Sharing a link to an Economist article I recently read regarding aid from authoritarian governments.
Aid is a big issue with me in that I’ve seen how it is almost NEVER a helping hand kind of thing. It’s always more of a leash grip and sometimes a grasp at the throat. it doesn’t matter if it’s a western democracy,a long time NGO, or the aspiring power merchants of the likes of Iran,China or Venezuela.
There have been some great stories especially out of Africa how aid has actually helped hobble develop and left the people in suffering ways.
All in all we the regular folks need to be vigilant where we send our money. It doesn’t matter if it is via taxes or donations. We cannot remain blind to the end results of the “gift”.
More in line with the Economist piece though one can see that the world is awash in a war. This one is more like a very aggressive pillow fight. Soft power diplomacy of aid (read bribes,extortion etc) is being waged by countries like China,Iran and Venezuela. The motives are clear and in varying lengths we all need to wake up a bit on this one. The Chinese especially are acting in an overt manner that tells me the pillow is getting some coin rolls tossed in. That’s a meaningful whack to the side of the head. I dig how people take the view America has been far from kind and benevolent. We’ve sucked in many many cases.
Changing the player doesn’t make the game better.
Much of their aid is overtly political. Iran’s offer of free electricity to Shia parts of Iraq is one example, Venezuela’s bankrolling of Cuba another. Most is steered towards a few friendly regimes, or (in China’s case) places with natural resources. China has pledged $600m to Cambodia, more than ten times as much as America. It has given Myanmar $400m in the past five years; American aid to the country is worth about $12m a year.
Naturally, help from harsh regimes is rarely encumbered with pesky demands for good governance. This makes it welcome to corrupt officials and even to those merely sick of being lectured by Westerners. Alas, it can encourage bad governance. China, the report says, is training 1,000 Central Asian policemen and judicial officials “most of whom could be classified as working in anti-democratic enterprises”. The report concludes that authoritarian regimes are using aid to boost their soft power. If so, the spread of authoritarian aid is a challenge to more than just Western ideas of the right sort of giving. Economist
Wake up folks !