Update: Exiled Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide has helpfully offered to return to Haiti. Since “anarchy” was reigning, what’s to stop him from making a play to run the place? I’m sure he thinks of this as a favor to President Obama and salvation for the Haitians themselves. Such is the mischief that sending ten thousand troops onto the supposedly sovereign soil of a supposedly legitimate government brings front and center.

President Obama, you do realize that after those stories that “no one” is in charge of Haiti and there’s complete anarchy, putting 10k troops on the ground essentially makes Haiti a “de facto” possession of the United States, right? You realize, I hope, that no matter the U.S.’ protestations to the contrary, that’s how it’s going to look to the entirety of the world, and in particular, to the residents of Haiti themselves?

I’m not saying that’s a “bad thing,” but in terms of strategy, and optics, isn’t this establishing a dependent relationship that the world will blame the U.S. for breaking if the U.S. tries to insist that this is just a “temporary” operation, and tries to leave while Haiti is still in pieces?

In child support, even if a man is not the biological father of a child, his paying for the support of that child causes the courts to deem that the child is dependent on him, and therefore, for the good of the child, that support must be commanded by force of law to continue. Obviously there is no court to order the U.S. to keep Haiti but, in terms of the apparent moral dimension, taking responsibility for Haiti now means taking responsibility for Haiti until it is ready to stand on its feet.

Haiti hasn’t been ready to stand on its feet for going on thirty years. Has anyone thought this through?

I have been busy for a few days but as I said on Twitter, my heart goes out to the victims of this natural disaster and the difficulties that are sure to follow.