• Africa,  Middle East,  PMC


    It escapes me how anyone expects the “Rock for Darfur” campaign to do any good. The conflict in Darfur is an ethnic and territorial war that isn’t based on any sort of historical misunderstanding or trivial difference. It’s also true that anything the US or any major power would do would wind up looking like Iraq. The duke of Wellington’s adage “For a great power there are no small wars” is being proven true everywhere.

    So then what? Another adage “If a problem seems insolvable, enlarge it”. In this case, don’t act as a great power, or more specifically, use small powers, like private military companies, like Blackwater et. al. The money could be raised privately, they’re relatively cheap by military standards, and it wouldn’t require a massive US commitment.

    There are massive legal and oversight problems involved with using PMCs, but using private means for what are essentially humanitarian efforts seems far better in every way than making a national commitment.

    Comments Off on Darfur
  • Africa,  Climate Change

    Global warming is coming right at us!

    I read this article Greenland ice cap thickens slightly with it’s winning quote

    However, they said that the thickening seemed consistent with theories of global warming, blamed by most experts on a build-up of heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars.

    and laughed. So, global warming produces more ice?

    Then I read this article in Wired Grim Outlook for Africa’s Future. The article is unremarkable with the following sentence standing out:

    The potential consequences of global warming could be devastating for the world’s poorest continent, yet its nations are among the least equipped to cope.

    Money buys things, primarily health and safety. If they weren’t the poorest continent,
    then none of this would be devastating.

    Comments Off on Global warming is coming right at us!
  • Africa,  Economics,  PMC

    LA Times echoes A-Sides

    From Max Boot in the LA Times

    In the last 50 years, $2.3 trillion has been spent to help poor countries. Yet Africans’ income and life expectancy have gone down, not up, during that period, while South Korea, Singapore and other Asian nations that received little if any assistance have moved from African-level poverty to European-level prosperity thanks to their superior economic policies.


    Any real solution to Africa’s problems must focus on the root causes of poverty — mainly misgovernment. Instead of pouring billions more down the same old rat holes, maybe the Live 8 crew should promote a more innovative approach: Use the G-8’s jillions 2 hire mercenaries 4 the overthrow of the 6 most thuggish regimes in Africa. That would do more to help ordinary Africans than any number of musical extravaganzas.

    Oddly enough, Adam expressed the same idea, in nearly the same words last Sunday. Strange.

    And as I do a spell check of this post, It tags “misgovernment” as a misspelling, and wants to replace it with “McGovern”.

  • Africa,  Society

    Live Aid / Live Eight

    I came across a very interesting article in the Prospect (UK) about the original Live Aid funds. It touches on a corrolary to what I believe is Friedman’s Law, to wit the government can’t give anything away.

    But did the mobilisation of public opinion through celebrity endorsement really play the positive role with which it is now credited? To ask this question is emphatically not to turn hagiography on its head and to demonise either Geldof or Live Aid. There is no smoking-gun evidence demonstrating that Live Aid achieved nothing, or only did harm. But there is ample reason to conclude that Live Aid did harm as well as good. It is also arguable that Live Aid may have done more harm than good.


    With the exception of MSF, what neither the relief world in general, nor the UN, nor Geldof and his Live Aid team have ever come to terms with is that the Mengistu regime—finally ousted in 1991—also committed mass murder in the resettlement programme in which Live Aid monies were used and in which NGOs that benefited from Live Aid funding were active. The Dergue was in control, and it did with the UN and the NGOs what the Nazis did with the International Committee of the Red Cross: it made them unwilling collaborators.

    A very interesting article. I had no ideas of the similarities to the Ukranine in the 30s. RTWT.

    Comments Off on Live Aid / Live Eight