T Nation

Helping Japan


By now I'm sure most of us know of the earthquake and tsunami that have since kicked the shit out of the Japanese people, and the two nuclear reactors on their island that are, more or less, preparing to meltdown.

Now, I haven't been keeping too up to date on the issue, but I've caught snippets here and there. Just a few minutes ago I learned that the United States is going to be offering relief to Japan, similar to what we did for Haiti. I don't know about everyone else around here, but I have a problem with this action (I did when we helped Haiti too). It's not because I hate the Haitian people or the Japanese people, or any other kind of people we help during a disaster. No, my problem is that until the shit hits the fan, we're the most hated people on earth and no one gives a shit about us except for how they can bring us to our knees the fastest. For example, when hurricane Katrina hit, how many nations sent us aid? Last time I checked the number was a big, fat zero.

Another thing that bothers me is that we're expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to help everyone when we're already trillions of dollars in the hole. What are we doing, using Monopoly money to pay for stuff now?!

In all honesty, I understand the need being expressed by these people, and I do think they desperately need the help, but I do not think that the United States should have to bear the brunt of the weight. What are other nations doing to help? Great Britain, Scandinavia, France, Germany... hell even Russia and China! Where are these people and what are they doing to help?! If the U.S. is supposed to be helping then the rest of the world damn well better get their shit moving too. We are in no position to be playing hero at the expense of the taxpayer.

We already have a "huge issue" staring us in the face with the Libya crisis (with a president who can't decide whether he wants to play the hypocrisy card by invading or not) and the price of oil skyrocketing, as well as a slew of homegrown issues already taking up a chunk of our time.

Don't we have constant natural issues plaguing us out in California all the time? What about all the hurricanes that hit the Gulf coast, destroying millions of dollars worth of property? Where's the rest of the world to come to our aid when we need it? I know we're supposed to be the good guys and set the example, but I think it's about time the rest of the world actually followed the example.

I don't expect you all to agree with me, but I would like to know why we're always expected to help everyone, but at the same time everyone wants us to mind our own business.


literally took 2 seconds googling


Maybe you should check again about foreign aid supplied to the U.S. after Hurrican Katrina. I agree, it seems like we get slammed. But we DO receive aid from other countries when we need it. I don't think I need to remind you of the international community's generous response after 9/11.

Also, while this is anecdotal evidence and this claim is near impossible to accurately quantify, the U.S. isn't nearly as hated around the world as you'd think. Sure, we're hated by many countries and this is what gets a lot of airplay from the mainstream conservative media AND the mainstream liberal media. But the reality is that there are also many, many countries whose citizenry generally loves America. My sister is in Southeast Asia right now and she says that every country she's been in the people seem genuinely enamored with her and her friend on the basis of their citizenship here. This has held true for her in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, China (Hong Kong), Laos, Cambodia and the Phillippines. My grandmother has been to literally at least a hundred countries, and her experiences are the same, as are mine in El Salvador.

People in other countries "expect" us to give aid when it's needed because, even in the current economic climate, we are the most capable country of doing so. Part of what makes America such a great country, the greatest in the world, is our willingness to give so much to those in need. And we don't do so with the expectation that these countries must return the favor; we do it because it is the right thing to do and it's part of the American fabric to do so.

Calls for us to withhold aid based on the egregiously ignorant, inaccurate assumption that we get zero money in our times of need is exactly what's wrong with this country and, quite frankly, the OP and his attitude is part of the problem. There is certainly some hypocrisy involved with some of our aid, as there is in all things. This country stands for something, for something that many countries who openly profess their hate of us do NOT stand for. To withhold aid from countries that NEED it because we aren't as well liked around the world as we'd like to be flies in the face what this country stands for. We don't stand for money and profit margins and bottom lines, although we are slipping down that path and THAT is where a lot of anger and hatred toward and against us comes from. If we want to "return" to the former splendor and glory that this country once enjoyed, we'd better continue to provide aid and place compassion for our fellow human beings ahead of our incessant desire to be "well-liked" and to collect vast amounts of wealth.


My english class was based around a book about a doctor in Haiti. One report I wrote explored the topic of why Haiti is poor, and the fact is America (along with France) is the reason Haiti is in such poverty.

I just bring this up because Americans love to shout about how much "aid" America gives to Haiti, while ignoring the fact that America refused to recognize Haitis independence for a few decades, refused commerce with it, lavished "aid" on murderous dictators, and enacted a damaging embargo after the first coup of Aristide.

The whole "America is too damn generous" angle just isn't in line with reality.


Excellent post, DB.

.." We (Americans) do these things (like go to the moon) AND other things, NOT because they are easy...but because they are hard..."


I also think that as Americans, despite our own struggles, we should always be willing to reach out to others...its who we are.



Natural disasters transcend nationality. Who gives a shit what country they come from? We help our fellow human beings when they are dying/missing/starving in massive numbers. I have more in common with many Japanese people than I do with many of my fellow Americans.


I apologize for my ignorance then. I wasn't aware how much aid we've received from other nations.

I don't think we shouldn't help, but I just don't see how we can do it without burning ourselves further. We're already so far into debt that getting out is going to be nearly impossible, so adding more debt by helping out is royally screwing us.

We can't let the tax rates fly through the roof because that just kills the average American financially, but on the other hand, we can't just get rid of every public program out there and cut spending while expecting the problem to fix itself. What I was trying to say is that America shouldn't be at the forefront of the aid program when we're not capable of paying for everything ourselves. If people like Donald Trump or Bill Gates want to give billions of dollars to help, more power to them, but those of us who barely skim the surface shouldn't have to pay for all of it. It's just not a feasible solution.

I have no argument against helping our fellow humans, but I think before we just throw money at the problem we need to make sure it's going to do as little damage to us as possible.

One possible way we could cut down on the cost of all this is for a trade of sorts to occur. We give resources to the Japanese and for the next few years they give us cars, tech, and stuff for little to no cost. I know it's not just giving without return, but typically if someone does you a huge favor you try to make sure you repay the favor if you can. Especially if they're in a time of need. Wouldn't our economic state count as such?

Idk it seems like there are ways we can do this where just about everyone will benefit. If we're trading back and forth with our allies more than trying to suck up to places like Russia and China you'd think that we could begin to fix things. But instead we do things like hold a state dinner for a dictator, showing him that he can come here, disrespect us, and we'll give him valuable technology that he can potentially use against us while he gives us cheap, worthless shit in return.

Also, I don't know what it's like everywhere around the country, but I've noticed in places that I've lived that a lot of the time people will go out of their way to help someone a million miles away, but they won't give so much as a dollar to places that aid the homeless or the downtrodden. What's up with that?


I'm not a religious person by any means, but this reminds me of the old parable about the rich guy who sits in the front of the church and makes a big spectacle out of giving a boatload of money at collection time so that everyone can see how great he is, even though the money he gives doesn't make a dent in his overall wealth.

Then there's the little old lady who sits anonymously in the back and gives one coin each week, the only coin she has. Maybe this country should start trying to be more like the old woman and less like the boastful man in the front row. We shouldn't expect praise in return for our donations, we shouldn't make a big deal about it, we shouldn't make a big deal if other countries can't afford to give us much money when we need it, and I don't think that we should take into account profit margins and things like that when we give money to people who desperately need it after tragedies like these. There are more important things in life than money, and maybe if America began to embrace this concept more, we wouldn't look at a recession as being such a big deal when we realize that there are people around the world who are so fucking poor, living on a nickel a day, they'd risk life and limb to live here, even in our rough economic times.


Well said. The recession hasn't been fun by any means but for many people it has meant going to Jersey for vacation instead of the Bahamas, etc. (incidentally it has meant much much less for the assholes that caused it in the first place).

Poor people in America live in shitty houses and buy cheap food and take public transportation. It isn't an easy life here but I've walked through slums in India where the bodies of the living were so emaciated and so still that I thought they were corpses.

We don't have it so bad here that we can't help our brothers and sisters in Japan in such a time of need.


More importantly where is all the help from the various militant Muslim sects that love to call the USA "The Great Satan." Oh yeah, I forgot their evil bastards. And we are the good guys!


Uh...yeah, because you know our debt is way more important then helping our fellow man in a time of crisis. As well, when did we start only giving charity to other countries so we can receive something? That's not charity, that's commerce.

And, the world over offered help with Katrina, American only accepted 5% of what was offered.


Proof. Maybe, instead of your just blatant hatred.


There are always limits to what and how to help, but we should be the first in line to do what we can. It is always the duty of the strong to protect the weak, else strength is wasted.


Well then the rest of this is a bunch of contrived bullshit.

It's called sacrifice for a reason, you can't do it without doing damage, to have the mindset of as little damage as possible is the wrong attitude to have, because usually the greatest good will cause the greatest damage.


Japan is a large economy and the world economy is fragile as it is. It's in our best interest economically to help them.

Personally I think we should help as much as we can as often as we can, but that's just me. Oh and for clarificaiton I don't mean with tax dollars I mean with personal donations.




Can anyone tell me if the services we donate are factored in to the dollar amount that will be contributed? I know you'll see C-17s full of stuff to help out, and many personnel will be involved in cleanup efforts. Is this part of the contribution we see?


In what organization, I usually give to CRS, so there is a 3-4% administration fee and the rest goes to buying stuff to help those that the servers are taking care of, most of the time the volunteers are volunteering they do not get paid for their services and have to raise their own salary.


In what organization, I usually give to CRS, so there is a 5% administration (fundraising, advertising, and administration) fee and the rest goes to buying stuff to help those that the servers are taking care of, most of the time the volunteers are volunteering they do not get paid for their services and have to raise their own salary.


So you can claim my sources are shit and everything you don't want to hear is a lie? Nah.