Friday, September 4, 2015

Rescue the Perishing, Care for the Dying...The Best Way to Help Syrian Refugees

Read the Vox article “The Best Way the US Could Help Syrians: Open the Borders”

By Dylan Matthews

“Bombing is rarely the best way to help people.”

“Morality in foreign policy isn't about bombing bad guys. It's about helping people. And usually, the best way to do that won't involve bombings at all.”

Here’s a brief excerpt:

“Ultimately, the choice was whether to commit tens of billions of dollars, and tens of thousands of US ground troops, to implement a strategy that might have toppled Assad and saved thousands of lives, but which also might have made the conflict even more brutal than it's been. The latter was probably more likely, in fact. The cost would have been considerable in any case, and the benefit very uncertain. Compared with the benefits of letting Syrian refugees into the US, which we know are great, and the costs, which we know are small, that's not a very attractive proposition.

The best humanitarian interventions don't involve the military.

Cash transfers are an extremely effective humanitarian intervention that doesn't involve the military at all.

But [military bombing] enables a strange hypocrisy. The humanitarian interventionists who would've attacked Syria, and now mourn our failure to do so, aren't [increasing our] foreign aid budget in general, perhaps to 1 percent of gross national income, like Sweden, from merely 0.2 percent.

They're not calling for reforms that make it easier for USAID and other aid agencies to spend on highly effective projects that reduce child and maternal mortality. They're not calling on the US to eliminate all quotas and tariffs on goods from poor countries, as well as farm subsidies that make it harder for poor farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to export their goods. They're certainly not calling for a massive expansion in levels of immigration to the US from...the world's absolute poorest countries.
Plenty of people in Washington like restricting immigration, especially low-skilled immigration from poor countries. Plenty of people in Washington like the idea of cutting the foreign aid budget, or perhaps eliminating it altogether.

But it's not too late to help refugees. The boats are still sailing, and sinking. Children are still dying. People are still suffering. It's not too late for the US to heed the International Rescue Committee's call for us to resettle 65,000 refugees, not the paltry 1,434 we've resettled so far. It's not too late to do the International Rescue Committee one better and let in 200,000, 500,000, 1 million even. It's not too late to make Syrian refugees' lives dramatically better.
Morality in foreign policy isn't about bombing bad guys. It's about helping people. And usually, the best way to do that won't involve bombings at all."

by Dylan Matthews

Yes, what if the U.S. and many other wealthy countries such as Saudi Arabia, Germany, Iran, and many others drastically reduced their weapons and bombs budgets and funneled that money into restoration, reconciliation, development, and in the short-term immigration and refugee rescue?

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

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