"Bush, a Friend of Africa" starts off well enough, but then Nicholas Kristof, after taking a swipe at Bill Clinton (Bill who?) demands that George Bush do precisely the opposite than that for which he has just earned Kristof's lavish praise. Let's take a look at a few of the bones that Kristof seeks to pick with the president.
1. Bush "has done shamefully little to stop Sudan's other conflict - the genocide in Darfur..." Yo, Kristof, there is a war on. What about someone else a little closer to the scene helping out? What about the French army? They haven't done anything for 300 years or so. What about the Swiss army. Oh yeah, they are busy making knives and guarding the Pope. What about the German army? We nor the British nor the Australians nor the Russians will be there, so they don't have to worry about getting their asses kicked again. Our military is just a wee bit busy right now, so I think this was an undeserved cheap shot.
2. "Mr. Bush's decision to cut off funds for the U.N. Population Fund means that more African girls will die in childbirth. Even more tragic is the administration's blind hostility to condoms to fight AIDS - resulting in more dead Africans." Well sir, I would direct you here where you will see that, in 2003 alone, the total of U. S. aid, government, private and individual remissions to Africa totaled 78.4 billion dollars (that's billion with a "B"). That kind of cash should have bought a lot of condoms.
3. "Yet Mr. Bush is resisting the G-8's calls for further help for Africa; he thinks the sums are better spent on cutting the taxes of the richest people on earth than on saving the lives of the poorest." I would again refer Mr. Kristol to this and ask the questions, "Why are we the richest people on earth?" Because we aren't forced by our government to pay 46% income taxes. And, "Where did all of that private aid and individual remissions money come from?" It came from not having to pay it in taxes.
4. "Come on, Republicans! You need to persuade Mr. Bush to be more generous this week, because his present refusal to help isn't conservative, but just plain selfish." Selfish? Bush isn't refusing to help. He is saying that dumping more and more billions into the black hole that is Africa will accomplish exactly what it has accomplished so far, which is nothing.
You want fair trade? Bush challenged the EU to drop their massive agricultural aid programs if we cut ours. Response? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I'll admit that this was a meaningless promise because there is absolutely no way that any EU country, including the UK, will drop its ag aid handouts, so Bush wasn't too worried about anyone accepting that challenge.
George Bush's job is to protect and look out for the interests of the American people. His job begins there and ends there. He has the authority and the responsibility to take action if, and only if, the welfare of the American people is well served. Breaking up a genocide in Darfur when our military is already stretched thin does not serve the interests of the American people at this time. Since no one else on this earth seems to care enough to stop it, why should we?
I don't like Bill Clinton any more than Mr. Kristof, apparently, but what the hell has he got to do with this? The king is dead, long live the king. Africans, Europeans, Asians, Central and South Americans and the United Nations didn't care enough about the genocide in Rwanda to do anything, so why flail away at Clinton? As poorly managed as the State Department and the Defense Department were under Clinton, it is best that we stayed the hell out. Remember Mogadishu?
Southern Appeal - Kristof says it all too well
James Joyner@OTB - Bush: Friend of Africa
Lorie Byrd@PoliPundit - Conservatives Have The Right Idea On Aid
Reasoned Audacity - Now, we have Live8. . .
Arthur Chrenkoff - Charity begins at the cash register
Anything that defies my sense of reason - And so it all comes together
Common Grounds Online - Who Are the Poor?
Mudville Gazette - Open Post
A Healthy Alternative to Work - The tragedy of Live 8
The Daily Demarche - Live 8
Lockjaw's Lair - Live 8 – Concerts Without Purpose
Betsy's Page - Says Kristof was remarkably fair - humpf!