November 2, 2002
BEST LAID PLANS:
U.S. May Abandon Support of U.N. Population Accord
(JAMES DAO, November 2, 2002, NY Times)
The Bush administration, embroiling itself in a new fight at the United Nations, has threatened to withdraw its support for a landmark family planning agreement that the United States helped write eight years ago. [...]
The threat startled members of other delegations attending the Asian and Pacific Population Conference and drew immediate criticism from Chinese, Indian and Indonesian officials, who argued that the American position would undermine a global consensus on population policy, according to United Nations officials.
The threat has also elicited a sharp response from some Europeans.
"I think it is disappointing and incredible," said Agnes van Ardenne, the Dutch minister for development cooperation. "Poverty reduction will not be successful without reproductive health and without women being able to make their own choices."
Congressional Democrats and United Nations officials underscored these concerns today, saying that a decision by the administration to withdraw support for the Cairo program would undermine the efforts of family planning officials in countries that have looked to the United States to take the lead in checking population growth.
Why is it that so many of the same people who say we shouldn't interfere in the internal affairs of other countries think we have an obligation to help determine which children get to live and which die throughout the world?
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 2, 2002 6:45 AM
Funny thing is, I actually agree with a concerted effort to address population growth, and I happen to be pro-choice.
But that is not the thought that comes to mind here. What comes to mind is that, with yet another spurning of the UN by the US, maybe, just maybe, a whole host of countries might start thinking that they CAN actually accomplish something without the US. Twenty countries want to address population in a manner we don't agree with? So do it!! Quit pissing and moaning about what the US does or does not think or do, quit whining that "if the hyperpower doesn't play, why bother, wah wah wah", get off your asses, and make things happen, and if the US doesn't like it, say, "OK, we got that you don't like it. Thanks for the input."
I might be wrong, but I think Ameicans are getting fed up with much of the world, NOT because they disagree, but because they seem to need us for EVERYTHING, and then whine and moan when we don't fall into line. And I think Americans would have more respect for countries even that actively pursue policies we may not agree with, as long as they A) Actually DO something as opposed to just talk and B) Decide that bitching about the US does not NEED to be a fundamental part of 'A'.
I might agree more with the other nations than the US here. So stop kvetching and get to work people. US doesn't agree? Shrug your shoulders. It's nothing personal. Make it happen anyway, and earn our respect.
So why do I predict that the fallout from this particular conflict will have little to do with population control, and everything to do with yet more bitching that the world is overpopulated and obviously it is the fault of the good ole, U S of A.... again.
I agree with a lot of what you say, but the reason for the whining is not that they actually want us to do anything, but that they want us to pay for it. (It must be so annoying to them that, despite our inexplicable attachment to soul-deadening, environment-destroying capitalism, we have all the money and they need all the help.)
It seems worth noting that the only Western nation with a healthy economy (relatively) is the United States which is, not coincidentally, the only western nation that reproduces above replacement level. Population control will sentence these nations to permanent poverty.
I must disagree. I think that the causation runs the other way - it is because of other features of the US that it has a vibrant economy and that this encourages more children.
AOG is surely right in the short term, but in the long term what's going to happen to the European economy when the generation that had no children retires and attempts to collect their public pensions?
I didn't necessarily mean one causes the other--the two appear inseparable.
I was thinking about a related subject the other day, having to do with public funding for schools. One argument against it is that it is a transfer from childless people to parents. I used to think that as well. But it's become clear to me over the years that that analysis is bogus for exactly the reason you bring up. No amount of stock, jewelry, cash or bonds will support you in retirement if there is not a productive next generation.
P.S. I don't think that we will have to wait for retirement to see what's going to happen to the European economy.