A whole generation into the AIDS pandemic, we now have significant (though still insufficient) knowledge of how to combat the disease. But while the world’s collective understanding is gradually advancing, U.S. AIDS policy remains mired in a right-wing economic and social vision that is curtailing progress and costing lives.
By defining development and diplomacy as security strategies, the administration officially recognizes that building stable and sustainable peace involves preventing conflict and addressing the root causes of insecurity. The concept of Âhuman security,Â focusing on a wide range of threats to individuals rather than nations, is gaining wider currency. When former President Bill Clinton called AIDS one of the greatest threats to U.S. security he elevated the priority of AIDS from a health issue requiring charity to a security issue even for those who do not have AIDS.
ÂWar is hell,Â Union General William Tecumseh Sherman famously said 14 years after the end of the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history. ÂIt is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.Â
The image of China in the Western press is less the dragon of the Celestial Kingdom than J.R.R Tolkien’s Smaug, a beast of enormous strength and cunning, ravaging oil markets in Africa, copper ore in South America, and uranium deposits in Australia. “The world begins to feel the dragon’s breath on its back,” intones the Financial Times.
Rebecca Lolosoli radiates a quiet authority beneath layers of elaborate beadwork that cover her forehead, neck, chest, and wrists. She smiles readily while addressing an audience of U.S. college students, though to them, her topic is a metaphor for hopelessness. Rebecca is talking about AIDS in Africa, specifically among women in her indigenous, Samburu village of Umoja, Kenya. “For years, people were dying and we did not know why,” she recalls. “Now we know that AIDS can be avoided, but only by making great changes in our lives.”
One of the most tragically irresponsible decisions of the Bush administration in the critical hours following Hurricane Katrina was its refusal to accept offers by the government of Cuba to immediately dispatch more than 1500 medical doctors with 37 tons of medical supplies to the devastated areas along the Gulf coast.