How buy friends and purchase people
By J.J. Jackson
Barack Obama, is out there (really out there) stumping for his party's nomination for President in 2008. And by the sound of his recent speech in Chicago, what he is proposing is a liberal's dream come true when it comes to securing influence and new friends around the world. In short, he plans to buy them off by sending taxpayer dollars over seas and spreading socialism to all.
Obviously Obama is a true believer in the liberal way. According to the fact sheet released by his campaign, the junior Senator from Illinois would help "expand security and opportunity" by doubling "U.S. Spending on Foreign Aid to $50 Billion a Year by 2012." We anxiously await Barack Obama's new, and sure to be best selling, book "How to Buy Friends and Purchase People" due to hit the shelves sometime this year.
This approach should come as no real surprise to anyone. After all, actions such as this are the hallmark of the religion of liberalism; give people money (formerly belonging to someone else) and secure their loyalty. For years the left has taken this approach at home with programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Food Stamps. Each time an election rolls around they make sure to remind everyone who has their hand in the cookie jar that a vote for them is a vote to continue those bribes and their loyalty payment of choice.
Then year after year they run around trying to figure out how to add new loyal followers to the roles of these programs. They even come up with more programs for those that don't qualify for myriad of the wealth redistribution plans already in existence. Then when it no longer suits their purposes to only purchase the loyalty of American citizens, the obvious next step is that they would turn to giving handouts to foreign countries.
While the concept of "foreign aid" is not an Obama creation, the fact that he wants to expand it (and he is not the only one by the way) speaks about how he thinks he can make people like not just him but the United States as a whole. And why not? Liberals of all stripes have been buying loyalty for years with great success.
Barack Obama, believing that all good things flow from a benevolent government ruled by masters who know what is best for those of us that exist under their rule, would of course think this is good idea. He believes that government knows how to best manage the important things in the lives of the people. And he firmly believes that his benevolence would push forward "strategic goals, including helping the world's weakest states to build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth."
Call me cynical, but doesn't the government have a hard enough time "reducing" poverty, "educating" communities, and "developing" markets here in the United States despite the plethora of spending by big daddy government on such things? Have you taken a look at our inner cities, our government schools and businesses like Amtrak that have continued to slog along on government subsidies? How about instead relying on the people themselves and their own innate abilities to do these things?
Nah, because that would mean giving up core beliefs that are part and parcel of the liberal ideology. That's why.
But it's ok. Why is it ok you ask? Because Barack Obama is going to "demand more" from those countries that he wants to give this money to. His list of what he is going to "demand" from them includes things like "concrete steps to improve the rule of law". Although what "law" he refers to is unknown. There are lots of types of "law" and some of them certainly are not worth promoting. Sharia law comes to mind. But it is "law" and we certainly wouldn't want to offend observant Muslims who happen to believe that women are second class citizens and that when a man rapes a woman somehow the woman is at fault and should be stoned to death right?
He also would demand (in a firm tone I suppose) that the recipients of foreign aid "build transparent, accountable government institutions". Again call me cynical, but most of these governments where the aid will be targeted already seem to be pretty transparent. They are "transparently" bad. Anyone looking at them can see the abuses of power that exist without trying too hard.
Oh, but he will also demand a renewed "respect for human rights".
Now, with all these demands it sounds like he is proposing that the United States engage in "nation building" to me. And isn't the left always screaming bloody murder about that? Oh, that's right. They only scream about that when it is a Republican President (who is liberal enough in his own right) using the military to do that and when they think there is political advantage to be gained.
But I am sure that with Barack Obama in charge it will be ok.
With all the money Obama plans to spend, perhaps his biggest and boldest plan is to bring the American government funded education system to the rest of the developing world by "establishing a $2 billion Global Education Fund". Hey, maybe not a bad idea. After all, if we can make the rest of the world as pathetic at mathematics as the average child attending the public schools here in the United States we might have a fighting chance!
But wait, he's not finished. Barack Obama wants to relieve people of their obligations which is another great pillar of liberalism. He would "work with other developed nations and multilateral institutions to cancel remaining onerous debt while pushing reforms to keep developing nations from slipping into fiscal ruin." Wow. Don't you like how Obama is worried about the debt of people in other countries? Maybe he can just wave that magic wand of his and poof away the debt of millions of Americans too!
Why not? If it works for Sub-Saharan Africa, why can't it work for Joe Blow living in Chicago? Here's a news flash for Senator Obama. Basic economics dictates that someone, somewhere is going to pay a price for this action. He'll probably assure us that it will be only be the "rich" but I'll bet dimes to donuts that it will be American citizens who will ultimately pay the price of these forgiven debts.
Yes, under President Barack Obama all these nations that are the beneficiaries of our benevolence will be paid off if they act appropriately for the promise to play nice and help us fight terrorism. Does anyone worry that the people of these countries might just see their governments as being under the economic thumb of an American Empire? Anyone worry that the people of these countries will see their leaders as being weak and subservient to the would-be President Obama for the sake of money? Anyone worry that when the money fails to flow to anyone actually in need and remains in the pockets of the government officials that the citizens might become a little irked? Anyone? Anyone remember "oil for food"?
And can I point out that it is strange that these commitments are talked about without a timetable in an very open ended way? To me it is. Especially since Barack Obama said of President Bush's current commitment to the people of Iraq that, "the president has refused time and again to tell the Iraqi government that we will not be there forever."
Of course that statement is blatantly false since President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and now General Gates have all been saying this since at least January. If you doubt this you can read President Bush's State of the Union Address from Jan 10, 2007 (source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/01/20070110-7.html)
But the point is Barack's own plan says nothing about time tables or not having an open ended commitment. You would think for a man so set on timelines (and he spells out clearly his Iraq Surrender Plan) that he would have discussed how long all these foreign countries he would be giving money to would have to comply.
You would think that. But Barack Obama does not actually intend there to be such timelines. That's not the socialist way. When it comes to redistributing wealth, there never are any "time lines" or "closed end commitments". Because the longer you can keep someone suckling at the government teat the better chance you have of hooking them on the money you are throwing their way.
I guess the only question left is what happens when after we've paid out all this money and these recipients don't meet the progress Obama determines they should? How are we going to get the money back? Maybe we'll have to establish another foreign aid fund in order to help them with that too?
In the long run I think that all that Obama's glorious plans are going to do is make a lot of dictators and tyrants very, very rich. We've tried appeasing people with money in the past. Usually such actions end very badly for us and the people under their rule. But then again, liberals don't ever seem to learn from history.
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the lead editor of Conservative News & Opinion – The Land of the Free and also the owner of The Right Things – Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com.