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Monday, March 2, 2015

Combating The Spread Of Extremism In The Third World (Part I)

Links A. Impact Of The Repudiation Of Third World Debt
          B. Council On Foreign Relations Comments Regarding Terrorism And Debt

Frequently, I include links that present a viewpoint with which I disagree.  I am convinced in the efficacy of this strategy in fully understanding the issue at hand.  If you aren't prepared to give fair consideration to all perspectives, that don't expect anyone to listen to whatever bullshit you have to offer.  Attentively considering the opposing viewpoint will invariably provide you with more information about the subject, which will strengthen your ability to craft a useful and reasonable opinion.  Having spent many years in Africa, I have a strong opinion regarding the issue of African Debt (to banks, related financial mechanisms, and countries).  Very few on the list of donors can seriously argue that their motivation for providing financial assistance was anything more than a means to acquire more money/resources or influence.  In fairness, I must say that my research has uncovered a few organizations that have absolutely no motivation for personal gain in their efforts to provide aid.  Most of these organizations have a religious support network, which introduces the problem of "conversion coercion through the alleviation of hunger" (I invented that phrase, thank you).  If I were starving, would I convert to being a Baptist instead of a Roman Catholic?  I can't say, but I have no doubt that if Boko Haram were threatening to chop off my head, I would be memorizing lines from the Quran in a heartbeat (God knows your heart.  He also expects you to value the gift of life.  A temporary "fib" about personal religious conversion won't condemn a person's eternal soul, at least not in my mind's Judgment Day).

But I digress.  Recently a U.S. government spokeswoman (can't recall if she was an administration official or from Foggy Bottom) slid off the edge of her talking points a bit by rambling on about "giving ISIS jobs" to discourage them from committing acts of terror.  Note to State Department:  No one uses a guillotine anymore, and public executioners for the State of Texas usually need some medical background.  I do appreciate the sentiment, though.  It reminds us that the young people volunteering for ISIS are doing so in a vacuum (tell the truth: how many of you just had a mental picture of a bunch of Middle-Eastern types, stuck inside of a Hoover?); the international culture that our generation in particular has fostered, that eschews anything faintly religious or moral, promotes the importance of "feeling good" over just about everything else, creates heroes out of criminals, and sexualizes everything from a Big Mac to a chainsaw.  Oh how I long for the days of my youth, when an individual was admired for getting a job at sixteen, avoiding children before marriage, finishing college, respecting old folks, and loving the United States of America.  But again I digress.  This is a tough subject.  The truth is, we need to be more successful in creating jobs and the opportunity for a future for young people, regardless of the language they speak.  There is no "one solution fixes all", but lets take a look at Africa, where ISIS and Al-Qaeda have been so successful recently at recruiting young people.

Actually, economic conditions have greatly improved in a number of African countries (for the purposes of this post, Africa is south-of-the-Sahara).  Success stories include Botswana, Gabon, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique (hey, remember how bad it was BEFORE?), Zambia and even Rwanda (I refuse to add Uganda to the list, regardless of their economic growth and GDP; any society that openly advocates the murder of people for their sexual preference will receive no type of acknowledgement from me).  Some signs of improvement had been noted in West Africa as well, and then Ebola had to show up and ruin everything.  I'm still optimistic about West Africa.  The determined efforts to keep the Ebola outbreak from becoming a full-blown plague were largely successful.  A new crop of national leaders in Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal appear to be singularly focused on improving the lives of their people.  All in all, I believe that the continent of Africa is ripe for some recognition from the West; that its efforts to control unemployment, fight corruption, and root out terrorists have not gone unnoticed.  I'm not speaking of something as temporary as an extension on loan repayments.  I believe the time has come for Europe, Asia and North America to eliminate all African debt.  Furthermore, it should be done without conditions.

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