Friday, September 26, 2008

$700 billion bail out, taxpayers concerns and saving the economy

Does this mean the US, in case of a bust, should be welcome to the Third World Club? It remains to ask who will benefit from US economic difficulties, will it be China who will jump on US markets abroad?

It seems that for the US government the bailout is a matter of life or death. As a powerful country with a very ramified economy, it will be unthinkable that it will ask for international help to phase out its current troubles. This seemingly economic tsunami is unlike Katrina disaster which make the USA for the first time in its history to accept international aid to cope with it. The US economy to save itself and the economies of other countries need restructuring at every major financial institutions for them to go regularly smoothly, creating benefits and not not unsustainable losses.

The issue of bailing out banks will certainly hit the tax payers as the money needed for social projects will be channeled into banks that in the first place let things go wrong.

The bailout should be the last surgery to save a sector from a chronic situation that is likely to affect the rest of the world, knowing that the US economy counts 20% of the international trade. Otherwise a global crisis will spread like fire hitting the US economy and other economies beyond.

Perhaps there should be a mechanism by which the government can retrieve the $700 billion when the bailed out banks return to a healthy state. It won’t make sense that banks will continue to have a pat on the back each time they are in trouble instead of a slap on the hand each time they go knowingly go wrong. Taxpayers don’t just have the right to know where their money goes but the right to ave their say on how it should be spent.

This issue is surely a big headache for Obama and McCain in this presidential election period. It’s the biggest test for them to show the voters to what extent they can be up to big challenges.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is it immoral to be very rich?

Being rich is better than being poor. There is no limit to how much money a person can have in a liberal economy. But acquiring money also entails responsibilities towards one’s country and the financial markets. There are many who get rich through dubious means like engaging in illicit activities (drugs, smuggling etc.) There are those who resort to tax evasion , the exploitation of the workers and the monopoly of the market to fix their own prices.

However there are laudable rich people who get clean money and use it for the welfare of the needy. The best example is Bill Gates who decided to quit his executive post at Microsoft and to dedicate his vast fortune to help poor people.

It doesn’t make sense to curb people’s ability to make as much money as they can but it also doesn’t make sense to let financial institutions get out of control leading to an economic collapse affecting both the rich and the poor. What is needed is a vision that can lead to the general prosperity and not an excessive greed that leads to the downfall of the perpetrators and those linked to them directly and indirectly.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Should America to the world’s policeman?

|The US needs to look as a partner with the rest of the world and not as a big brother using sticks and carrots to implement its policies vis-à-vis foes and friends. The world needs states that treat each other on equal footing and not on the basis of domineering.

If the US continues to have too many interventions, it may get political allies around the globe but at the same this will generate into increasing resentment towards its policies. Even in the rest of the West, people are resentful of the US because of its policies to make the world turn according to its agenda.

Its military power now guaranteeing it to be the world’s policeman is just increasing the race for arms among the other emerging powerful countries, particularly China and Russia. This will end by each emerging military power seeking to have its own carrefours to police.

The question that remains is whether the US can police all the hot spots of the world without over-stretching its army and budget or it will have selective policing by turning a blind eye to what is going on in areas it considers of less strategic importance.

On Thabo Mbeki’s resignation

South Africa needn’t any severe power struggle leading it to a situation similar in Zimbabwe that has put it far behind.

He will be remembered as being soft with Mugabe or rather supportive of his policy as he didn’t use South Africa’s economic and political influence to force him to conduct fair elections. He’s gone but he left Mugabe in power, who will remain a problem for the new South Africa president if he doesn’t respect the deal he has signed with the opposition.

It remains how the new president, expectedly Jacob Zuma, can turn a new page and put South Africa on the right track. Otherwise there can be no real changes but just change of faces.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is it ever justified to kill civilians?

Historically, the civilians have been the victims of military raids. The First and the Second World Wars were events in which millions of civilians died due to indiscriminate raids on cities.

Despite the international conventions to protect civilians, there are many military operations that can’t be halted because of the civilians in the conflict zones.

But there is no justification to deliberately kill civilians as they shouldn’t in any way be the principal target of an armed operation. However there is no guarantee that in a massive operation they can all be protected, especially when it involves heavy weapons or air raids.

The killing of civilians is another price for wars, whose aim is to hit the targets and to destroy the enemy. After the fact, there is regret and compensation of the relative of the victims. Which means that there is no justification to kill civilians whose lives are gratuitously lost due to errors or deliberate targeting.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rewarding leaders who are losers

Leaders with common sense should be ready for victory and defeat and not to feel defiant when winning or to call for violence when losing. It’s all a matter of playing a fair game for the benefit of the country and not for personal benefit.

The drawback of the rulers in Africa is that when they get grip of power they create an oligarchy through which they try to stifle all sorts of opposition. Their weapon is repression.

The examples of Zimbabwe and Kenya show it is just a waste of lives, opportunities and time to fail to settle the results of an election fairly. There is no harm in power sharing for the sake of a country. The greatest harm is when political differences generate into violence setting the country backward and making any national reconciliation hard to achieve without concession and international mediation.

The hope is that Zimbabwe will raise from its current fall in dire economic difficulties and that all the Zimbabweans can benefit from the wealth their renewed economy can afford.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is the world safer after 9/11?

9/11 remains a turning point in modern history. It has put on alert the rest of the world, especially countries with close ties with the USA. Terrorism has struck all the corners of the world, mainly in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

For Morocco, the terrorist attacks on May 16th , 2003 in Casablanca was a wakeup call to have a stand against all forms of terrorism. Terrorism was viewed as something happening just in troubled parts of the world like Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s evident that the consequences of these attacks made the authorities revise their security policies and arrest those suspected of involvement in future planned attacks.

However, Morocco is safer now as it has pre-emptive security operations to surround suspected terrorist cells. But it has also to remain vigilant as the threat can come from its borders with Algeria where the Al Qaeda is successful in mounting deadly terrorist attacks at least once a year.

Morocco is lucky, in that it doesn’t have armed groups as it is the case in Algeria, ready to mount battles even with the army. The Moroccans in their majorities have no sympathy for radical Islam that will do nothing but fetter their personal freedom.

In general, as long as governments all over the world don’t cooperate, despite their political differences, terrorism will find a safe haven, especially in areas known for their political instability like Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

What can eradicate support for terrorist groups in Muslim countries is the eradication of poverty and ignorance about the real message of Islam. If not, support for Al Qaeda and the like will be used as a means to express protest and hope for the “best”.

Listen to BBC World Have Your Say show on this subject.

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