Home/Daniel Larison/Haley’s Absurd Rhetoric and the Starvation of Yemen

Haley’s Absurd Rhetoric and the Starvation of Yemen

Nikki Haley appeared on Face the Nation yesterday, and she was asked why Trump had proposed cuts to humanitarian aid funding when millions are at risk of starving to death in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. This is part of her answer:

Famine is something that, when you look at those four areas, we’re extremely concerned about it. The United States has always been the moral conscience of the world.

We are going to continue to express our values and continue to make sure we show that, not just in our words, but in our actions.

Haley failed to explain how stripping funds from U.N. aid organizations that need more funding than they currently have to prevent famine in these countries demonstrates the administration’s supposed extreme concern. Her answer would be laughable if the situation weren’t so serious. The conceit that the U.S. is the “moral conscience of the world” at a time when the U.S. is actively supporting a military campaign that has taken Yemen to the brink of famine is absurd and offensive. Millions of people are being starved by the Saudi-led coalition that our government has actively supported in this war from the start, but Haley didn’t have to address that because she was never asked about it.

As usual, U.S. officials don’t acknowledge our role in wrecking and starving Yemen and are never asked to defend it. Haley was not asked about the U.S. role or our responsibility for helping to create the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. If she had been asked, the moral and strategic bankruptcy of current U.S. policy would be exposed without much difficulty. Failing to ask her about this is an especially regrettable oversight when the decision to support the coalition’s attack on the port of Hodeidah is likely to come later this week. An attack on the port would exacerbate the humanitarian crisis that is already threatening the lives of millions, and the U.N. has specifically warned against taking such action because of the horrible, predictable consequences that it would have. Our ambassador to the U.N. should be made to answer why this administration is getting ready to do something that the U.N. expects will result in disaster for millions of people.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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