G-8 failure on a global scale
By Alan Caruba
I'm fairly sure that the world leaders at the G-8 meeting in England were more disappointed being overshadowed by the Islamist terror attack in London than by the fact that their priorities and solutions were so misdirected and wrong the conference can best serve as an example of gross incompetence.
Let's start with their priorities. Top of the list was the reduction of "greenhouse gases" presumably responsible for "global warming" and massive debt relief to African nations. The attack in London was a stark reminder that the first priority of the West is the defeat of Islamic fundamentalism and its proponents.
One initiative of the G-8 conference was to pledge $3 billion in "economic aid" to the most committed terrorists on the face of the Earth, the Palestinians. Despite all the money they have received to date, there is not a scintilla of evidence they ever intend to cease attacking the Israelis. What parallel universe do these "leaders" live in that permits them to ignore this?
As for global warming, there is no consensus among scientists that global warming is occurring and, most certainly, no scientific data to support the claim that the Earth will warm dramatically in the near future.
Thus, the protestations of G-8 leaders from the seven wealthy industrial democracies and from Russia, supported by the silliness of music concerts, ignore the fact that massive foreign aid is part of the problem afflicting African nations. As Ayodele points out, "Between 1970 and 1995 aid which started at about 5 per cent of Africa's Gross National Incomes later peaked at 18 per cent in 1995." The result was that GDP growth-per-capita "nose-dived." Millions of Africans survive on barely $1 a day.
The only thing this aid succeeded in doing was to prop up dictators, encourage corruption, while contributing nothing to the need for governments that support the rule of law, the protection of property rights, and encourage indigenous entrepreneurial efforts supported by the freedom to trade.
Dept relief hides the fact that 38 of the world's poorest nations, mostly African, received $40 billion in debt relief between 1989 and 2002. At the same time, they became further indebted with $93 billion in new loans. As The Washington Times noted in a July 6 editorial, "Today, their cumulative debt burden totals $144 billion." In Nigeria alone, in the 45 years since Britain granted it independence in 1960, "a succession of despots squandered nearly $400 billion." The same can be said of far too many African nations that gained independence in the latter half of the last century.
Africa's problems exist on a monumental scale. Forgiving a bit of the debt they owe the West is more about public relations than about the need to address those problems. For example, as Peter Brookes, a Heritage Foundation analyst, has noted, "40 million Africans are at risk of starvation. Another 30 million have AIDS. Forty-two million children are not even enrolled in school. And civil war and ethnic violence rock the Democratic Republic of Congo (3 million dead) and Liberia (200,000 killed), among others."
Returning to my view that the primary problem facing the West these days is Islam, Brookes noted that, "The continent has become a regular home to international terrorism, including al Qaeda." In 1998, US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed and the continent has seen a succession of comparable attacks, all initiated by the Jihad whose goal is to advance the domination of Islam throughout Africa and the world.
Talk of debt relief ignores the tremendous wealth that exists in Africa. Nigeria, Angola and Gabon are among the top fifteen providers of oil to the United States. Other nations such as Algeria, Congo, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Chad are also energy producers. Moreover, the restrictions African governments put on business enterprises within their nations continue to stifle any effort to create stable, productive economies. The subsidies Western nations pay their farmers also insure that African produce cannot compete in the world marketplace.
Tens of billions of US oil company investment is scheduled for Africa and this represents an important hedge against dependence on Persian Gulf oil. This is a national security priority.
Before we make pariahs of the oil companies who are forced to do business with corrupt African governments, let's remember that little of this investment (or foreign aid) reaches ordinary Africans in terms of the building of roads, bridges, water and sewage facilities, and schools.
Short-term, debt relief is simply testimony to the history of failure of foreign aid to Africa and will accomplish nothing. Long-term, the leaders of the G-8 nations and all others need to acknowledge that the greatest threat is Islam itself, mired in laws formulated in the seventh century AD. If they do not want to see the world plunged into chaos, they need to start now to address this threat.
That stark fact seems to have been lost on the G-8 leaders who continue to say that Islam is a peaceful religion and the problem involves only a handful of fundamentalists who hold it hostage. How much better the latest conference would have been if it had announced a broad range of programs designed to punish any nation that harbors and supports the Islamic revolution.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba, July 2005
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