Obviously, despite the efforts of some relief groups to keep their distance from human rights NGOs, the consensus view is that both enterprises form part of the same larger global moral project.
Given the growing dependence of some of the most important international relief groups, as well as caritative arms of the UN system, on funding from the Gates Foundation and other new philanthropies created in its wake, the humanitarian world seems to have become increasingly resigned to this new dispensation; and realistically it is difficult to see how it could be otherwise.
Humanitarian NGOs have to a greater or lesser degree understood this. The real shock has been to the human rights movement, wedded for too long to a deterministic view that its triumph was inevitable. The panic, but more importantly the disorientation, one encounters these days in the publications of groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International is an emblem of this.
This does not mean that coping with these changes will be easy or morally clear-cut for humanitarians. It is hardly surprising that when its medical facilities and hospitals in Syria were targeted and in many cases destroyed by Russian and Syrian government bombardment, MSF was at a loss as to how to respond, despite its brilliance in publicity.
An exception to this general rule about political engagement is Palestine, above all for Western European relief workers. But for so many young people in the EU, Palestine is the great international cause of their time, and as such, paradoxically, it also becomes a domestic issue for them.