As the full extent of the destruction and death the tsunami wrought in South Asia becomes clear, significant aid pledges are finally pouring in. While the U.S. is beginning to respond, little attention is being paid in the public debate to the need for effective development assistance for South Asia in the medium to long term. Comparisons of what the U.S. is doing for disaster relief relative to other nations are obscuring the need for a sober assessment of how well U.S. aid measures up compared to the actual need. The White House is drafting its 2006 budget this month, so this is an important opportunity to expose how the U.S. falls short when it comes to providing aid commensurate with its wealth.
The recent South Asian tsunamiÂs devastation has already claimed at least 144,000 lives, caused countless injuries and wiped out entire villages. Concern now turns to the escalating death count caused by the spread of disease.
He wasn’t in the room when President George W. Bush announced it on Wednesday, but somewhere, Vice President Dick Cheney must have been smiling–well, smirking–when the commander-in-chief’s voice coupled the improbable name Paul Wolfowitz with the title “President of the World Bank.”
en Espanol: El Legado de Iglesias y el Futuro del BID
“How agonised we are about how people die. How untroubled we are by how they live.”
– P. Sainath,“The Unbearable Lightness of Seeing,” The Hindu, Feb. 10, 2005
According to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, it is an “extraordinary moment in history”i for Africa. World leaders have made a big step towards debt cancellation. If celebrity involvement is any indication, this is the largest upwelling of public concern in Europe and North America for African poverty in recent years.
Alienation and Militancy in the Niger Delta: A Response to CSIS on Petroleum, Politics, and Democracy in Nigeria
In the wake of the September 11th attack and the Iraq war, Nigeria’s geopolitical significance to the U.S. has come into sharper relief. In March and April 2003, militancy across the Niger Delta radically disrupted oil production in this major oil supplier nation. News of these actions, following conflict-ridden national elections, has reinforced the notion that Nigeria and the new West African “gulf states” in general are matters of U.S. national security.
Whether to invade Iraq, and whether to act aggressively to prevent catastrophic climate change may seem to be two separate decisions, but in fact they represent a single fateful choice about the future.
The abortive “Earth Summit” in Johannesburg is already fading from our overtaxed memories. Indeed, as I write this, the conference of the week is COP8, the Eighth Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. And it may be a whole lot more important than Johannesburg, if only as a marker, a way to date another death of innocence. For COP8 comes only days after Al Qaeda, in its latest blast of apocalyptic warfare, destroyed a pair of Balinese discos, and with them hundreds of lives. We should not forget, those of us who follow the game of global environmental policy, that Johannesburg’s final preparatory conference was also in Bali, and only a few short miles away.