Why is the tsunami relief such a race to prove one's country's superiority?

There have already been several threads that amount to a pissing contest about who donated how much and when. Frankly, of all the stupid and trivial things to argue, why is this such a strong need to constantly re-affirm oneself of one’s country’s superiority? This is nationalism and jingoism all over again. It is also antics one would find all over playgrounds across the world. “Oh yea? My dad blah-blah”

I simply see it as the poster’s fear that their country isn’t “the best” and affirming that everyone else is wrong. Charitable donations are a pretty stupid way to do this, I think… but on the other hand, if it gets more money donated, maybe it is a good thing afterall.

Or, for example, the recent post about Muslim nations “not donating enough.” Does the poster not understand that though a country may be rich in resources, its people and government may still be poor? Do countries with economies smaller than one of our states need to donate as much as us in order to not be evil? What is the forumla for being a good guy?

And how much concern do these people have that many of the areas hit by the tsunami were impovershed and suffering in the first place? Where was the international generosity then? Does it take a disaster to make people care about other people?

Compared to other, more distructive or wasteful pissing contests that countries have engaged in, such as ownership of the Falkland islands, or who can build the biggest battleship, I think it’s a good sign that the way to prove you have the biggest geopolitical balls has become who can help the most Sri_Lankan orphans.

Sure it’s a little :rolleyes:, and we’d prefer to think that donations come out of pure selfless altruism, but all things considered, I think its a good thing.

So come on US, keep those dollars coming, we can’t let the Krauts be more generous then we are!!

I thought countries competing to donate lots of money to help people is good… compared to arms races like in the cold war, etc. BTW, I think the Australian government is donating about AUS$1 billion so far… :slight_smile:

BTW, remember how Bush initially announced that the US government would donate $15 million… then a bit later they said $35 million… then $350 million. If there was no race, maybe the US would have stuck with $15 million.

I’m sure some of the people who want others to contribute more to the tsunami thing also want people to help out with general poverty problems. e.g. I saw some on TV from UNICEF say that they thought governments could donate more, and they also wanted people to donate more money to poor countries.

This type of pissing contect sure is much better than other kinds several posters have already mentioned.

But can we continue this? Let’s say 6 months down the road, what with the resulting refugee situation, for instance, will we still be giving?

People already forgot about the Bam earthquake. Very little money has been received, though $1 billion was pledged.

Getting back to OP, this is a great opportunity for rich countries (especially western ones) to show that they do care about welfare of poorer states. I am not saying that there isn’t any hidden agenda implied. Just that everyone sees this as a big opportunity to seize on.

A one-off, high profile catastrophe like this also tends to evoke empathy moreso than messy, on-going problems like the Sudan and Rwanda violence (with its political baggage) and even the world wide Aids problem.

Bush has caused a lot of countries to have negative feelings about us.

So, when he opened the bidding with a paltry $15 million, it was promptly - and properly - labeled as ‘stingy’ and the race to shame our asses was on to show how much more compassionate other countries are compared to the U.S.

Now, to those of you who defend Bush’s initial offering as “He wanted to wait to assess the damage before committing big bucks,” then why didn’t he just say that? Why not say, we’ll do more than our fair share as usual,. We will come ip with a dollar amount later, but in the meantime we’re gearing up to provide help ASAP?

That first bid wasn’t accidental, nothing in politics is. It was a trial balloon to see how little the Administration could get away with. It blew up in their faces, but it didn’t matter.

Nothing is shameful. It is good to be greedy.

The generousity race issue was started by Republicans based on a lie, so they could bring U.S. nationalism up another notch.

A U.N. official initially said something along the lines of: “Western countries need to be more generoius in general”, and a conservative newspaper blatantly lied and repoorted it as “U.N. calls U.S.'s donation stingy.” This was never corrected in America’s conservative media, as most people still believe the lie.

Then the Republicans come out of the woodwork: “America’s the best, most generous country ever and look how much everyone hates us. They’re just jealous.” It’s just another excuse to increase U.S. nationalism and our persecution complex to get Americans to hate the rest of the world.

I guess this was what led to this Whitehouse spoof


Actually Bush did donate $10,000 of his own money, though Reuters estimates his wealth to be $13 million, not the $26 million which whitehouse.org says…

Really it’s just another manifestation of the hostility that’s broken out on all international fronts in the past few years. There’s a simmering conflict about whether it’s the United States or Europe that has developed the morally superior way of life for modern countries, and the culture warriors on either side aren’t willing to just let it drop for a few weeks and work together.

hear hear.