U.S. International Assistance Efforts: Are They Enough?

Knowing whether or not to get involved with other countries’ affairs is a major political dilemma. Politicians and ambassadors must decide when intervening in another country’s affairs will be ultimately helpful or harmful. Unfortunately, most of the time, the drive behind this decision is not based on the wellbeing of the citizens of either country, but rather by greed and corruption.

While the United States continues to fight in wars driven by oil, humanitarian crises are unwrapping and developing further every day. People around the world live in famine, try to recover from natural disasters, and live in warzones. Instead of helping those in need (in our own country or otherwise), our politicians insist on sending in troops only where it is most profitable.

Meanwhile, countries and people all over the world continue to struggle through humanitarian crises and don’t receive much — if any — help from the U.S. government. Some of these crises include:

Of course, these are few of the many. There are always internal and external battles going on between countries, but history remembers those who cause the damage and those who aid the ones in need.

Ignorance is a Death Sentence

Every individual person on the planet is going through their own internal struggles. It is easy to focus on the comment your coworker made that could have been a passive insult, catching up with all the new shows on Netflix, or even to just get caught up on your errands.

During World War II, it was just as easy for people to ignore problems. Many people claim they didn’t know what was going on at the time, and some even deny that the Holocaust even happened. While one shouldn’t compare past tragedies to today’s events, the truth is that there are always horrifying events going on around the world.

Ignorance of these problems and the lack of aid only make things worse. While we can’t help every country with every dilemma, we should be making as much of an effort as we can to aid in the face of humanitarian crises. Ignoring the people in need around the world is a death sentence for them.

Offering Shelter and Asylum

Though political issues can be complex and intervening can lead to war, there are other ways countries can help those in humanitarian crises. There are many ways to help those in other countries. Nonprofits can be a great source to helping developing nations in poverty or helping to resettle refugees seeking safety for themselves and their families.

Offering refugees assistance in finding shelter, safety, and asylum is one of the best ways to help in international crises, and many cities in the U.S. are dedicated to doing this. Boise, ID, for example, took in more Syrian refugees than Los Angeles and New York combined at one point.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration has reduced funding for such nonprofits and has reduced the cap on the number of refugees allowed to enter the country several times. World Relief, one of three refugee nonprofits in Boise, closed because of this.

War and Nationalism

Recently, Donald Trump ordered an airstrike on Syria in response to chemical attacks. While this might seem like a response to help the Syrian rebels, there are many aspects of this dilemma to consider, like the number of refugees allowed into the country.

According to a press release by the International Rescue Committee, the annual average of refugees taken in by the United States is 95,000. The Trump administration lowered the cap of refugees allowed in the United States to 45,000, but only allowed 21,292 in 2017. Recently, as stated in the press release, only .05 percent of Syrian refugees and 1 percent of Iraqi refugees seeking safety have been admitted to the U.S.

Part of the problem is generated discrimination of “outsiders” and blaming groups of people, such as refugees, for our problems, such as violence or poverty.  While patriotism is the pride one has for their own country, nationalism is an extreme form of it that can spread discrimination and lead to hate crimes.

This has been the case with the current administration, according to BBC, as hate crimes surged after Trump’s election. Hate crimes are a traumatic experience that often require counseling. The attitude the Trump administration has towards refugees shows that they don’t really care about the crisis going on in Syria, despite their response to chemical attacks.

Though it’s easy to ignore the issue or tell ourselves that it isn’t our problem, the fact is that there is too much that we can do to help to continue closing our doors to those in need. There are many people around the world trying to find safety from war, poverty, and famine. As one of the most powerful countries in the world, we are not doing enough. We need to do more.


Geo SiqueAuthor: Geo Sique is a content creator from Boise, ID. Passionate about social justice, she frequently writes articles on culture and societal issues and aspires to make a positive impact through her writing.