humanitarian aid it provided poorer countries. "We are the stingiest nation of all," former President Jimmy Carter said recently in an address at Principia College in Elsah, Ill."
While the U.S. aid amount might look very generous in sheer dollar terms (ignoring the percentage issue for the moment), the World Bank also points out that at the World Economic Forum in New York, February 2002, "[U.S. Senator Patrick] Leahy noted that two-thirds of US government aid goes to only two countries: Israel and Egypt. Much of the remaining third is used to promote US exports or to fight a war against drugs that could only be won by tackling drug abuse in the United States."
To reach the target of 0.7% is not an economic problem, but a political one. This can be seen in the context of other spending. For example, the U.S. recently increased its military budget by some $100 billion dollars alone, and Europe subsidizes its agriculture to the tune of some $35-40 billion per year, even while it demands other nations to liberalize their markets to foreign competition. The U.S. also introduced a $190 billion dollar subsidy to its farms through the U.S. Farm Bill, also criticized as a protectionist measure
"Many in the first world imagine the amount of money spent on aid to developing countries is massive. In fact, it amounts to only .03% of GNP of the industrialized nations. In 1995, the director of the U.S. aid agency defended his agency by testifying to his congress that 84 cents of every dollar of aid goes back into the U.S economy in goods and services purchased. For every dollar the United States puts into the World Bank, an estimated $2 actually goes into the U.S. economy in goods and services. Meanwhile, in 1995, severely indebted low-income countries paid one billion dollars more in debt and interest to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) than they received from it. For the 46 countries of Subsaharan Africa, foreign debt service was four times their combined governmental health and education budgets in 1996. So, we find that aid does not aid." -- Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Eyes of the Heart; Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization, (Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 13
One could add to the above that while aid does not aid the recipient, it aids the donor. For the US here, its aid agency was an aspect of its foreign policy to enhance its interests, successfully.
Some details of the reality and often under-reported happenings in Iraq. Note the 1998 bombardment which predates Sept 11.
The sanctions have been described as a weapon of mass destruction. Who is going to bring the USA to account for it's illegal use of uranium weapons?
"When asked on US television if she [Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State] thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children [from sanctions in Iraq] was a price worth paying, Albright replied: "This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it."" -- John Pilger, "Squeezed to Death", Guardian, March 4, 2000
It would have been better obviously if Saddam hadn't been created by the west becasue of ill thought out and short term policies and dabling in the affairs of the middle east. However, we are where we are and need to handle the current crisis. I just wish I had more confidence in the ability and the integrity of those who are in charge. How did we get to where we are now, this big crisis involving big powerful countries, from where we were 6 months ago? Why were issues made and deadlines set that weren't needed?
The USA and the UK need to do things through the UN and make the case for war. So far, that have failed to do this. They have presented cobbled together and fabricated "evidence" and propaganda and this, they have done poorly. If they have thought out the consequences of their action in the same way they have put together their 'argument for war' then I fear for the future.
Now, re: the attitude to America since Sep 11 (going back to the topic). What happened was terrible and we saw a massive, global outpouring of sympathy with the USA, even from long term and historic enemies. It really did bring the world together and people were behind the USA in it's fight against terrorism.
Perhaps the real question should be: How, how, how has George W managed to fritter away all that good feeling and support in less than a year?