U.S. Military ‘Should Prioritize’ Issues Surrounding Humanitarian Response

“The scale of the U.S. military’s response to the disastrous Haiyan Typhoon in the Philippines has been impressive … But military-led disaster relief is not only a humanitarian imperative — it can also serve a larger strategic imperative as a part of U.S. foreign policy,” Erik Brattberg, a fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, writes in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” He says “four key reasons” underline “the strategic importance of the U.S. military’s role in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.” “First, and most obviously, providing disaster relief helps boost U.S. soft power in the world”; “Second, disaster relief can help contain some of the negative consequences of major disasters from spreading elsewhere in the world”; “Third, disaster relief is also an opportunity for the U.S. military to forge stronger multilateral security relationships with other countries’ militaries”; “Finally, military-led disaster relief reinforces the view of America as an indispensable nation,” Brattberg writes. “Given the growing importance of disaster relief, the U.S. military should prioritize these issues even more in coming years,” he adds (11/21).