Wednesday, December 29, 2004


It's a crazy (not to mention stupid and despicable) plan - but it just might work!

...although probably not.

By now you've heard about this: UN Official Backs Down: Rich Nations Not 'Stingy'. Here's my take on it. You've got millions of screaming desperate people, and you've got one of the nastiest, most uncaring, petty, vengeful leaders in history in charge of the "wealthiest" (borrowed money) nation. Everyone knows he is entirely capable of withholding aid because of this one guy's remark.

So what do you do? You back down and hope that your honest "stingy" remark -- $40 million for aid, $50 million for his inaugural party -- doesn't keep him from helping all those people. It has to be about them. (That's not how Bush will see it. Maybe we can convince Bush this happened because God wants the world to see how great a leader Bush is... like 9/11. Maybe that would get him to do something to help.)

Ok, I don't like the guy. Sue me.

Meanwhile, Clinton is filling the leadership vacuum while Bush clears brush in Crawford.
And Bush's spokesman is sneering at Clinton.

Meanwhile, Britain and Australia have each pledged almost as much as we have - even though our economy vastly dwarfs theirs combined.

More from Seeing The Forest:
Third, where is the vision? The damage from the tsunami is estimated at $13 billion. We could pay for it several times over with the money being wasted on the unneeded and unworkable missile defense system boondoggle, among others. The tsunami offers the Administration an opportunity to use our nation?s wealth and expertise to lead a true coalition of wealthy nations in a regional rebuilding effort. (The State Bank of India set up a local effort the next day). The US could regain the respect of the world - not to mention of its own people - with a visionary plan of rebuilding villages, farms, water systems, schools, roads and homes in the flooded nations. That is the vision of a great leader. Instead Bush offers a few million dollars and a handful of planes carrying food. Where is the vision in this?

The world came to America's aid after 9/11. The tsunami offers us an opportunity to give back - and to get back our greatness. All that is necessary is that the Administration realize that the United States is a nation built on a vision of freedom, not a selfish collection of corporate self-interests uncomfortably in bed with religious zealots whose common goal is cut taxes and kill government. Commonwealth must trump wealth if the world is to survive. The tsunami offers the Administration an opportunity to rejoin the commonwealth of nations and ensure everyone's survival.
How much do we owe the rest of the world? How much do we owe humanity? Millions of Americans will undoubtedly contribute to relief efforts to help the victims of this disaster - but it won't be enough. One week's worth of the cost of the unnecessary and disastrous war in Iraq would make a fine start to the recovery in the Indian Ocean.

History will look back on this period and scratch its head. Especially as that history is more and more likely to be written in Chinese or Hindu.
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