Haiti was once a colony of France, which left behind a legacy of dependency and corruption. Haiti was once occupied and administered by the US Marine Corps, which left behind a system of roads, infrastructure and vocational education. So I suppose there was bound to be some friction as the two countries reprise their roles, but this, I think, is going rather too far:
The French minister in charge of humanitarian relief called on the UN to “clarify” the American role amid claims the military build up was hampering aid efforts.
Alain Joyandet admitted he had been involved in a scuffle with a US commander in the airport’s control tower over the flight plan for a French evacuation flight.
“This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti,” Mr Joyandet said.
Geneva-based charity Medecins Sans Frontieres backed his calls saying hundreds of lives were being put at risk as planes carrying vital medical supplies were being turned away by American air traffic controllers.
At issue seems to be the US preference for systematically deploying forces to generate more effective aid distribution while providing enhanced security versus a well meant desire to get something – anything – done, immediately.
Hopefully, calmer heads will prevail, all the way around. It’s important to get aid flowing now, and it’s equally important to get aid flowing smoothly – the two goals are not incompatible, but they will require the teaming effort of all partners. Not fighting words.