American foreign policy is a mess, much of the world is mad at us, and our power seems to be declining. But there is one area that America does well and the rest of the world knows it and respects us for it: Whenever a disaster strikes anywhere in the world, the United States government and its citizens are really, really generous. Whereas our rivals–I’m thinking of you, China–just aren’t.
We shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back, but the diplomatic and political effects of American generosity are playing themselves out in typhoon-ravaged Philippines. So reports international affairs columnist Anne Applebaum. [Read more…]