Monday, June 13, 2005

Aid to Africa--Help or Empowerment of Dictators?

Tony Blair is on a crusade to "free Africa from debt and poverty...Blair has demanded that poor countries' debts be cancelled and their aid doubled" according to Reuters. Blair also "proposes to jump-start African economic development by boosting access to international markets" according to the Houston Chronicle. Mr Blair is currently doing some arm-twisting of President Bush and other leaders of developed countries to push his program.

Even if I were to assume that this is a good plan with a chance of success, (and I am not at all convinced), I still have a huge problem with this line: "Blair and Bush agreed this week help on debt should be given only to countries ready to tackle corruption." Notice the phrase, "...ready to tackle corruption."

What does this mean? Does this mean that if Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe promises to stop killing his citizens we will give him aid? Do the African countries who routinely turn a blind eye to genocide all around them have to promise to care in the future? In countries where stealing humanitarian aid is considered "business as usual" are we going to accept assurances that "this time will be different"?

I would encourage Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush to look for change before committing our nations' resources to this plan. We don't know what the African peoples can do for themselves because, in large measure, they have never been given the opportunity to try. Force the dictators and the despots out and only then should we intervene economically.

"Stop The ACLU" Blogbursters

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