« In Praise Of New Year's Resolutions | Main | And Now For Something Completely Different »

December 30, 2004

Comments

Let's...

Definition of the word protesting.

Tell me if you see anything in there that even remotely deals with violence, murder, etc.

All I'm asking Stan is what word would you substitute there.

It wouldn't be one word. The fact that he chose to use that particular word shows that he is trying to give sympathy to that cause and also, more importantly, makes the reader relate to those radicals.

I mean, hey, who's not against an army killing 2,000 people for merely protesting? Hell, these people are not radicals, cause I am horrified, too!

A rather cheap trick.

Edward

I might be more appropriate to say "violent" protest.

smlook,

Not even. A violent protest implies rock/bottle throwing (kind of like a football match) not suicide bombings, automatic gunfire, mortars, etc.

Kind of like after a soccer match, I meant to say.

The appointed administration does this:

For the fiscal year 2003 (October-September) 7/3/, the legislative authorities in the United States allocated about US$1.18 billion for food assistance under P.L. 480 Title II, up from roughly US$959 million in fiscal year 2002. Nearly half of the allocated amount is designated for emergency situations.

That evil Republican congress!

Atleast when it comes to food aid it seems that it's not really the U.S. that is stingy after all.

"Regarding the major donors, shipments from the United States reached 4.8 million tonnes in 2001/02, down 400 000 tonnes from the previous season. Despite its smaller donations, the United States, was 65 percent of the world total, up considerably from 53 percent in 2000/01, essentially because other donors sharply reduced their shipments, including Australia, the EU and Japan. "

And what we did in 2000 for food aid:

USA - $796 million

EU - $118m
Netherlands - $63m
UK - $60m
Germany - $47m
Denmark - $42m
Norway - $33m
Sweden - $31m
France - $26m

Dutch,

I would think even you would have to admit that when it comes to food aid $796m to $340m makes the U.S. look pretty darned generous.

Would it kill you to actually write in complete sentences, Timmy? It's especially irritating when you omit the object of the verb

Anarch, occassionally I do on purpose, sometimes not, (Sorry do it on purpose) but it doesn't affect the points I'm trying to make.

Edward, I'm shocked that you closed down the comment section on your last post on the subject. I had so many pictures I wanted to show you and they speak volumes about the importance of our immediate actions to move military assets into the area.

Anarch, occassionally I do on purpose, sometimes not, (Sorry do it on purpose) but it doesn't affect the points I'm trying to make.

It affects them when I have to mind-read in order to figure out what point you're trying to make. All I'm asking is to not become eligible for a Karnak Award every time we have a conversation.

Don't anarchists leave objects out of sentences all the time? :)

Who is the real radical here?

Timmy, I think Anarch's got a bit of a point, here.

I had so many pictures I wanted to show you and they speak volumes about the importance of our immediate actions to move military assets into the area.

Though opinions vary, I recommend blogger.com

I am also pleased to note that Japan, either in response to being shamed by the US or China stealing a march on them, has upped its aid to 500 mil. However, as several sites have noted, though Japanese give a higher dollar amount, they often attach interest and unrealistic conditions to their aid. And there certainly doesn't seem to be the public outpouring that one has in the states.

A picture like this for starters.

If we are speaking about Dafur, pretty much the sum total of all aid is in the PR category. No one is willing to stop the actual killing. The genocide continues, abated only from time to time by weather. But I predict it will end before December. The genocide will be successful.

Not entirely true. The EU pays 250m to fund the African peacecorps, I know that the Dutch raised 1m the week before the Tsunami to fund a hospital there, we hold 100m in reserve for the rebuilding of the country. More countries (including the US) do more things too, but I have an easier time tracking "our" accomplishments ;-)
It is not all PR, but I wish more could be done too.

What I understand from the people actually working in the region is that more than anything it is a humanitarian crisis and most money should go to humanitarian aid.

But to get anywhere you have to stop civil wars, regional conflicts. The peace agreement between the North and the South is a very good start of 2005, I hope it will improve handling of the Dafur crisis.

smlook:
I would think even you would have to admit that when it comes to food aid $796m to $340m makes the U.S. look pretty darned generous.

Yes, but your original statement was about help in Dafur in 2004. First you said the US did more than everybody else combined and based that upon factsheet about a part of the total aid package and pointed at the US part in it. So I sent links to a site where you could look up the figures about *all* of the aid to Dafur in 2004 to show the total picture. In which the US gives a good share, as does the rest of the Western hemisphere - and we all should, being as rich as we are IMHO.

Now you come up with figures about another part (food), but no context. You give figures of both EU and non-EU countries, but not all EU countries. Which makes it rather hard for me to say anyting about it.

Also, I am not entirely sure what point you wanted to make. As I said, I reacted to your point about Dafur in 2004 (and a bit to Stans remark elsewhere about the aid for Tsunami victims). You want to discuss general foreign aid politics now, and compare the US with the EU? Or the US with Europe? Or the richest countries with each other? And if you want to compare, do you want to compare how much food everybody gives, how much emergency aid, how much development aid, the commitment towareds decreasing poverty in the world....???

I am perfectly willing to give an opinion and try to base it in facts, but I do need more context.

http://diplomadic.blogspot.com/2005/01/more-unreality-but-dutch-get-it.html>The Dutch Get It

Rats! Link doesn't link.

http://diplomadic.blogspot.com/2005/01/more-unreality-but-dutch-get-it.html>The Dutch Get It

Slactivist has another really good explanation of why it matters.

That's a very human, very reassuring photo, Timmy...thanks for sharing.

It sort of confuses the point though. No one has questioned the compassion or generosity of the people of the United States through any of this. The question was whether or not our government was accurately/competently representing our heartache and concern.

According to the fact sheet you provided the U.S. has done more than everyone combined in Dafur.

The reason the EU and non-EU was listed out like that is because that is how the U.N. website had it. That was 92% of the total aid.

I am assuming that they counted aid from the EU and the independant aid from each country. Any other country wasn't included because their aid was so small.

"do you want to compare how much food everybody gives,

Already did that above. Based on the info provided by the U.N. we can see that the U.S. is providing 65% of the aid. The EU and its countries contribute, but it is not comparable to what the U.S. food contribution is.

Don't shoot the messenger... check out the U.N. websites WFP and FAO.

Meanwhile...

SPIEGEL ONLINE:

"For the Americans the action is not just help for the desperate Indonesians, instead also an important PR campaign. They can indeed prove, that they don't just conduct wars against Muslims, but instead stand at their side in an hour of need."

Heh.

I'll see your Spiegel story, Stan and raise you one Associated Press story:

The United States bankrolls humanitarian relief in part "because we believe it is in the best interest of those countries and it's in our best interest," Powell said. "It dries up those pools of dissatisfaction that might give rise to terrorist activity."

Despite those who couldn't believe I was just being partisan in my criticism of the PR effort, my feeling has been that it IS in our best interest to get good press on this issue and until just a few days ago we weren't.

By the way, any idea what Muslims states are donating?

Are you trying to start a fight Stan?

any idea what Muslims states are donating?

Well, first off, Muslim Aid is sending 1 million British pounds, and there's conflicting reports, so apparently the Muslim nations are no better at PR. One source says SA and Kuwait together only donated 10 million dollars, but this Saudi Arabia website has its nation's current donation at 30 million dollars and this site says Kuwait is pledging $10 million itself. Likewise, this UAE website has its donation currently at 20 million dollars. etc. etc.

your point?

A fight? Why so defensive, Edward? If we are going to get graded on this, then I'ld like to see how others fare.

Any idea as to what % of Kuwait's GDP goes to aid?

If we are going to get graded on this, then I'ld like to see how others fare.

As a teacher, that's perhaps the single most (self-)destructive attitude you can have...

But since we are the ones getting graded, we are not the "teacher"...

Why so defensive, Edward?

Because you could have chosen any number of other categories with which to compare the US.

any idea what Buddhist states are donating? any idea what Catholic states are donating? any idea what Taoist states are donating? Hindu states, etc. etc, etc.

But you chose Muslim. So again, I ask, what's your point?

And, yes, I'm sensitive about gratuitous Muslim-bashing. That question is so totally unrelated to the PR issue and whether or not the administration should have worked harder in the beginning to ensure they got better press. Even when I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt and link my response back into the PR question ("apparently the Muslim nations are no better at PR"), you ignored that bit and went straight back to your highly selective comparison, leading me, once more, back to the question, what's your point?

You view a simple question as Muslim-bashing??? Can you explain yourself?

That question is so totally unrelated to the PR issue

The point is rather simple and I am surprised that you are having a hard time seeing even after the "grading" post. Our response is just so overwhelmingly greater then those of Muslim states when it comes to helping Muslims and yet we get very little credit in the Muslim world (and the world in general). I think that we won over all the reasonable Muslim folk even prior to the tsunami.

The point is rather simple and I am surprised that you are having a hard time seeing even after the "grading" post.

Maybe I'm too tired to see it. My apologies if I misread you. I took your response as a deflection tactic and, yes, as chance to bash Muslims for not donating enough, as if how much other nations are donating lets us off the hook somehow.

Our response is just so overwhelmingly greater then those of Muslim states when it comes to helping Muslims and yet we get very little credit in the Muslim world (and the world in general).

Our response should be overwheminlgy greater than that of all other nations, as befits our status as the world's only superpower.

I think that we won over all the reasonable Muslim folk even prior to the tsunami.

There's a kernel of truth in that, I suppose, but it begs for a clarification of "reasonable." Is it reasonable for an Iraqi mother whose child was incinerated by a US bomb to hate America? I could go on in this vein, but again suspect I'm a bit too vexed already to offer you a fair debate. Until tomorrow...

Stan LS: Our response is just so overwhelmingly greater then those of Muslim states when it comes to helping Muslims

Proportionate to GNP?

and yet we get very little credit in the Muslim world (and the world in general).

Well, isn't rather the point of this thread? Had President Bush considered it worth interrupting his vacation to respond immediately with a few well-chosen words about the horror of this disaster and the necessity for a generous response, the US would have gotten more credit for making a generous response. As it is, the impression given to the world in general is that the Bush administration's response to the disaster was stingy until driven upwards by public opinion - and that Bush thought so little of it he didn't bother to interrupt his vacation to speak about it.

If PR matters, as Edward said in his initial post, then it matters that the US got very little credit with the Muslim world for its response.

If PR does not matter, if it doesn't matter what people think about the US, then what do you care what the response of the Muslim world was?

yes, as chance to bash Muslims for not donating enough, as if how much other nations are donating lets us off the hook somehow.

But why not? Western nations got bashed (called "stingy"), no? Why are the rich oil states off the table?

as if how much other nations are donating lets us off the hook somehow

That's not what I was getting at. It ties into the point I was trying to make - can the West (well, mainly US) do enough to get into the Muslims' good graces? After all, if its passable for fellow Muslims to do virtually nothing (let's see if there's a backlash, but I doubt there will be), while we are doing so much with $, equipment, and human resources and still not being viewed as benevolent... Well, are we being graded on merit or something else? And if it's "something else", what good will our PR do?

Our response should be overwheminlgy greater than that of all other nations

I wasn't talking about absolute numbers, I asked about %.

Is it reasonable for an Iraqi mother whose child was incinerated by a US bomb to hate America?

You are shooting yourself in the foot here. Is it reasonable for an Iraqi mother whose child was incinerated by a US bomb to love US because of a great PR campaign?

Jes,

if it doesn't matter what people think about the US, then what do you care what the response of the Muslim world was?

Looks like we are going in circles. My point is that since we are not being graded on merit then we should stop paying attention to the grades.

As for PR... Everyone knows what whom we helped in Kosovo, Somalia, etc.. Weeks from now, people won't even remember how many days it took Bush (except for lefties) to make a statement. What will be remembered is what we did and how much we gave.

Stan: Weeks from now, people won't even remember how many days it took Bush [elided] to make a statement. What will be remembered is what we did and how much we gave.

You can certainly hope so. We'll see. What this thread was about, though, was the conviction that it would be better if instead of hoping that people would forget the Bush administration's PR failure, the Bush administration had actually managed a PR success. Don't agree that all else being equal, it's better to be successful and have people remember that, than to hope that people will forget the failure?

Argh. That should have been: "Don't you agree that all else being equal"

Sorry.

stan:
Any idea as to what % of Kuwait's GDP goes to aid?

In general, or for this disaster? For this disaster the nationmaster holds graphs, amongst which aid in ratio with GDP. They are not complete though, since they do not take private donations and such into account.
They try to keep track of more, including amounts pledged by NGO's and the public

"Don't agree that all else being equal, it's better to be successful and have people remember that, than to hope that people will forget the failure?"

I at least want it to be a success and not have it remembered as a failure.

But since we are the ones getting graded, we are not the "teacher"...

Precisely. I'm saying, from my perspective as a teacher, that perhaps the most destructive attitude a student can possess is the instinctive urge to ask how other students fared -- to be blunt about it, to try to be measured on a curve. You either succeed or fail on your own merits, not the merits of those in the room with you.

What would it say about America that if in a time of dire crisis for many millions of people we consider the PR effect during the planning stages?

I for one would like to think it actually didn't occur to the President or his administration to use this for PR points. Atleast that is the kind of President that I want for my country. Wouldn't that be the most sincere response to a tragedy?

What would it say about America that if in a time of dire crisis for many millions of people we consider the PR effect during the planning stages?

You mean like the Doolittle raid?

Cool link, felixrayman, though it's not clear to me that such a narrowly-directed PR campaign is still PR.

I once again tried reading a doorstop history of the 20th C over xmas and found it just too depressing. The later years of WWII seem (despite the intense horror of the time) an oddly optimistic period (which the book I tried to read seemingly in response skipped).

I once again tried reading a doorstop history of the 20th C over xmas and found it just too depressing

Generally I find reading monolithic history texts like that too boring for words...I prefer books that take one small dimension of history and use it as a starting point from which to branch off...for example I read "Coal: A Human History" over the holidays. It's interesting how much can be touched on with such a restricted lens.

As for the Doolittle thing, it gives a good example of how PR can sometimes be more important than material results - militarily the raid accomplished nothing, as a boost to moral it is claimed to have been effective.

Missed the _Allied_ opinion point reading with my cavalier morale-be-damned-win-the-damned-war-on-the-battlefield chess player's attitude: fair enough. Your link claims that the raid accomplished a lot militarily - it was a gambit which succeeded in making the other side overcommit.

Your link claims that the raid accomplished a lot militarily - it was a gambit which succeeded in making the other side overcommit

True, but I don't believe that was planned or expected at the time the attack was conceived.

I don't believe that was planned or expected at the time the attack was conceived.

Then I suggest that you read up on the subject.

We will act? Can we change the tense of that statement to the present continuous please?

Nope, not yet. From the AP:

Bush himself plans to make a personal donation but has not done so yet.

ggd: What would it say about America that if in a time of dire crisis for many millions of people we consider the PR effect during the planning stages?

This is in itself a PR question, i.e. "how would it look if we were too concerned with how things looked?" It brings to mind those rebellious individuals who make absolutely sure everybody knows that they don't care what anyone thinks of them.

And to answer your question, as long as the PR didn't get in the way of actually providing the aid, taking it into account would only say that America's leaders are actually trying to do an important part of their job. Note that Colin Powell himself is now saying he sees the aid effort as an opportunity to repair the U.S.'s image abroad, particularly in Muslim countries.

I'd be interested in the reaction of Christians and others to Delay's prayer today.

You either succeed or fail on your own merits, not the merits of those in the room with you.

Great. Then, as a teacher, wouldn't you agree that from a student's point of view, it's important to know exactly what constitutes a passing grade? Otherwise, there's just no pleasing you.

from a student's point of view, it's important to know exactly what constitutes a passing grade

From a student's point of view, it's important to know exactly how little one can do and still get an 'A'. Inmates do not run the asylum however, at any asylum worth attending.

Actually, that is an interesting question, slarti. If you aren't worried about people failing or falling behind, you generally don't set a 'minimum' bar, as the goal is not fixed. However, if you want to set some sort of standards deal with education on a certification basis, you need to have some minimum standards. The testing then becomes a question of making sure that people attain the minimum standards. For a scholarship or a prize, the former is more appropriate, for something like a drivers license, the latter is more appropriate. In this case, since we aren't going to kick countries off the planet for not measuring up, I would think that we would want to encourage the absolute most generosity rather than claim that there is some passing grade. At least that's my opinion.

Another PR disaster:

While the rest of the Minnesota Vikings were fighting to the last, Randy Moss was skulking away.

With his helmet in hand and head down, Moss slowly walked off the field Sunday while his teammates were lining up to try an onside kick with 2 seconds left. The Redskins recovered, handing the rattled Vikings a 21-18 season finale loss.

Did it matter?

felixrayman
I highly recommend _Europe: A History_ by Norman Davies. The text is broken up with sidebars that ties different eras and areas together. Davies is an specialist in Polish history and more generally Eastern European history, so he pulls the view away from the more western europe-centric focus.

I would think that we would want to encourage the absolute most generosity rather than claim that there is some passing grade.

Fair enough. Now, what constitutes "absolute most generosity"?

at any asylum worth attending.

Hmmm. I trust this isn't the voice of experience. That aside, extremely poor analogy. Maybe some clarification is in order.

Anarch,

You either succeed or fail on your own merits, not the merits of those in the room with you.

But now we are back where I've started. So we should care abou the merit, not what what others in the room think.

So we should care about the merit, not what what others in the room think.

Yeah, right - what does it matter if Muslims round the world think of the US as a stingy nation with an administration that fundamentally doesn't give a damn for anyone who isn't Christian/voting Republican? It's not like their poor opinion of the US or of the Bush administration could possibly affect anything important.

Would that be what you're trying to say, Stan?

Fair enough. Now, what constitutes "absolute most generosity"?

Slarti

I dunno, Matthew 13:45-46?

Yeah, right - what does it matter if Muslims round the world think of the US as a stingy nation with an administration that fundamentally doesn't give a damn for anyone who isn't Christian/voting Republican? It's not like their poor opinion of the US or of the Bush administration could possibly affect anything important.

Sarcasm in lieu of a point isn't all that effective, Jesurgislac. Nor is it even in the neighborhood of civil.

Thanks for playing folks...but this thread is too long now and causing some memory problems...I'm turning off the comments in 15 minutes...get your "last word" in quicly...

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad