Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Africa and a Marshall Plan,6903,1386173,00.html

Richard Dowden makes some good points that not enough people realize, such as that "The analogy between Europe in 1945 and Africa today is false. At the end of the war, Europe had peace and a highly skilled population. The job was rebuilding . . ." and that "Where rulers still pocket aid or spend it on guns, debt relief simply rewards bad government." and that "Ending agricultural subsidies, tariffs and import regulations in the rest of the world are key to Africa's economic success . . ." but he makes one big mistake in the article:

"The [African] ruling class has failed to create viable states . . . "

The African ruling class didn't create those states, colonialism did, and the borders of African "nations" are now far older than those of Europe. These African states are not just random lines on a map, they are deliberately designed to foster "divide and rule" strategies of outside control. Powerful states were divided by being attacked by several European colonizing powers at the same time. Traditional enemies were put together into the same "nations" as educational policies were put in place to make sure that some groups were more successful than others, and that every "tribe" would be suspicious of every other "tribe."

The result was to create unstable states that could not survive. Either they had to be combined into a Pan-African federation or they would collapse. The only surprise is that more of them haven't collapsed already.

Few of these states has been able to get more than minimum allegiance from their people, and in most cases the population is profoundly alienated. My guess is that many of them would support a United States of Africa, but that their leaders still just want to keep "borrowing" money on the national tab, putting it in Switzerland for their families.

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