As Americans we should feel obligated because our industries have made their deserts grow, and their wells dry. As Westerners we saw them and their land as a commodity, drew our borders in their sand, and destabilized their entire continent. As people we are obligated by brotherhood.
A poll conducted in 2000 found that the average American thought we spent 20% of our federal budget on foreign aid, when in reality it's less than 1%. That is about 1/30th our defense spending pre-Iraq. In terms of GNP spent we provide less than every other country in the Western world. People are starving, and people are dying from diseases we haven't worried about in America for over a century, but for some reason Israel receives more developmental assistance from us than Ethiopia- a country where only six percent of the population has access to safe sanitation, and seventy-eight percent go without safe drinking water.
We have a war on terror, a war on drugs, a war on crime, but no war on poverty. Famine and hopelessness don't poll well because the ones polled have never seen a loved one starved to death. It's not a hot topic because our streets aren't filled with twelve million children orphaned by AIDs. The struggle in Africa is not on the daily news, it is not in our nation's consciousness. People are living in conditions we don't let animals suffer in this country and we don't care. And we wonder why people hate us.