The “World” Bank?

Well, I want to start by stating that the World Bank is a “world bank” in name only. The current President, Paul Wolfowitz is the fmr Assistant Secretary of Defense for President Bush. The bank presidents are, by agreement with the Europeans and the IMF, always Americans, and the first President of the World Bank, like Wolfowitz, was from the Defense Department as well: Secretary Robert MacNamara.

Here are some of the other leaders of the “World” Bank:

8th President of the World Bank Group, 1991 – 1995
Lewis Thompson Preston was born on August 5, 1926 in New York

7th President of the World Bank Group, 1986 – 1991
He was born in a small town in upstate New York, Warsaw.

6th President of the World Bank Group, 1981-1986
A.W. Clausen was born in the small town of Hamilton, Illinois

5th President of the World Bank Group, 1968 – 1981
Robert Strange McNamara was born in Oakland, California in 1916

4th President of the World Bank Group, 1963 – 1968
George Woods was born in Boston in 1901

3rd President of the World Bank Group, 1949 – 1962
Eugene R. Black was born in 1898 in Atlanta, Georgia.

2nd World Bank President, 1947 – 1949
John Jay McCloy was born in 1895 in Philadelphia

1st World Bank President, June 1946 – December 1946
Meyer was born in 1875 in Los Angeles

While the World Bank “talks” about poverty, AIDS, and helping developing countries, the World Bank does more damage than good:

The World Bank is an American bank that loans money to foreign developing countries, mandates economic structural changes whether they benefit the foreign country or not and creating a client state with a debt-loan relationship. Most recipients of World Bank money can only pay the interest and never touch the principle. Furthermore, corrupt regimes steal World Bank money, then saddle the state with the burden of its debt. As the realists in Milner’s article say, the World Bank’s power comes from the US, not the World Bank itself. As a result, World Bank policies “benefit” US economic policies, not the world.

 

Diplomacy and War: Vietnam, and Iraq

At what point does a nation have the right to go to war without the blessing of the international community? Russia did not ask anyone if it could go to war with Chechnya or Afghanistan. Yet, Russia was adamantly against the use of force in Iraq. Jordan, Syria, and Egypt never asked permission to invade Israel. Did the United Kingdom ask permission to retake the Falkland Islands, when Argentina declared they wanted them back? Do you think that China will go before the U.N. to annex Taiwan?

Interesting points, but I would question comparisons to other wars.

1) Chechnya is an internal/civil war

2) The invasion of Afghanistan was an unjust, aggressive war perpetuated by a declining power in order to artificially mask internal problems and project a greater sphere of influence forcibly. The current government of Russia, while it has not made a complete break from its past is a significantly different country…would you say it was inconsistent for France to resist Nazi aggression since France itself sought to aggressively conquer Europe under Napoleon? I wouldn’t.

3) When Egypt, Jordan, and Syria invaded Israel, there was no “Israel” sort-of-speak…Israel was a paper creation of non-Middle Eastern powers by imposing UN Resolution 181. Nearly every new country was created by a conflict with its neighbors and/or previous owners of the land (perhaps with the exception of the Czechoslovakian Velvet Revolution). Of course, they wouldn’t ask the UN, since it was the UN which had imposed Israel on the Middle East.

4) Again, the Falkland Island War, the UK was responding to an aggressive war by the Argentinians. A better point might have been to ask if Argentina asked to invade the islands, however, its worthy to note that many believe Argentina was baited into taking the Falkland Islands (http://www.psychohistory.com/reagan/rp91x100.htm)

5) As for any possible mainland Chinese invasion of Taiwan, no China would not ask the UN because (as in the case of Chechnya) the tension between mainland China and Taiwan is technically an internal matter. In fact, there is no country in the world that recognizes both “countries,” even the UN itself recognizes only one.

Most importantly though, the invasions of Chechnya and the Falkland Island were a response to attacks by the Chechnyans and Argentinians respectfully. Therefore it is nearly impossible to compare these conflicts to the Iraq War in which there was no prior attack by Iraq.

Also, we did not fight Vietnam alone. How about Australia, New Zealand and The Republic of Korea? Likewise, we are not going it alone in Iraq. How about Australia, England, Spain, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, and Japan? Saying the United States is fighting alone is misleading. The United States is not going it alone; it is going it without the United Nations and there is a difference. Just throwing some food for thought out there. Nothing personal.

Technically you are correct and so I obviously agree with you. On the other hand, it is my understanding that when the comment “going it alone” is made, it is meant figuratively rather than literally. Waltz (p.302) points out that at any given point, there are only eight powers. Only one of the world powers backed the US invasion, while the others opposed it. One of the best differences between the two coalitions in 1990/91 versus 2003 is that in 1990 the US received active military support from regional (and Muslim) powers. No regional powers or countries gave any military support to the war in 2003. Turkey, a member of NATO, even refused the US access to Iraq through Turkey.

I also don’t believe the US use of force in Iraq is not deterrence because Art goes on to say that “If a threat has to be carried out, deterrence by definition has failed” (Kaufman, p.81). I believe Art would call the Iraq War compellence, not deterrence.

Finally, I agree with the basic problem you’ve identified…”At what point does a nation have the right to go to war without the blessing of the international community?” It seems to me that there three types of war: formation, aggression, and defense/response. The US has fought eleven major wars and I would divide them as follows: Formation (AmRev, 1812, Civil War), Aggression (MexAm, SpanAm, Vietnam, Iraq), and Defense/Response (WWI, WWII, Korea, Persian Gulf). Few people question wars fought (if it’s successful) or in defense/response. Nor do I believe a country needs international blessings. But to initiate an aggressive war without an international blessing is what seems questionable.

Fair or not, the comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq start early in that they were both begun with lies…The Tonkin Gulf Resolution and Colin Powell’s Presentation to the UN.

Is democracy the best?

Woodrow Wilson justified WWI by saying that we were “making the world safe for democracy.” Since then the US has, at times, “created” or significantly supported the creation of democracies in Germany, Japan, the fmr. Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, over the same period of time, the US has installed or significantly supported dictators and regimes posing as democracies in South Korean, South Vietnam, Egypt, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, and elsewhere.

So where does that leave us? Is Democracy is the best form of government for all of the world’s inhabitants? Here are two opposing points of view:

Pro: There is no doubt that democracy is the best form of government for all the world’s inhabitants. Whether the government is a constitutional monarchy (like the United Kingdom, Japan, and Sweden) or a republic (like Switzerland or Israel), democratic nation-states have greater social mobility, greater economic opportunities and a higher quality of life.

In federal democracies, the democratic nature of the government ensures a fair distribution of power among distinct parts of the country, as in Germany or the United States. The great parliamentary democracies (which are often found in unitary governments like the UK, Iceland, and Italy) have democracies that are more responsive to the immediate wishes of the people.

The members of the economic powerhouses (G-8) are all democracies.

The most powerful military alliance, NATO, is composed of democracies. Europe, the bastion of democracy, has the highest standard of living in the world.

In the Cold War, it was the Western democracies that economically outlasted the Eastern European communist states. Democracy has proven to be the best form of government.

Four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are democracies.

The only country in the world without an army, Costa Rica, is a democracy. The countries that donate the most are democracies.

Democracies have a highest immigration rate.

Democracy is the government of choice for the world’s people: the students of Serbia, the elites of Indonesia, the Good Friday signers in Northern Ireland, and the founders of the two newest countries in the world, East Timor and Tuvalu…they all chose democracy.

Con: Democracy, while an acceptable for of government for many countries, is not a panacea “for all of the world’s inhabitants.” Look at the Russian foray into democracy. The average life expectancy of a Russian has dropped since 1989. The hottest economy in the world is the (communist) People’s Republic of China. In China, while the industrialized coastal regions are clamoring for democracy, the inland peasantry is addicted to the centralized autocracy and subsidy of Beijing.

The entire supposition that democracy is the best government has a naïve assumption that the will of the majority has some inherent good. What about bitterly divided nations with unbridled intolerance for other segments of their own nation-state (Iraq-2005)? What about indigenous people who are disenfranchised by their modern “democracies” like the Native Americans in Bolivia, the peasants of Chiapas, the aborigines of Australia, or the Maori of New Zealand? In Latin America, the rise of democracies have given to the rise of Hugo Chavez, the devaluation of the Mexican peso, the devaluation of the Brazilian real, and five Argentinean presidents in four months.

In Africa, Egypt’s democracy holds elections with only one viable candidate and South Africa deals with a democratically elected president who has stated there is no connection between AIDS and sexual activity.

In Asia, the Philippines have corrupt president after president (and an opposition party that has just been caught spying in th e US Vice-President’s office) and India elects the religious Bharatiya Janata Party which is accused of inciting religious riots between Muslims and Hindus. It can even be argued that the violence in Chechnya is a product of the democratization of Russian; such violence was never witnessed under Stalinist autocracy, even though the same hatreds simmered.

In short, there is no evidence that democracy is stable enough to be the staple of world governments. The attractiveness of democracy must be weighed against the increase of sectarian arguments, the dissolution of nation-states and the despotism of the majority.

Xenophobia

I find it amusing that the British are upset by Malcolm Glazer’s purchase ofthe “football” team Manchester United.

Maybe we can swap their soccer team for the British ownership of our supermarkets [Shaw’s owned by Sainsbury, UK, Ltd.], our electricity [National GridTransco, UK], and even our coffee and ice cream [Dunkin’ Donuts and BaskinRobbins are owned by Allied Domecq PLC (AED), UK]!

Ordinarily, it seems it’s Americans who are xenophobic, like the American response to the sale of rights to the Grand Canyon and Rockefeller Center to foreign corporations.However, at the same time, it is outrageous for the British to complainabout something that they do themselves -buy up companies in other countries.

Sun, May 22, 2005
Anti-Glazer protest makes little impact
Associated Press
CARDIFF, Wales — The threatened anti-Malcolm Glazer protest by disgruntled Manchester United supporters made little impact at the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Although fans held banners showing their anger at Glazer`s takeover of the famous soccer club, their threat to disrupt the biggest game in the English soccer season never materialized.

One banner depicted a shattered coffin with the words “MUFC Glazer. RIP. No customers, no profits.” There was also “Glazer rot in hell,” “Yankee Go Home” and “MUFC 127 years. Glazer not in a million years.”
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The anti-Glazer faction among the fans said they wore black as a protest gesture. But with the United players forced to wear black instead of their usual red because of a clash of colors with Arsenal, most of the United followers did the same anyway.

After Saturday`s match, the fans trooped home in the rain after their team lost a penalty shootout to Arsenal 5-4 after a 0-0 draw at Millennium Stadium.

Glazer, owner of the NFL`s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has bought 75 percent of United for 790 million pounds (US$1.47 billion, €1.16 billion), meaning he can virtually do what he likes with it.

Because most of that figure is borrowed money, fans organizations fear he could sell the club`s Old Trafford stadium or use it as collateral against debts. They also fear he will raise the cost of season tickets.
They have threatened not to renew their season tickets and have refused to buy anything from the club`s highly profitable merchandising stores.