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    Gulf War Syndrome Redux? Yup...., 2003-04-12 23:16:37 | Main | John Ashcroft..., 2003-04-15 04:29:20

    World Bank joins 'anti-globalization' protesters:

    in criticizing rich countries for being fat load of flagrant assholes: "The barriers to trade that the rich countries put in the face of poor countries are absolutely outrageous," World Bank chief economist Nick Stern said. "They're telling poor countries to open up their markets to get the benefits of trade and growth but at the same time closing their markets in precisely those areas where developing countries have a comparative advantage."

    Some differences in opinion may need to be worked out, as the protest coming from within the institution didn't stop protesters from protesting the institution. Both Stern and the protesters are, however, protesting the same thing, though the demonstrators have greater demands on the subject of debt relief. One Nigerian demonstrator "charged that his country faces a debt burden inherited from military dictatorships helped to power by the CIA. 'The most evil was (General Ibrahim) Babangida who was helped into office by George (Bush) senior" as US vice president in 1985'."

    The details of such charges, I'm guessing, look something like this, and I have little doubt that the US followed an inconsistent policy towards Nigeria that had the side effect of backing the dictatorship, so if not helped into office he was likely supported after he took the office (the "stability vs. democracy" charade). As pointed out briefly in an earlier post regarding present US support for human rights the Clinton policy suffered from many of the same inadequacies, whatever lip service he paid the continent. I foundĚ this discussion on US-Nigerian policy confirming what I've read elsewhere (thus my confirmation bias suggests you read it) and it falls into line with the general idea that US-Africa policy is deeply flawed. However, with the exception of Mobutu and UNITA I'm unaware of serious covert involvements in ordering the internal affairs of African nations. The debt schemes and the related privatization schemes amount to much the same thing, but the external pressure brought to bear doesn't usually involve directly catapulting a tyrannt into power, not least because there's no shortage of tyrannts capable of grabbing power without any help from us.

    Most interesting, while I'm surfing around for related materials, is the Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha's contribution of $460,000 to a Miami front-group of the DNC in 1997, a year before Abacha's timely passing.

    CIA involvement and such topics are a side issue to odious debt, but it should be a given that my ghoulish fascination with such trivial pieces of US history will lead to segue. The fact that illegitamate dictators in Nigeria racked up the debt in the process of terrorizing Nigerians isn't disputable, and there's nothing less odious about that debt than Iraq's. On the face of it the US push to forgive Iraq's debt - while good and self-aggrandizing proof of the US' humane mission - seems hypocritical in consideration of the fact that Nigeria isn't eligible for debt relief because it's a major oil exporting nation. Nigeria has primarily recieved "debt rescheduling" for its $30+ billion debt, from what I understand, rather than any serious efforts at debt cancellation or debt forgiveness. The program is for one of "sustainable debt", which is what we call it when industrial powers seek sustainable exploitation. It is a step forward, but not much of one.

    Worth noting is that the push for Iraq's debt forgiveness is coming before it even has a colonial government, let alone the post-colonial shades of democracy.


:: posted by buermann @ 2003-04-14 12:15:53 CST | link





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