Wednesday, October 12, 2005

**UPDATE**: Earthquake in South Asia - U.S. Should Help

A columnist for the National Review also thinks the U.S. should do all it can to help the people hit by the devastating earthquake that hit Pakistan this week, and sees an opportunity to improve the U.S.' image in the region by doing so.

Let's face it: we can probably do more to improve the U.S.' image in the Muslim world by aiding in this disaster than Karen Hughes - President Bush's undersecretary of state for public dimplomacy - could probably do in four years. That's not a swipe at her. Rather, there's still something to be said for that old adage that "actions speak louder than words".

Besides, its not as if Muslim countries are all that open to what the U.S. has to say anyway. That's unfortunate, but its a reality we've got to deal with if we are going to win this war on terror. We have an opportunity in this disaster to make a change public opinion of the U.S. in the heartland of one of the central fronts of the war on terror. The U.S. should do all it can to help.

That the battered people of Kashmir — some of the most beautiful and peace loving on Earth — were forced to accept the loss of everything material during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of sacrifice, seemed incomprehensibly unjust.

But from every injustice and tragedy also arises opportunity to correct what has gone wrong before. This is one time the opportunity should not be lost. There is a global need to correct how governments manage humanitarian crises caused by natural disasters; there is a regional need for Pakistan and India to engage each other in a way that for once genuinely benefits the people of Kashmir by using the humanitarian crisis as the face-saving cover to resolve their half-century old feud; there is an opportunity nationally for Pakistan’s government to redefine its commitment to provide for its disaffected citizens, and there is a grand opportunity for America to redefine itself as the caring and supportive nation it has always been, but that nobody in the Muslim world seems to see. (National Review Online)


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