There’s a new story up over at the Washington Post: As food distribution improves, Haitians want U.S. to “take over.”
But even as food-aid workers enjoyed their most successful day since the Jan. 12 earthquake, the increasingly prominent role of U.S. troops and civilians in the capital is creating high expectations that the Obama administration is struggling to contain.
The problem is that as we’ve moved in with aid and done our best to help, there seems to a strain of thought among the Haitian people that the U.S. should just go ahead and take over the country. It’s hard not to sympathize with them. They didn’t have much of a government to begin with. They’re the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. They’ve just been hammered with a massive earthquake, after a year of getting hit with other natural disasters. In the aftermath, their government hasn’t been seen that much, and doesn’t seem to be doing that much. But there is the U.S. military. There’s the U.S. medical people, the aid organizations. As many complaints about about the efficiency and speed of those efforts as we may – sometimes justifiably – make, they’re doing something. The Haitian people are doing a “compare and contrast” to their own government. Unfortunately, the conclusion they’re reaching is the one we don’t want.
It’s a weird feeling – to have people starting to think about asking us to take their country over. It points out a problem we’re going to face in the near future. How to restore – and improve – Haiti’s capability to self-govern. I don’t have the answers, but it’s a question we should be thinking about. Because, no, we can’t do that. Sorry.