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Trade and Aid in a Changed World
The New York Times ^
| Kofi Annan
Posted on 03/19/2002 7:59:51 AM PST by GeneD
In rural areas of Bangladesh, most girls marry at a very young age not because they wish to, but because their families cannot afford to send them to school. In some districts, however Narshingdi, for instance that is changing. Girls' enrollment in secondary schools there has more than doubled, and in three years the proportion of married women in the 13-to-15 bracket dropped to 14 percent from 29 percent. Families are getting smaller, and more women are employed, with higher incomes. The benefits will reach far beyond individual girls; they will include lower birth rates, better health practices, fewer children dying in infancy and a more productive labor force.
What made this change happen? Money. Since 1993, girls attending secondary school receive a small stipend while the school receives tuition assistance. The pilot program, sponsored by Bangladesh and financed by the World Bank, is now to be expanded, to affect up to 1.45 million girls.
That is development. It is not abstract. It is real change in the lives of real people eager to improve their own conditions, if only they can get a real chance. At present many are denied that chance. Well over a billion people go to bed hungry every night. They do not have water they can drink without grave risk of disease. Development means enabling such people, and another two billion who are only marginally better off, to build themselves a better life.
Eighteen months ago, the political leaders of the world agreed, at the Millennium Summit here in New York, that we should devote the first 15 years of this new century to a major onslaught on poverty, illiteracy and disease. And they set a clear set of targets, the Millennium Development Goals, by which to measure success or failure. Those goals will not be reached without resources: human resources, natural resources and also, crucially as the example of the girls in Narshingdi shows financial resources. That is why more than 50 heads of state, as well as cabinet members, business leaders, foundation executives and representatives of not-for-profit groups, are in Monterrey, Mexico, this week to discuss financing for development. The fate of millions of people depends on our getting this right.
Leaders from the developing world will also be there not as supplicants but as partners. They are in the process of adopting the right policies for mobilizing private investment, from their own citizens and from abroad. They know they have to embrace the market, ensure economic stability, collect taxes in a transparent and accountable way, uphold the rule of law and protect property rights.
What they ask for is a fair chance to trade their way out of poverty, without having to face tariffs and quotas or to compete against subsidized products from rich countries. Many are also asking for relief from unsustainable debts. And many are saying that in order to make the full transition to sound, open economies, they need increased aid from wealthier countries.
Until recently, most developed countries have reacted with skepticism to this request, feeling that too much aid has been wasted in previous decades by corrupt or inefficient governments. During the cold war, the Soviet Union and the wealthier nations of the West used aid primarily to reward loyalty. Corruption and waste indeed, results of any kind were secondary to what donor countries wanted most, namely political allegiance. That troubled track record made it easy to attack foreign aid as an ineffective development tool.
Now in the post-cold war era, the developed nations have increasingly come to realize that we live in one world, not two; that no one in this world can feel comfortable while so many are suffering and deprived; that the growing gap between rich and poor is, as President Bush said last week, "both a challenge to our compassion and a source of instability."
As the developed world has begun to appreciate many of the risks posed by economic stagnation, even when it is geographically distant, poorer countries have come to see the value of open markets to their own prospects. There is a new global deal on the table: when developing countries fight corruption, strengthen their institutions, adopt market-oriented policies, respect human rights and the rule of law, and spend more on the needs of the poor, rich countries can support them with trade, aid, investment and debt relief.
Last Thursday, President Bush announced an important American contribution when he pledged $5 billion over three years for a Millennium Challenge Account to help developing countries improve their economies and standards of living. (American nonmilitary foreign aid is at present about $10 billion per year.) Later the same day, the European Union announced that by 2006 its members would increase their development assistance by $4 billion per year, so as to reach an average of 0.39 percent of gross national product a significant step toward the United Nations target of 0.7 percent.
These amounts will not be sufficient by themselves. All economic studies indicate that to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we need an increase of about $50 billion a year in worldwide official aid a doubling of present levels.
But the European and American decisions do suggest that the argument on principle has been won. All governments accept that official aid is only one element in the development mix, but an essential one. Aid can be much more effective today than it was 20 years ago if it is focused on building the capacity of recipient countries to run their own economies, not on tying them to the business or geopolitical interests of the donor countries. Aid today must aim at developing human resources so that growth can be sustained. It must be directed not at securing loyalty but at rewarding sound governance that will last.
If the new global deal is clinched in Monterrey this week, many more girls, in Africa, Asia and Latin America, could have the chance to go to school as girls in Narshingdi do. Millions of children could grow up to be productive members of their societies instead of falling victim to AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. As their lives improve, the world will become a more prosperous and stable place.
Kofi A. Annan is the secretary general of the United Nations.
TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: milleniumsummit; trade
posted on 03/19/2002 7:59:51 AM PST
Many are also asking for relief from unsustainable debts. And many are saying that in order to make the full transition to sound, open economies, they need increased aid from wealthier countries.
So, the debt theyd racked up from previous aid binges has produced now unsustainable payments, but somehow, this time around, everything will work out? An oft used definition of insanity is expecting to attain different results through the same action.
How is a country going to develop the sound, open economy through relying on increased aid? This doesnt work on an individual scale as welfare illustrates and hasnt ever worked on a nationwide scale as has been proven time and again.
All this program can hope to accomplish is to further entrench every islamo-fascist and tin-pot dictator the world over at worst and put more rice in the bellies of those that will grow up to be our worst enemies.
Thank you U.N. for telling us how our confiscated taxes will be spent!
Guns Before Butter.
Senator J.Helms Speech to the UN Security Council 1/19/2000 It's my hope that there can begin today a pattern of understanding and friendship between you who serve your respective countries in the United Nations, and those of us who serve not only in the United States government, but also the millions of Americans whom we represent. ...It may very well be that some of the things that I feel obliged to say will not meet with your immediate approval, if ever. ...I'm not a diplomat, and as such, I'm not fully conversant with the elegant and rarefied language of the diplomatic trade. I'm an elected official with something of a reputation for saying what I mean and meaning what I say. So I trust you will forgive me if I come across a little bit more blunt than you are accustomed to hearing in this chamber. Let me share with you what the American people tell me. Since I became chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, I have received literally thousands of communications from Americans all across the country expressing their deep frustration with this institution. They know instinctively that the U.N. lives and breathes on the hard-earned money of the American taxpayers, among others, yet they have heard comments here in New York constantly calling the United States a "deadbeat nation." I dissent from that, and so do the American people. They have heard U.N. officials declaring, absurdly, that countries like Fiji and Bangladesh are carrying America's burden in peacekeeping. They see the majority of the U.N. members routinely voting against America in the General Assembly. They have read the reports of the raucous cheering of the U.N. delegates in Rome when U.S. efforts to amend the International Criminal Court Treaty to protect American soldiers were defeated. They read in the newspapers that despite all the human rights abuses taking place in dictatorships around the globe, a U.N. special rapporteur deciding that his most pressing task was to investigate human rights violations in the United States of America, and he found our human rights record wanting, of course. The American people hear all of this and they resent it. And I think they have grown increasingly frustrated with what they feel is a lack of gratitude. The U.S. as 'Deadbeat' And I won't delve into every port of frustration, but let's touch for just a moment on one -- the deadbeat charge. Before coming here, I asked the United States General Accounting Office to assess just how much the American taxpayers contributed to the United Nations in the last year -- 1999. And here is what the G.A.O. reported to me: Last year, the American people contributed a total of more than $1.4 billion to the United Nations system in assessments and voluntary contributions. That's pretty generous, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. The American taxpayers also spent an additional $8,779,000,000 from the United States military budget to support various U.N resolutions and peacekeeping operations around the world. Now, let me repeat that figure just for the purpose of emphasis: $8,779,000,000. Now, this means that last year, 1999 alone, that 12-month period, the American people have furnished precisely $10,179,000,000 to support the work of the United Nations and no other nation on Earth comes even close to matching that investment. So you can see, perhaps, why many Americans reject the suggestion that their country is a deadbeat nation. And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I resent it, too. * * * A Legitimate Role for the UN The American people want the United Nations to serve the purpose for which it was designed. They want it to help sovereign nations coordinate collective action by coalitions of the willing, where the political for such action exists, and they want it to provide a forum where diplomats can meet and keep open channels of communications in times of crisis, and they want it to provide to the peoples of the world important services, such as peacekeeping, weapons inspections, and humanitarian relief....This is important work and work that must be done. It is the core of what the United Nations can offer to the United States and to the rest of the world, and if, in the coming century, the U.N. focuses on doing these core tasks well, it can thrive and will earn and deserve the support and respect of the American people, along with peoples of other countries of the world. A Threat to U.S. Sovereignty? But -- and candor compels me to say this -- if the United Nations seeks to move beyond these core tasks, if it seeks to impose the United Nations' power and authority over nation states, I guarantee that the United Nations will meet stiff resistance from the American people. As matters now stand, many Americans sense that the United Nations has greater ambitions than simply being an efficient deliverer of humanitarian aid, a more effective peacekeeper, a better weapons inspector, and a more effective tool of great power diplomacy. The American people see the United Nations aspiring to establish itself the central authority of a new international order of global laws and global governance. This is an international order the American people, I guarantee you, do not and will not countenance. The United Nations must respect national sovereignty in the United States and everywhere else. The United Nations serves nation states, not the other way around. This principle is central to the legitimacy and the ultimate survival of the United Nations, and it is a principle that must be protected. * * * The sovereignty of nations must be respected, but nations derive their sovereignty, their legitimacy, from the consent of the governed. Thus it follows that nations lose their legitimacy when they rule without the consent of the governed. They deservedly discard their sovereignty by brutally oppressing their people. Mr. Milosevic cannot claim sovereignty over Kosovo when he murdered Kosovar people and piled their bodies into mass graves. And neither can Fidel Castro claim that it is his sovereign right to oppress his people. Nor can Saddam Hussein defend his oppression of the Iraqi people by hiding behind phony claims of sovereignty. And when the oppressed peoples of the world cry out for help, the free peoples of the world have a fundamental right to respond. As we watch the United Nations struggle with this question at the turn of the millennium, many Americans are left exceedingly puzzled. Intervening in cases of widespread oppression and massive human rights abuses is not a new concept for the United States. The American people have a long history of coming to the aid of those struggling for freedom. In the United States during the 1980's, we called this the Reagan Doctrine. In some cases, America has assisted freedom-fighters around the world who are seeking to overthrow corrupt regimes. We have provided weaponry, training and intelligence. And in other cases, the United States has intervened directly. And in other cases, such as in Central and Eastern Europe, we supported peaceful opposition movements with moral, financial and covert forms of support. But in each case, it was America's clear intention to help bring down communist regimes that were oppressing their peoples, and thereby, replace the dictators with democratic governments. The democratic expansion of freedom in the last decade of the 20th century is a direct result of those policies. In none of those cases, however, did the United States ask for or receive, the approval of the United Nations to legitimize its actions. And it's a fanciful notion that free peoples need to seek approval of an international body, some of whose members are totalitarian dictatorships, to lend support to nations struggling to break the chains of tyranny and claim their inalienable God- given rights. The United Nations, my friends, has no power to grant or decline legitimacy to such actions. They are inherently legitimate. * * * ....But candor compels that I reiterate this warning: The American people will never accept the claims of the United Nations to be the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force in this world. * * * The American people do not want the United Nations to become an entangling alliance, and that is why Americans look with alarm at U.N. claims to a monopoly on international moral legitimacy. Americans see this as a threat to the God-given freedoms of the American people, a claim of political authority over America and its elected leaders without -- without -- their consent. Now, the effort to establish a United Nations International Criminal Court is a case in point, which I am obliged to mention. Consider the Rome Treaty purports to hold American citizens under its jurisdiction even when the United States has neither signed nor ratified that treaty. Nonsense. In other words, Rome claims sovereign authority over American citizens without their consent. How can the nations of the world imagine for one instant that America's going to stand by and allow such a power grab to take place? I can guarantee you it's not going to happen. Now the court's supporters argue that Americans should be willing to sacrifice some of their sovereignty for the noble cause of international justice. Well, then, international law did not defeat Hitler, nor did it win the Cold War. What stopped the Nazi march across Europe and the communist march across the world was the principled projection of power by the world's greatest democracies. And that principled projection of force is the only thing that will ensure the peace and the security of the world in the future. More often than not, "international law," quote, unquote, has been used as a make-believe justification for hindering the march of freedom. When Ronald Reagan sent American servicemen into harm's way to liberate Grenada from the hands of a communist dictatorship, the U.N. General Assembly responded by voting to condemn the action of the elected president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, as a, quote, "violation of international law," end of quote, and, I am obliged to add, they did so by a larger majority than when the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was condemned by the same General Assembly. Similarly, the U.S. effort to overthrow Nicaragua's communist dictatorship by supporting Nicaragua's freedom fighters and mining Nicaragua's harbors was declared by the World Court as a violation of international law. And most recently, we learned that the chief prosecutor of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal has compiled a report on possible NATO war crimes during the Kosovo campaign. At first the prosecutor declared that it is fully within the scope of her authority to indict NATO pilots and commanders, and when news of her report leaked, she looked at herself and her decision a little bit, and then she started backpedaling. She realized, I'm confident, that any attempt to indict NATO commanders would be the death knell of the International Criminal Court, but the very fact that she explored this possibility at all brings to light that it is wrong. With this brave new world of global justice which proposes a system in which independent prosecutors and judges, answerable to no state or institution, have somehow unfettered power to sit in judgment of the foreign policy decisions of Western democracies, no U.N. institution -- not the Security Council, not the Yugoslav tribunal, not the future ICC -- is competent to judge the foreign policy and national security decisions of the United States of America. * * * Forty years later, the U.N. seeks to impose its Utopian vision of an international law on Americans. * * * And that is why Americans reject the idea of a sovereign United Nations that presumes to be the source of legitimacy for the United States government's policies, foreign or domestic. There is only one source of legitimacy of the American government's policies, and that is the consent of the American people. And if the United Nations, my friends, is to survive into the 21st century, it must recognize its limitations. The demand of the United States have not changed very much since Henry Cabot Lodge laid out his conditions for joining the League of Nations 80 years ago. And Americans want to ensure that the United States of America remains the sole judge of its own internal affairs, that the United Nations is not allowed to restrict the individual rights of U.S. citizens, and that the United States retains sole authority over the deployment of United States forces around the world. And that is what Americans ask of the United Nations. It is what Americans expect of the United Nations. A United Nations that focuses on helping sovereign states work together is worth keeping. A United Nations that insists on trying to impose a utopian vision on America, and the world, will collapse under its own weight. If the United Nations respects the sovereign rights of the American people and serves them as an effective instrument, it will earn and deserve their respect and support. But a United Nations that seeks to impose its presumed authority on the American people, without their consent, begs for confrontation and -- I want to be candid with you -- eventual U.S. withdrawal. Pretty much wraps it up in a nutshell.............
posted on 03/19/2002 8:37:24 AM PST
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