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One for all the Bush haters

I have never counted myself among that number, but for those who accept the 'Bush is a crass, imperialist etc etc moron' agenda of the N1 set (bar Newmania, naturally) and so forth, a tale that might surprise:

"The president has tripled direct humanitarian and development aid to [Africa] since taking office and recently vowed to double that increased amount by 2010 -- to nearly $9 billion". Care of the Washington Post.

As has been discussed before, I have my doubts about the efficacy of direct development aid in lifting nations out of the Third World and consider that dismantling protectionism is better for both First and Third Worlds. Still, I'm looking forward to blindsiding someone with that nugget before too long.


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Anonymous Anonymous said... 6:55 pm

Well put C ..I agree that aid is usually counterproductive but what a jolly time on will have tweaking the nose of the "concerned".

My New Years Resolution is to continue steady as she goes . The policies are right and the key indicators will come to reflect that in time.  

Anonymous verity said... 7:01 pm

Certainly, Croydonian. But Mr Bush has to look to his own constituency - big business and the capital markets, who don't want freer trade. It's probably cheaper to send the third world a bung of $10bn than anger Republican voters.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 7:06 pm

V - Indeed yes.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 7:09 pm

Interesting Verity and would you therfore like to see "big business"a little less mighty ? This seems a slightly unusual position for you  

Blogger istanbultory said... 7:31 pm

W is a moron.Gut instincts can carry even a gifted politician only so far. And a lack of knowledge leaves him vulnerable to simplistic remedies to complex problems.

This US president deserves to be criticized by anyone who believes in limited, constitutional government.Its spending policies have been irresponsible, and its trade strategies have been destructive. The presidential candidate who criticized nation building is now pursuing global social engineering. The representative of a party that once criticized foreign aid is now promoting lavish U.S. social spending abroad, demanding that it be a gift rather than a loan.
He is continually increasing the size and power of the U.S. government both at home and abroad.

If this president is a Conservative, I am a social democrat.  

Anonymous verity said... 7:36 pm

No. I am a pragmatist. Mr Bush is doing what he thinks he has to do to keep Republican voters sweet and also to re-inforce his compassionate conservtism message.

I would argue that free trade would benefit the third world and give them the money to become customers of those big manufacturers who vote on the right in the first world, but a lot of people can't understand this. It's easier just to make a grand gesture (even if Mr Bush could easily cut out the middle man and simply deposit the $10bn in around 500 or 1,000 Swiss bank accounts).

With an election coming up, he cannot alienate big business. His gesture only makes sense in the light of the election. Mr Bush is a pragmatist and he knows the score. He has watched Mexico prosper from the NAFTA. He knows it works.  

Anonymous verity said... 7:48 pm

Well, Stamboul Tory, I disagree with you profoundly. Mr Bush is a deeply conservative soul, but, like most politicians, he is a party man and he wants his party to win the next election. Part of this strategy is not offending big money.

The whole Bush family is very supportive of the NAFTA and the new conservative president, President Calderon.

I don't like hearing Mr Bush described as stupid, because he is not. He has degrees from both Yale and Harvard - both of which have a very high entrance bar. He got higher grades than Mr Know-it-all, Al Gore. He's a qualified jet fighter pilot - and you have to be able to make split second decisions on which your life depends for that - and have nerves of steel.

He has increased the size of the government, for which he has to take the blame. But I believe he has been a steady hand on the tiller and I still admire him - although some of my American friends who voted for him have gone off the boil.  

Anonymous newmania said... 8:03 pm

Excellent Verity , political realism. Realistically David Cameron of Gordon brown is the choice ........  

Anonymous verity said... 8:19 pm

What is absolutely fascinating to me is, now the whole North American continent is run by conservative governments.

Harper in Canada; Bush in the United States; and Calderon in Mexico. That's around 430m people.

And another exhilerating thing is, it's a free trade zone. And Calderon is already (was sworn into office on 1st of this month) proving himself a take charge guy. Whereas President Fox (also a conservative) was a softly, softly president, Calderon has already sent the army into Oaxaca and they have killed around six or eight drug dealers and public services strike leaders. When he came in promising to clean up corruption, he meant it.

He also came in on the promise of taking Mexico further into the global market. So N America is going to be interesting for the next few years.  

Anonymous peter in france said... 1:29 pm

Just to set you straight there is no first world or second world. The term Third World was coined by Nehru sometime in the sixties. There was the Eastern soviet Russian block and the Western U.S.A block. All the non alligned states were called the third world by Nehru. Including Switzerland Sweden most of Africa parts of Asia and a host of others who did not want to be part of the cold war. Interesting how terms get changed.
Happy new year.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 1:56 pm

"He's a qualified jet fighter pilot - and you have to be able to make split second decisions on which your life depends for that - and have nerves of steel."

I'm sure it's hard to keep your eye on all the enemy fire in Vietnam when you're flying over Ellington Air Base, Texas. Not to mention the glorious end to his sojourn in the National Guard - he was grounded by the in 1972 for failing to show up to a scheduled medical examination. Must have been one of those "split second decisions", again.

Oh, and this is ignoring the (probably untrue) allegations that his unusual reassignment to a T-33 trainer aircraft was caused by a fear of flying.

It's easy and foolish to underestimate Bush's intelligence - but to paint him as a tower of intelligence and an ace combat pilot is equally naive.  

Anonymous verity said... 5:45 pm

Anonymous 1:56 - Bush does not fear flying. He landed the plane on the aircraft carrier when he went to visit the troops in Iraq on Thanksgiving Day. He climbed out of the plane looking as excited and invigorated as a boy.

I have never painted him as "a tower of intelligence" - whatever that is - as you phrase it. I was defending him from people who,knowing nothing about the man, term him a moron. This is because they have a hunger for all Americans, and especially all Texans, to be morons. No one gets a degree from Harvard and a degree from Yale (that's one more degree than the oh-so-intelligent Al Gore, who dropped out of law school, has) by being stupid.

He has an unusual way with words which I find rather endearing. The very people who jeer at his highly individual use of our language are the same people who would fly into a PC fit of lofty disapproval if one sniggered at a dyslexic.  

Anonymous Jim said... 6:10 pm

I'm glad Bush has increased aid to Africa, though I think it has doubled rather than tripled, and that was from a pitifully low base. Also, I don't think he (or any US president) really deserves high praise on this issue until America gets much closer to the levels of aid as % of GDP given by European countries like Denmark and Sweden, and until America gives as much in aid to the average African as it does to the average Israeli.  

Anonymous verity said... 6:14 pm

You're taking the piss, aren't you?

Or you're a stranger in these parts. Most of the frequenters of this blog want to see all aid to African basket cases cease.  

Anonymous Colin said... 7:19 pm

""The president has tripled direct humanitarian and development aid to [Africa]"

For humanitarian reasons?

From an article by the Los Angeles Times U.S. Quest for Oil in Africa:

"West Africa already supplies about 12% of U.S. crude oil imports, and the National Intelligence Council predicts its share will rise to 25% by 2015.

Oil development in West Africa offers many attractions, experts say. Reserves are bountiful, the quality is high, and shipping routes to the U.S. are generally shorter than from other oil-producing regions."

"The national energy plan drafted by Vice President Dick Cheney's task force spotlighted West Africa as "the fastest-growing source of oil and gas for the American market," and the administration has promised industry officials to do what it can to promote development."  

Anonymous verity said... 7:36 pm

Countries do what is best for themselves. I'll be pleased to see W Africa become oil rich. But I'll be even more pleased to lessen the West's dependence on oil from countries that want to destroy our advanced, enlightened civilisation and bomb everyone back to the Stone Age,which is where they belong.  

Anonymous Colin said... 10:02 pm


I agree but would like to slightly change your first sentence from Countries into Rulers of countries do what is best for themselves. You certainly didn't want to say that the decisions made by Tony Blair and others are identical with your own interests and that of the country.  

Anonymous verity said... 10:44 pm

No. If I'd meant heads of government, I would have said heads of government, so no, my first sentence stands as I wrote it. I meant countries. Blair is a dictator, but most countries operate on a cabinet/consulting basis. Mr Bush and his advisors will do what is best for the United States without unduly concerning themselves about the effects on peripheral states.

If they want high quality oil that can be transported easily to keep the economy going and to keep their own citizens comfortable, they will cozy up to W African countries regardless of the quality of their rulers.

Harry Truman nuked Japan because it was in America's interest to kill those tens of thousands of Japanese people. For that same reason, we may yet see George Bush use nukes in the ME.  

Anonymous Sutton skeptic said... 12:53 pm

Bush is lying, anyway.

2.1.7. 12:50  

Anonymous Jim said... 7:56 pm

You're taking the piss, aren't you?

Or you're a stranger in these parts. Most of the frequenters of this blog want to see all aid to African basket cases cease.

Is that meant to persuade me or something? I don't know about you, but my views on aid are based on the best available evidence, which indicate that aid overall has a positive impact on poor countries.  

Blogger Praguetory said... 5:36 pm

Please link to the best available evidence.  

Blogger Praguetory said... 5:39 pm

C - US foreign aid spending under Bush is a good line - they normally don't believe me when I tell them though.

Unfortunately, the comeback that he has rarely blocked spending and has been profligate and wasteful is a fair riposte if you decide to take a pro-Bush stance.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 10:32 am

Hello, Anon 1:56 here again (catchy name).

Verity - I don't subscribe to the theory that Bush is afraid of flying, either, but check your facts. He was in the co-pilot seat of the Viking jet as it landed, not at the controls. The first pilot, one Navy Cmdr. John Lussier, said that Bush had taken the controls during flight, but a spokesman also explained that there were two experienced pilots on board (the Viking has four seats) to land it in front of the TV cameras.  

Anonymous Jim said... 10:36 am

Please link to the best available evidence.

Certainly. Try this and here.  

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