To sustain the Arab Spring, America, Europe and Japan will provide $40 billion in fresh foreign aid for Arab nations that take the democratic path.
The $40 billion breaks down thus: $10 billion from the G-8, $10 billion from the Gulf Arabs, and $20 billion from the World Bank and the international development banks.
Now, as Gulf petrodollars come from U.S. consumers of gas and oil, and we are to be the largest contributor of direct aid, and we are the largest contributor to the World Bank and the development banks, U.S. taxpayers have just been put on the hook for untold billions.
Yet that $40 billion over three years is pocket change compared to what Hillary Clinton promised at the Copenhagen summit.
In December 2009, a year that millions of Americans lost their jobs and homes, Clinton pledged $20 billion annually as the U.S. share of a $100-billion-a-year transfer of wealth to help Third World nations cope with global warning.
The U.S. contribution would start under Obama and rise to $20 billion annually by 2020, when the First World would begin transferring $1 trillion dollars every decade to the developing world.
Ethiopia’s prime minister, Meles Zenawi, who announced the plan, indicated Africa’s disappointment at its meagerness. But, in return for a seat at the table managing the money, he graciously accepted.
Am I missing something?
Was not 2009 a tough year for America? Was it not the first of three in which we ran a deficit of 10 percent of our gross domestic product? Are we not talking of cutting Medicare and Social Security for seniors who have chipped in to those programs all their working lives to secure their retirement years?
Cities are cutting education. States are slashing pensions. The Pentagon is killing weapons systems. And Barack Obama is ladling out fresh foreign aid.
The Europeans, too — are they living in the real world?
Greece hangs on a precipice, with Europeans debating whether Athens should be allowed to default, which would blow a hole through banks all across Europe. Portugal and Ireland could follow. In the worst case, Spain and Italy fail, entailing a terminal crisis of the EU.
In Athens, anarchists have taken to the streets. Huge protests have erupted in Spain and Britain. How long can the austerity continue among the big debtor nations before social cohesion collapses?
Across the continent, populist parties of the right are rising that seek to retrieve the sovereignty surrendered to transnational institutions by their globalist elites.
Yet Sarkozy and Obama are talking about new foreign aid.
The Wall Street Journal banner June 1 read: "Housing Imperils Recovery: Home Prices Sink to 2002 Levels; Consumer Confidence Falls as Pessimism Grows."
The lead ran thus: "House prices have sunk to 2002 prices, effectively wiping out almost a decade’s worth of home equity across the U.S. and imperiling the fragile economic recovery as Americans confront the falling value of their biggest investment."
That day, the Dow fell 280 points. And the June 2 Journal banner read: "Economic Outlook Darkens: Markets Stumble as Factories, Hiring Slow Down; Biggest Drop in Stocks in a Year."
Nearly one-fourth of American homeowners live in houses that are underwater, worth less than the mortgages on them. The index of consumer confidence fell last month from 66 percent to 60.8 percent. Only 38,000 private-sector jobs were created in May. The manufacturing boomlet seems to have stalled. Some 422,000 American workers filed for unemployment benefits in May.
Talk of the "double-dip recession" is now pandemic.
Yet a U.S. government $14.3 trillion in debt, running a third straight deficit of $1.4 trillion, is talking of sending billions in aid to Arab regimes where the deposed despots looted the place.
Nor is America any longer exempt from the anarchic violence plaguing Europe. Over Memorial Day, when millions happily took off for the beach for that first taste of summer, they found trouble.
The Drudge Report headlines the day after Memorial Day tell the story: "Miami ‚War Zone’ During Urban Weekend," "Poet … Gunned Down in Front of Miami Poetry Club," "Violent Crime Explodes in Myrtle During Black Bike Week; 8-hour Hell," "Rib Fest at Rochester Beach Turns Rowdy," "Riot on Long Island," "Urban Melee in Charlotte," "Unruly Crowd Shuts Down Nashville Water Park," "Dozens of Gang Bangers" at Chicago beach.
This is not the peaceful, prosperous America of 1947, with half the world’s production, that could cobble together Marshall Plans and ship wealth abroad to rebuild nations devastated by World War II.
Today, America is herself in need of repair and rebuilding. Yet her leaders are living in yesterday.
Patrick J. Buchanan
June 3, 2011