First aid, then trade?

Mary Kenny looks at the huge amount of aid being given by the Irish people – now moving swiftly past the €10 million mark – and notes that per head of population this puts the the Republic just behind the Norwegians in terms of generousity. But, she warns, whilst pumping money in can be effective in the early stages of recovery, trade is more likely to drive aid in the longer term.

Hamish McRae reiterates her argument in the same paper:

There is a commercial aspect to this. I’d hope that we can learn how to make ourselves more open to the products and services that these countries have developed and will now redevelop. The trade restrictions of the developed world are really pretty inexcusable in political, economic or moral terms. If the disaster creates an impetus for the practical detailed changes in Western trade policy needed to open our markets, then some good will have come of it.

The current Blue Peter-like obsession with figures and league table performances has helped create extraordinary interest in the plight of developing communities in Asia.

The question is, will people remain engaged when recovery rather than relief is the primary aim?

  • peteb

    Hmm.. While the per head of population figure for donations may well be very generous, Glenn Reynolds posts Mark Steyn’s typically acerbic comments from the Telegraph – If America were to emulate Ireland and Norway, there’d be a lot more dead Indonesians and Sri Lankans

    More interestingly, he also links The Diplomad blog on the same topic. It includes criticism of the UN – The UN continues to send its best product, bureaucrats. Just today the city’s Embassies got a letter from the local UN representative requesting a meeting for “Ms. Margareeta Wahlstrom, United Nations Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for Humanitarian Assistance in Tsunami-afected countries.” Wow! Put that on a business card! And she must be really, really special because she has the word “coordinator” twice in her title!

    and the EU – Ah, my wise friends, guess which model of “action” the EU chose? No need to emulate those “cowboys” from Australia and the USA with their airplanes and loading crews working round-the-clock; oh, no, much too tacky, sweaty and dirty. No need to feed into the system those goofy Aussiyankeebushowardian New World Anglo-Saxons already have created. No, they’ll follow the much more elegant Kofi Annan model. A couple of EU planners have shown up to begin making arrangements for an assessment team to arrive, etc., etc., you know the rest. Meanwhile, people die.

    The Diplomad also quotes from a “January 2 report.. written by local Dutch diplomats who traveled to Aceh and saw the reality on the ground.” – US military have unloaded lots of heavy vehicles and organize the logistics with Indonesian military near the airport. A big camp is being set up at a major square in the town. Huge generators are ready to provide electricity. US helicopters fly to places which haven’t been reached for the whole week and drop food. The impression it makes on the people is also highly positive; finally something happens in the city of Banda Aceh and finally it seems some people are in control and are doing something. No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground.

  • peteb
  • Mick Fealty

    Steyn’s interesting because he often openly states a difficult and uncomfortable truth. In this case (with regard to Ireland at least), – it seems more a case of stating the bleeding obvious!

    Mark Weston adds his own thoughts as to the role of poverty in driving up the effects of this natural disaster.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Jim Allister is correct to denounce the European Union for not giving enough!

  • Fraggle

    christopher, Allister is a crass opportunist. he would vote for reducing the EU budget if he could. ‘denounce’. what bollocks. he should should suggest they donate more, not donounce the EU. the money given by the EU is in addition to that given by the nation states such as the €500million donated by Germany.

    I don’t like the nasty tone of that telegraph article. ireland and norway, suprise suprise, don’t have a giant navies in the pacific ready to help out but they have done what they can and donated generously.

    I wonder will Bush charge the cost of use of the USAF against the money he says the USA is donating. Also, loved the start of Jeb Bush’s election campaign.

  • D’Oracle

    We must all be delighted that the US is using its naval assets to deliver on the ground.

    Given the changes in the US approach to the rest of the world over the past few years -such as its doctrine on preemptive attacks on others, this episode again underlines the need for the UN to acquire and operate a standing airlift capacity of its own – some transports and choppers to support legitimate global logistical needs to move men and in this case food etc to/from trouble or disaster spots.