Friday, January 07, 2005

Just a few quotes from the news pages of La Vanguardia:

"The UN retook yesterday the leadership and coordination of international aid to the victims of the December 26 earthquake...the most vulgar political games had become so notorious that it was impossible to hide them...Invoking the "operability of humanitarian action", Washington's initiative expressed its hostility toward the relative autonomy of international organisms..."

Wait a minute. Washington and Canberra are the only governments that can actually do much of anything on the ground, which is why they've been doing it, and the last thing we need is another layer of UN incompetent bureaucrats getting in the way. Read the Diplomad if you don't believe me.

"European and Asian criticisms yesterday caused Colin Powell to state that this group would be dissolved and would align itself under the direction of the UN...Powell Sunday began a pressurized tour of the region to try to overcome the bad image that Washington's cold official reaction to the catastrophe was causing...When Jan Egeland described this attitude as stinginess, Washington raised first to 15 million and then to 35...Until the brains in the White House realized their chance to improve their deteriorated image in Southeast Asia and the world in general, the sum was not multiplied by 10 to the current 350 million dollars. A sum that is less than the UE's $3 billion, Japan's $500 million, or the more than $800 million announced by Australia, but the great military and media mobilization has placed the US in the center of the news about the humanitarian effort...Each year the United States spends $450 billion on defense..."

"The principal regional objective is to station troops on the Straits of Malacca, in order to control the energy supplies of China and East Asia with the excuses of antiterrorism and well as new concessions for the two American companies present in the gasfields of Aceh. One of them, Exxon Mobil, has annouced a donation of $5 million as part of its PR campaign. Only ten days away from the human disaster, the reality of political games makes its manifest apparition...To Kofi Annan, it is imperative that $977 million appear rapidly and in cash."

Nope, no matter what you do you just can't please some people. These people are called "knee-jerk anti-Americans". Meanwhile, Spain is still dithering, though the Spanish Red Cross has apparently sent three planeloads of supplies, and Zap is talking about sending troops and a medical team, which of course won't arrive until after they're no longer needed. Zap hasn't mentioned how many troops there will be or where they will go or how much it will cost or even when they will be leaving; this will all be decided at a big old meeting tomorrow. Spain has pledged over $60 million in aid, but the problem (as Barcepundit says) is that the great majority of the dough is not in cash gifts, but in loans that can only be used to buy Spanish imports. In other words, Zap is trying to subsidize the Spanish export economy while the Vangua accuses the Americans of playing political games. In its news pages.

(Note: One thing the Spanish Red Cross sent were five water treatment plants to purify drinking water--good move, but they didn't have the capacity to move them themselves, so a US Navy ship did it.)

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