June 12, 2005


When it comes to Africa, Bush has more on his mind than aid (Torcuil Crichton, 6/12/05, Sunday Herald)

America will have nothing to do with the commitment to providing 0.7% of GDP (gross domestic product) for aid which the European powers have signed up to. The US will have nothing to do with Gordon Brown’s International Finance Facility (IFF) which would use the sale of gold reserves to speed up the rate of aid delivery. According to aid agencies, the Bush administration’s agreement on debt cancellation simply makes more economic sense than the European proposals for debt relief which would see the impoverished African nations picking up the repayment baton again halfway through the next decade.

In the same way as it blindly ignores the Kyoto targets on climate change, the US government is pursuing its own unilateral agenda on Africa and poverty reduction.

This, however, does not necessarily support the conclusions about American intentions most of Europe has already come to before George Bush steps foot on Scottish soil for the G8 summit at Gleneagles next month.

“Bush has a reputation in Europe, for grudgingly accepting that Africa has to be dealt with, but in practice he has a fairly benevolent policy in terms of aid,” says Martin Meredith, whose book, The State Of Africa, a study on the 50 years of post-colonial independence, was published this month.

It’s not as if Bush, who arrived in office as one of the least-travelled presidents, doesn’t know where Africa is. He toured part of the continent in 2003, emphasising the tough-love approach to poverty reduction, insisting on the entrenchment of democracy and on cleaning up state corruption.

Bill Clinton was the first US president to tour Africa while in office, and although he made large gestures about working with the continent, they amounted to very little in reality. Bush has actually delivered on promises – over the last three years the US aid to Africa has trebled.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 12, 2005 12:00 AM

The press will always prefer grand gestures by lefties to small, concrete improvements because they report the grand gestures and ignore the actual work being done. (The gestures are great headlines but who wants to read an article about digging a well?)

It's like Hollywood marriages. At first they had to last 1 month because that was the cycle of gossip magazines. Then 2 weeks. Then 1 week.

Now, with the internet, the press cycle is about 15 minutes.

Whenever Tom Cruise is reported to have a new girlfriend, I tell my wife, "Hey, he must have a new movie coming out."

And, guess what, I'm always right.

Posted by: Randall Voth at June 12, 2005 4:30 AM

In the same way [that America] blindly ignores the Kyoto targets on climate change, the US government is pursuing its own unilateral agenda on Africa and poverty reduction.


Kyoto is a huge overreaction to a problem that might not even exist, or if it does, will have unknown and possibly mild consequences.

To the extent that U.S. gov't policy is changing to a merit-based system of foreign aid, the world is becoming a better place.

The ol' pile-it-on method of foreign aid ceased to be necessary or workable on the day that the Soviet Union collapsed, and to pretend otherwise over a decade later is just silly.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at June 12, 2005 6:26 AM
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