How Much Longer Will America Be Able to Ride to the Rescue?

Haiti has just been devastated by a massive 7.0 earthquake. The pictures coming out of Haiti show a calamity of Biblical proportion. This morning President Obama expressed his deep condolences and "unwavering support" for the people of Haiti and promised a "swift and coordinated effort" and all Americans will support him.

So what’s next? Once again, America will rush in -- with food aid, with temporary shelters, with emergency services. The American military may even “invade” temporarily -- with rescue and recovery efforts, water purification facilities and infrastructure rebuilding equipment.

America’s rush to come to the aid of the world’s most disadvantaged nations once disaster strikes is so routine it’s taken for granted -- whether it’s a tsunami in Thailand or an earthquake in Ecuador.

Because we’re rich? Sure.
Because we’re generous? Sure.
Because we’re the most powerful country in the world? Sure.

But fast forward now to 2020 or so:

- Of every dollar that the American government spends, 50 cents is borrowed.
- The #1 item in the U.S. budget isn't military spending, or health care or social security -- it's debt servicing.
- Every man, woman and child in America owes over $50,000 in government debt – before taking into account their personal debt obligations.
- The largest single holders of American debt will be the Chinese government and the sovereign wealth funds of the Arab oil producing countries.

So what happens to the Haitis of the world when disaster strikes a decade or so from now? One thing is for sure -- the first call they make won’t be to the White House.

Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger’s November 1984 "Principles of War Speech" which laid out the Weinberger Doctrine. She is a senior adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum. Watch "K.T." and Mike Baker every Monday at 10 a.m. on's "DefCon3."