America’s Global Responsibility

Jeffrey Sach’s Op-ed in Saturday’s NYTimes is interesting, if only because it calls for a much larger role for the United States than is currently being played, yet ignores many of the obvious problems that have plagued international aid in the past two decades.
Instead of trying to develop new ideas on how to send aid to countries ruled by tyrants or armed gangs who take all of the aid to themselves (see Somalia or Saddam era-Iraq), thereby rendering whatever aid sent ineffectual, Sachs simply repeats the same critique heard over and over in liberal circles–that we need to employ more soft power and less hard power.
So while Sachs is entirely correct in my book for urging more US international involvement to improve conditions for human beings across the world, his willful ignorance of international conditions that would render such aid useless is a major strike against his argument. And until someone synthesizes the two arguments–for soft and hard power–I fear we will continue to live in a world were America’s power is needed but feared, and therefore only half-effectual.


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