Trump cut aid to Yemen healthcare system during critical time of coronavirus

Agustin Aliaga ’21

After the Houthi rebel group, an Iranian backed militant organization fighting in the Yemen Civil War imposed a 2% tax on all external humanitarian aid coming into the regions it controls, President Donald Trump has decided to not only cut back on aid but to cut all funds for already crippled Yemeni healthcare systems.  The move comes not only as a global surprise but during a time of high vulnerability that is the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Yemen is especially vulnerable to the virus as its healthcare systems not only rely on foreign investment that is being cut, but its internally displaced people live in densely populated refugee camps with low sanitary conditions making it inevitable for the virus to spread quickly and fatally if it is able to reach the region according to Michael LaForgia of The New York Times

Flag map of Yemen – Erdemuygar via Wikimedia Commons

    Democrats have taken serious discontent with the president’s foreign policy particularly when it could be so detrimental to millions of people. However, Trump’s move represents far more than his irresponsibility on the world stage but a central lack of compassion in his policy motivated by a burning political desire.

     It is simply undeniable that this stems from the president’s “America First” policy. Inevitably finding problems with providing aid to the most vulnerable people in the world, the president has taken the opportunity to capitalize on his foreign policy message to his voters that says he is perfectly capable of removing 20% of a nation’s foreign direct investment (FDI). Leaders both locally and in Yemen have explained the kind of devastation this could bring.

     The United Nations Humanitarian Aid Coordinator in Yemen, Lise Grande explained, “There is no question. We are running out of money. Many of the operations which keep people alive will close next month if funding doesn’t come very soon. Already health, protection, and water programmes are being scaled back.”

Despite the recklessness of President Trump’s foreign policy, the American position on this issue represents an even larger problem that is far more important than a single president.

     Despite the recklessness of President Trump’s foreign policy, the American position on this issue represents an even larger problem that is far more important than a single president. This conflict which has put more than 22 million people in hunger and many others to death has been spurred by the selfish execution of interests by the Middle Eastern power of Saudi Arabia.

     Whether it be the unrelenting pursuit of fighting Iran from every angle possible or for the massive Saudi oil shipments, the U.S. has, for years, blindly supported the actions of the Saudi regime and in exchange for the modern gold that is oil sold the nation military equipment allowing for the continuation of this horrible and unnecessary war.

     While the president has turned this support into a political message and a needless conflict with Iran, his actions have brought to the surface the immorality of American foreign policy in the Middle East with respect to Saudi Arabia.