story itself is wonderfully revealing. Taxpayers from different
countries around the world have had their pockets picked to the
tune of about $5.1 billion to provide various forms of aid to Bosnia.
And of that amount, $1 billion fully 20 percent has
simply disappeared. The most serious (or at least sensitive) case
involves the Bosnia and Herzegovina Bank, which accepted more than
$20 million in deposits from international aid agencies and 10 different
embassies. The money has simply disappearedand the bank has since
folded. Investigators think the money was loaned to fictitious businesses
or given to buddies of the former owners.
main thing is that nobody should be surprised. Serious scholars
have known, at least since P.T. Bauer did systematic studies of
countries receiving large amounts of foreign aid in the 1950s and
1960s, that such countries seldom prosper as a result of aid and
often go into economic decline.
of the reasons is corruption money diverted to Swiss bank accounts
or converted into mansions and Mercedeses by the local strongman.
But the more important reason is that foreign aid almost always
goes into building a central-planning economic regimen indeed,
it usually comes with requirements that it be so used and central
planning is a formula for economic stagnation and subsidies for
firms or moguls more adept at buying politicians than at building
businesses that serve consumers.
being the case, perhaps we should be grateful to the corrupt officials
and their cronies who siphoned of 20 percent of the international
aid money. Squirreled away in Swiss bank accounts or spent on luxury
goods, such money at least won't do positive harm to the Bosnian
economy, such as it is, and might even do a tiny bit of "trickle-down"
good for a few workers.
missed in the breathless coverage of Hillary's interview attributing
Bill's pants-dropping to child abuse was an interview with U.N.
Iraqi arms inspector Richard Butler in the premiere issue of TALK
magazine. In it Butler decries most of the UN establishment
for insufficient commitment to his weapons-inspection mission's
desire to hold Saddam's feet to the fire. He's especially tough
on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Shades of Scott Ritter, the
American team member who quit last summer and accused the U.S. government
of not being hard-nosed enough about Iraqi weapons inspections.
but even more interesting was an aside in the article slightly amplified
that night on "Nightline" in which Butler called into
question virtually the entire international establishment as outmoded
and ineffective. He acknowledged that trying to have the UN conduct
weapons inspections in a hostile country was not something the UN
was particularly well suited for and would probably never be suited
"Nightline" he want a little farther, suggesting that
with the computer-communications revolution, increased international
trade and other developments, the entire system of nation-states
joining together in international organizations to accomplish various
political purposes was anachronistic and maybe a little ridiculous.
I'm not sure I'd like to see what kind of mechanism Richard Butler
would propose to replace the creaking, corrupt and out-of-touch
machinery of the "international community," but it's interesting
to have its essential dysfunctionality acknowledged by an experienced
of Iraq, the failure of almost every aspect of US and "international
community" policy was highlighted by a Sunday New York Times
story on the "other war." American and British pilots
have fired more than 1,000 missiles against more than 350 targets
in the last eight months two-thirds as many missions as over
Yugoslavia and the assault has done nothing to deter Saddam
from flirting with challenges to the "no-fly" zone and
firing on US and British planes.
hawkish administration officials are said to favor more intensive
bombing. But sooner or later somebody really ought to question this
constant bombardment and wonder whether any war, anywhere, will
ever be viewed as over. The saddest thing is that the continuing
embargo that seems to be viewed as a necessary component of maintaining
Saddam as an all-purpose demonic figure to be trotted out whenever
some leader needs a boost in the polls hurts so many innocent Iraqi
people who were already suffering.
LICENSING IN KOSOVO?
New York Times Monday reports
that the US and its NATO allies are trying to establish a system
of rigid control over the news media, including a code of conduct
for journalists, international monitoring of compliance with that
code and punishment mechanisms for those who violate the rules.
is hardly surprising. Various elements of the "international
community" have been drafting media licensing and control systems
for decades. They probably didn't even have to update some previous
proposal, simply plug in "Kosovo" where relevant. Some
bureaucrats have a modest amount of skill at defending such proposals
as a way to upgrade the quality of the media and prevent false reports
from gaining wide circulation.
the real motives are transparent as can be. Bureaucrats, international
or local, hate any genuinely independent press. And they're not
content to have 90 percent of the media be book-licking courtiers
dancing attendance on the powers that be. They want every outlet
under control and all dissent suppressed. Various UN bodies have
been trying to institute international journalistic licensing for
years. Should we be shocked that the US bureaucrats, which unlike
most countries has a First Amendment that provides at least some
protection for the few independent media voices that survive, should
be participating in such a profoundly un-American scheme. We should
not be. Make no mistake, without the First Amendment serious press
licensing schemes would have been put forward long ago and might
have been put in place.
it's too late for the controllers. With the development of the Internet
and other methods of low-cost, direct dissemination of news and
information, the conventional, controllable press is less relevant.
They'll never put this genie back in the bottler. Which is not to
say that efforts to try to control the press, as in Kosovo, are
not profoundly harmful.
contribution of $20 or more gets you a copy of Justin Raimondo's
Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against US Intervention in
the Balkans, a 60-page booklet packed with the kind of intellectual
ammunition you need to fight the lies being put out by this administration
and its allies in Congress. Send contributions to
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