Time to think about the Bush Administration's stance on HIV
December 1, 2002 1:17 AM   Subscribe

Based on actions to date and even reaction to the recent Kenyan bombings, it would appear that the Bush administration is trying rather hard to ignore Africa.
posted by shagoth at 2:18 AM on December 1, 2002

The administration's attitude towards Djibouti seems indicative of its approach to Africa generally, and AIDS in Africa specifically: selfish, myopic, and devoid of any sense of what "soft power" could do for the U.S.'s interests. (NYTimes, reg. req'd, doesn't discuss HIV directly)
posted by stonerose at 6:59 AM on December 1, 2002

stonerose, you may want to go back in and see what I wrote about Djibouti. The NYT article was somewhat misleading, to say the least. While we certainly don't have the resources to do in Africa everything that needs to be done, there's little evidence that we're "ignoring" Africa.
posted by dhartung at 7:21 AM on December 1, 2002

"Colin Powell is inviting the entire diplomatic corps to the State Department next Tuesday to deliver a message he hopes they will relay to their governments: Political leadership is an essential component in the struggle against HIV/AIDs." (Link broke since I blogged it - so is it still true?)
posted by sheauga at 7:39 AM on December 1, 2002

dhartung, thanks for the numbers, which are helpful. I agree that the Times story was sloppy. Still, I'd like to see these numbers broken down. What counts as "aid"? And as for your assertion that Djibouti gets more aid than its less 'strategically relevant' neighbors... well, that supports my point about the Bushies' myopia and insensitivity to soft power.

Some interesting numbers, which show a decline in U.S. ODA.
posted by stonerose at 7:51 AM on December 1, 2002

Well, the basic problem is indeed how one defines "aid". If it's only development dollars, you can draw one conclusion. The US also funds military assistance programs (which is where most of the money for Egypt, Israel, and Jordan comes from), as well as our underwriting of other entities such as the IMF and World Bank. And we supply 1/4 of the UN's administrative budget, and an even larger percentage for peacekeeping. In this respect we far outstrip any other nation. At some level those are worth something.

The US also considers that its own military expenditures are essential to maintaining security around the world and are thus an unrecouped benefit to many countries.

As for your argument, I'm not sure it helps to say it still works even when the numbers are the opposite of what was originally asserted. In the end, they still have to deal with appropriations limits set by Congress, pre-existing commitments, and other considerations, even before making the judgement that X number of dollars is plenty for such a small country, and we don't know how the dollars provided jibe with what, to be cynical, was promised in return for cooperation.
posted by dhartung at 1:12 PM on December 1, 2002

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