Monday, June 27, 2005

Tim and Bono

Bono made some sense on Meet the Press Sunday. His full comments are available in the Transcript for June 26.

Selected comments I agree with:

”Yes, there's a lot of pressure on President Bush. If he, though, in his second term, is as bold in his commitments to Africa as he was in the first term, he indeed deserves a place in history in turning the fate of that continent around.”

”This is targeted, focused aid we're talking about now, only given to people who are tackling corruption.”

”This is the number-one problem facing Africa, corruption; not natural calamity, not the AIDS virus. This is the number-one issue and there's no way around it. That's what was so clever about President Bush's Millennium Challenge. It was start-up money for new democracies. It was giving increases of aid flows only to countries that are tackling corruption. That's what's so clever. It's--the implementation of the Millennium Challenge has not happened. It is in trouble. They recognize that. President Bush is embarrassed about that. They're trying to put it right. But the idea, the concept was a great one. Debt cancellation also has conditionalities built into it. People need to know this.
So no one is talking about aid in the old sense, the money down a rat hole thing. No one wants that. It makes matters worse, not better. This is new targeted aid. “

Some of his comments are still debatable:

”Prime Minister Blair and--published the Commission for Africa, which is a new analysis of aid and effective aid and how to spend it, and the need, he says, and most of the world agrees, is about $50 billion. And we can really turn things around on that continent but we have to have agreement from everybody, especially the United States, if we're to get there”

Why is $50 Billion the right number? Why not prove the methods being advocated are working on a small scale before implementing them on a large scale? I know there are many Africans who are desperate for relief, but this effort still looks more to me like welfare which has been proven time and time again to make matters worse every time and everywhere it is implemented.

”If he doesn't I fear that even the good work that he has started will be forgotten by history and that really makes me very, very sad, because I worked on a lot of this stuff, the AIDS initiative and the Millennium Challenge, and really want to see--I think he deserves his place in history here.”

President Bush will never get the credit he deserves from the members of the world community. Just like President Reagan, no matter how much President Bush achieves, it will be labeled as too little and too late.

”And remember the rest of the world are very suspicious about the G8 countries, about the industrialized world. They're not sure, you know, if we have any values. They're not sure who we are. They meet us with our military, they meet us with our trade, our movies, our, you know, commodities. But they need to meet who we are on a deeper level. And that's where they meet us with foreign assistance.”

Industrialization is not the only way out of poverty, but it is a way out of poverty. Anybody can grow a crop, raise a goat, and build a house if they are allowed to own their own land. Foreign assistance, if in the form of welfare, only creates bitterness. The values we export should be the value of freedom, not the value of dependence.

I like Bono. I wouldn’t be as upset with the ONE Campaign if they actually made a dent in African corruption. However, at this point, I have no reason to believe that aid to Africa will be any different this time than all of the previous times that created the problem. I trust America to do the right thing. Germany, France, and even Britain, don’t have the same track record.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

I'm not sure on either side of this issue; there is good and bad. I like Bono though! Just curious, did you hear the "team" of Rev Pat Robertson and George Cloony speaking on THIS WEEK, last week. I'm going to provide a link on my site, I think.