Wednesday, September 22


US refuses to back world hunger battle:

THE United States faced condemnation today after failing to join more than 100 countries as part of a new campaign to raise an extra $50 billion (£28bn) annually in aid to combat global hunger.

On the eve of the annual gathering of the General Assembly, more than 50 heads of state and government joined a debate at the United Nations that focused on the impact of globalisation and on ways to finance the war against poverty.

French President Jacques Chirac called the pledge to take action "unprecedented".

The declaration also urged governments to seriously consider a report prepared for the conference, setting out a series of options for raising money.

These included a global tax on financial transactions, a tax on the sale of heavy arms, an international borrowing facility and a scheme for marketing credit cards whose users would donate a small percentage of their charges to the cause.

"The greatest scandal is not that hunger exists but that it persists even when we have the means to eliminate it. It is time to take action," said a declaration signed by 110 nations and adopted at the close of a World Leaders Summit on Hunger held at UN headquarters.

But the US poured cold water on the project, with the leader of the American delegation, agriculture secretary Ann Veneman, dismissing it.

"Economic growth is the long-term solution to hunger and poverty," she told the meeting. "Global taxes are inherently undemocratic. Implementation is impossible."

Brazil’s president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva criticised the US for failing to endorse the pledge.

"How many more times will it be necessary to repeat that the most destructive weapon of mass destruction in the world today is poverty?" said Mr Lula. "We must harness globalisation. We must turn it into a positive force."

Mr Chirac predicted the US position could change after the November 2 elections.

"Let’s see when things settle down what their position will be," the French leader said. "However strong the Americans may be, you cannot in the long run emerge victorious by opposing an idea that is backed by 100 countries, creating a new political situation."

Two thoughts.

First. When I was a kid, I remember a time when the American Red Cross announced it was out of money. The whole world reacted -- some Canadian disk jockey released a best-selling record that was a tribute to America's compassion as evidenced by the worldwide actions of the Red Cross. It made me feel so GOOD that my country was known for its Good Samaritan-ism. Guess those days are gone. All my life, the "Communists" were the bad guys, we were the good guys. That's all changed now, AND IT ONLY TOOK ONE MAN AND THREE YEARS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Second. Notice Chirac's last-paragraph observation. When John Kerry suggests a change of administration will result in a difference in attitude among the world's leaders regarding Iraq and other issues, HE'S RIGHT.


Post a Comment

<< Home