It is by now both a waste of time and a lesson in shark-jumping to call attention to the level of American aid being ramped up for the tsunami victims. And with this article the tired meme that the US isn't or won't do "enough" can now be properly placed where it belongs.
What is worth studying, however, is what makes the US so eager to help out people in catstophes and able to send that help.
Markets and liberty make it possible for normal Americans to dig into their pockets, donate food and clothing, even drop what they're doing and pitch in. It is precisely because of the immense wealth created by our free market economy that we are able to respond to disasters around the world. And the uniquely American faith in commerce enables those who would, in other countries, be more inclined to let government do the heavy lifting to actually be part of the solution.
Activism is an American birthright. Not the activism you see in the streets of Seattle or DC but true action that demands results. This emphasis on results is what separates America from the general body of nations and certainly alienates us from the UN. While Kofi Annan likes to talk about "intentions" and "processes" what he's really talking about is the failure (some would say "intention") to get anything done.
This is why, while Annan continued to ply the slopes of Jackson Hole, Bush was meeting with advisors and formulating a plan, ignoring the carping coming from Turtle Bay. It is also why Bush formed the rescue alliance with Japan, Australia and India.
Because as the UN proceeds, the US marches. And the battle is joined.