Hundreds of thousands of people have died, the U.N. Mission has collapsed, the government is not working (was it ever?), and hundreds of thousands or maybe millions of people are living in the streets without reliable food or water supplies. The hospitals and schools have collapsed. The airport is shut down. The port is very badly damaged. The Haitian Penitentiary has collapsed and the inmates — tough guys most of them — are running free for the foreseeable future. There is no viable police force or army.
In other words, it’s not just a matter of offering extra food aid for two or three years.
Some of the comments are illuminating and help explain why the US gets involved in so many wars.
It’ll probably be easier and cheaper to annex and administer Haiti as a US territory or a US state
Hey, here’s an crazy idea. Ask the people who live there, the Haitians, what they’d like to see happen. Too often the US feels it has the god-given right to charge into sovereign nations without bothering to consult with the inhabitants. Clearly, we know what’s best for them. Yes, that’s worked out so well in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, hasn’t it?
Given that the US overthrew the popular Aristide in 2004 and replaced him with a compliant thug, chances are more than a few Haitians aren’t feeling all that warm and fuzzy about the US, even if we do ship in massive amounts of food, shelter, and medicine. Just saying.
Even so, maybe Haiti could function as a US state or territory. If they wanted to, and after consultation with them and the other countries in the region. But not as a unilateral decision by the US. It should be up to them, not us.
Very rapidly, President Obama needs to come to terms with the idea that the country of Haiti, as we knew it, probably does not exist any more.
Is there any scenario in which the survivors, twenty years from now, are better off, compared to the quake never having taken place?
a) The US / UN tries to run it. Good luck with that. Unless Haitians genuinely want it that way and have a major role in the process.
b) Haiti becomes a refuge for drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering, botnets, etc.
c) Something else.
Yes, we should absolutely get food, shelter, and doctors there now. But for all practical purposes, Haiti is no longer a functioning country. Something will fill that vacuum. We don’t know what yet.