Why We Should Care

Why do we as a nation feel the need to donate our time, money and resources to those thousands of miles away?  The vast majority of living Americans will never meet those receiving the aid or even get any sort of short-term benefit from these actions.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve read or heard “national debt is going to be a burden on future generations” or how Bush’s/Obama’s policies are ruining the future.  The reason developed nations support those in need is because it will produces long-term benefits for all parties involved.

 

The first question many will ask is: why should we care about what happens thousands of miles away when we have so many problems at home?  The world is changing.  Global economies, communication systems and technology have greatly reduced the impact of geographic separation.  Not only do we know what happens across the globe, we can also meaningfully impact those situations.  We, as human beings, have an innate desire to preserve human life.  There are laws in almost every nation that punish murder and actions that unfairly affect other peoples’ lives.  Today, with this ability to render aid all over the world, we can sow the means to preserve life all over the world.   President Carter once said, “if you’re totally illiterate and living on one dollar a day, the benefits of globalization never come to you.”  Imagine if you lived in a place that had no power, no medicine and no roads; the global community is rising and we can’t simply forget about those that aren’t yet involved.

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Some will inevitably scoff at the notion that America, already almost $17 trillion dollars in debt, will benefit from trillion dollar aid initiatives.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Take “Power Aid,” an initiative to increase access to power to sub-Saharan Africa that the United States has pledged $7 billion dollars to support.  Finally, after so many failed humanitarian missions, the global community is focusing on long-term solutions.  The initial goal is to provide power, but this program will eventually enable better medicine, communication, protection and industry.  These nations will become self-sustaining.  America aiding this cause will provide goodwill and strengthen global ties.  America has, deserved or not, an imperialist reputation in many parts of the world.  Helping, through assistance not force, will enable America to sway many of its detractors and create a stronger global community.  Need something more tangible?  This $7 billion dollar investment will greatly help our economy.  Maybe not today, but in the future.  So many are upset as what they see as a bleak future for American youths, and this is a great way to turn that around.   The Power Africa fact sheet states “Power Africa will build on Africa’s enormous power potential, including new discoveries of vast reserves of oil and gas, and the potential to develop clean geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy.  It will help countries develop newly-discovered resources responsibly, build out power generation and transmission, and expand the reach of mini-grid and off-grid solutions” (Fact Sheet).  Lending a hand today could very well lead to shaking hands in partnership tomorrow.  Not only will Africa’s economy benefit the African people, it will also provide another trade partner.  Like Hillary Clinton said, “The growth of the developing world presents a major economic opportunity for American business today and a thousand opportunities tomorrow” (Porter).

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We cannot, and should not, ignore those in need just because it is inconvenient or because they are thousands of miles away.  Ensuring peace requires that we help others in good faith. Want to help future generations? Then support initiatives like “Power Aid” that truly have the future in mind.

 

FACT SHEET: Power Africa. White House Office of the Press Secretary. June 30, 2012. Web. June 3 2013.

Jimmy Carter. NobelPeaceLaureates.org. 2002. Web. July 3, 2013.

Polman, Linda. War Games: The Story of Aid and War in Modern times.  Viking Press. 2010. Print.

Porter, Charlene.  Foreign Aid Support US Economic Growth, Clinton Says. US Embassy. July 12, 2011. Web. July 3, 2013.

Lincoln, Blanche. Why US Foreign Aid Still Makes Sense. Politico. October 22, 2012. Web. July 3, 2013.

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