Tuesday, January 11, 2005

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Hot political blogs, Tsunami relief (or the lack thereof)...

In the Politics & General Interest links section, I've added two new hot political blogs:

The Counterterrorism blog is a new blog by a series of 'professional's' in the field. Take a look.

The Diplomad has ongoing comments from an American foreign service representative who's overseas in the Tsunami affected area...

By now we think most of our readers have figured out the very low opinion The Diplomad has of the UN and its wasteful, cynical "relief" agencies, in particular the notably odious UNICEF. The Diplomad has tried to give our readers a taste of just how truly obscene these agencies are and how they feed off the misery of the world's poor and the money of world's rich. The Diplomad also has been and remains very critical of the response of local people to the tragedy that has befallen their compatriots...

The Diplomad has written previously on the Saber-toothed Tiger Law of Life which, in essence, dictates that nature meant for us to be tiger lunch by the age of 40, give or take a year or so. For those of us in the First World and those in the Turd World with access, however,modern science, technology and the free enterprise system have pushed our ability to exist well-beyond our original design specifications. The history of modern man is one of fighting Mother Nature and her nefarious plans for us as individuals; we are not content with ensuring that the human species as a whole survive, we also insist on ensuring that human individuals survive. No other species does that; in fact, as we will discuss, much of non-Western mankind still doesn't either.

We have all heard how the quake-tsunami that has cost perhaps as many as 160,000 lives, thus far, has produced an unprecedented outpouring of global generosity. But has it, really? As we have tried to document, for example, the UN bureaucracy has not shown itself particularly concerned with saving lives, but more with preserving its status as a politically correct over-paid elite. But even more troubling than the antics of the increasingly incompetent, cynical and irrelevant UN has been the tepid or non-existent response to the disaster from the majority of mankind, including from citizens within the most affected countries.

I see, however, no outpouring of support in most of the world's countries. The oil-rich Arabs? Where are they? But most frustrating and even angering is the lack of concern exhibited by average and elite members of the societies most directly affected. This was driven home in the course of an interminable meeting a few days ago discussing some silly resolution or another calling on the UN to appoint a "Special Representative for Tsunami Relief." A relatively senior Sri Lankan official leaned over and said to me, "Why do we want to bother with this? We all know you Americans will do everything." A nice compliment, I suppose, but on reflection a sad commentary not only about the rest of the world but presumably about Sri Lanka, itself. One would expect the affected countries to take the lead in relief efforts. None of the most seriously affected countries (Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives) is a dirt poor country; all have well-established governments and national identities.

In Jakarta, aside from flags at half-staff, we have seen no signs of mourning for the victims: while employees and dependents of the American embassy spent their holiday loading trucks and putting together medicine kits, the city's inhabitants went ahead with New Year's parties; nightclubs and shopping centers are full; and regular television programming continues. At least 120,000 of their fellow countrymen are dead, and Indonesians hardly talk about it, much less engage in massive charitable efforts. The exceptionally wealthy businessmen of the capital -- and the country boasts several billionaires -- haven't made large donations to the cause of Sumatran relief; a few scattered NGOs have done a bit, but there are no well-organized drives to raise funds and supplies. We have seen nothing akin to what happened in the USA following the 9/11 atrocity, or the hurricanes in Florida of this past year.

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