When a natural disaster happens in the United States, a governor declares a state of emergency. This makes state funds available without utilizing the usual request and approval process, and helps to gain access to federal funds as well. When a disaster happens in a country, the United States takes a proactive role to aid and assist those governments to put the pieces back together.
For less than 1% of the federal budget, the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) has been able to promote humanitarian relief and economic recovery around the world. This has come in many forms, but some of the more prominent examples are in Haiti in 2013 when the focus included training in disaster preparedness, the building of houses for displaced personnel, clearing plots for building houses, and irrigation systems restored.
After the latest earthquake in Japan, the United States sent Marine and Air Force personnel and equipment to aid in the recovery and distribution of necessary goods to the people and government. After a week of deliveries, the mission came to an end, having provided more than 230,000 pounds of supplies.
The primary means of distribution may originate through government agencies, but at the end its usually delivered by military means. That is because the large amount of military equipment throughout the world can be a platform for movement of goods by land, sea, or air. This also means that military personnel and equipment are able to move freely through the regions in support of nations. While there is a need, there is also another purpose to the humanitarian aid.
Influence is gained in a variety of ways. In some cases, it is through strength of arms, political will, capabilities, or even offerings. A country that recognizes the variety of ways to influence others will be able to demonstrate a presence that moves beyond more one-sided approaches. A great political power without a military may not impose enough threat in surrounding nations to keep them from attacking. A nation that produces more energy than it requires may influence other nations through their advancements. A country that has the capability to provide aid when aid is most needed, can create a climate that becomes more supportive in the long run.
As Japan recovers from the earthquake, the US presence and humanitarian aid directly contradicts aid from China. The United States remains a foreign government that influences the region through its trade, military capability, and geo-political influences. It keeps other nations from forming stronger ties with countries of strategic interest to the United States, and helps to ensure that the future is positive.
It is often considered the growth of soft power in this way, that over time people do not realize they are being manipulated or influenced because it simply becomes a part of the way they think. Consider that when a natural disaster occurs in the states, governors expect federal assistance. Why else would there be such an outcry at the federal governments slow process to aid people affected by hurricane Sandy. Over the years, they have been influenced to expect that the federal government will take care of them.
The ability to influence is not bad, it simply is a byproduct of our foreign policy agenda. As long as nations understand that each country is looking out for its best interests and then after that, for mutual interests, then a country will recognize what actions are truly being performed.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.