The massive natural disaster in South Asia 10 days ago was not only an immense loss of human life and an even greater multiplying of human misery. Those facts are profoundly obvious and stir at the heart-strings of any soul with an ounce of compassion. You can still give to World Vision (one of many organizations doing remarkable work in the ravaged countries) via the Rocky Mountain Alliance donation page.
But the aftermath of the disaster and the earliest relief efforts have pointed clearly to some startling geopolitical changes in recent decades. Most remarkable seems to be the petulant whining of the United Nations relief agency. While the U.N.’s relevance and credibility gradually diminish, Euro-elitists like Jan Egeland and Clare Short have apoplectic fits that the once-esteemed international body is not front-and-center stage to lead and coordinate the relief efforts. Check out the brilliant piece by Mark Steyn.
Opinion Journal’s Brendan Miniter explores the significance of the United States military intervention in bringing relief aid and what that means for al-Qaeda terrorists planning and training in Malaysia. Who is “winning hearts and minds” in that region – if anyone?
And then there’s what lies ahead for a place like Indonesia, the hardest hit of all the nations. Ralph Peters speculates on what the tsunami’s devastating impact will mean for local Islamic sects as clerics and other religious leaders attempt to interpret the significance of the disaster. An interesting investigation into the cross-boundaries of death, disaster, religious faith, society, and geologic activity.
Natural disasters of such magnitude are horrible, traumatic events that mere words can neither encapsulate nor mollify. But it’s helpful to be reminded they don’t occur in a vacuum, either. What will the tsunami’s impact be on the future of the United Nations, the role of the United States in international affairs, the outcome of elections in Iraq, the war on terrorism? All somewhat difficult to contemplate at this point, though not as difficult as fathoming the breadth of human suffering in South Asia.