Last week I attended the Sydney Writers’ Festival, and it made me realize how ignorant I have become about world affairs. Australia is geographically, and almost perversely culturally remote from the rest of the Western World.
To a great extent the Festival was concerned with Australian issues, which confirmed in that sense at least they are not so remote. Just like Europe and America, Australian public life is corrupt from top to bottom at Federal and State levels (read the book HE WHO MUST BE OBEID). But one outstanding international contribution came from the British journalist Christina Lamb, and her recent book LEAVING KABUL that details how The West, after spending in excess of a Trillion dollars, and the loss of more than 7,000 young lives (and the maiming and traumatizing of hundreds of thousands of young soldiers and civilians) has lost the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Probably because she is an intelligent and attractive woman she had access at the top levels to Presidents and Generals – but it is her interviews with the ordinary Afghans that are most insightful (they are not pushing a political agenda and/or preening their egos). In particular one elderly man said “If you keep sending the money, the war will never end.” In particular he meant US Aid that flowed to Pakistan, where a lot of that money was diverted to support The Taliban.
In my direct experience of managing World Bank and Asian Development Bank contracts in Africa and Bangaldesh, Aid has done more damage than AIDS in the Third World. Big Easy Money causes corruption – and strangely enough that was the conclusion at the Sydney Writers Festival about the rampant corruption in Australia. The booming real estate market is attracting, and being fuelled, by black money from corrupt Chinese, and outright criminal money from drug dealers laundering their profits. And property developers are using that Big Easy Money to corrupt politicians.
And to a great extent the endless conflict in The Middle East has been prolonged by direct US Aid to Israel (in excess of US$20 million per day used to buy arms and ammunition) and massive Aid to Egypt to buy their neutrality. And now with the attention of the World diverted by the threat of The Islamic State, Israel is able to accelerate its annexation of the West Bank in contempt of President Obama’s wishes, and with the direct support of the hard-right Republican Neo-Cons of The US Senate.
If you want insights into the Middle East conflict, and its harsh and apparently barbaric societies, based on my 40 years experience there from the perspective of the weird and wonderful oilfield trash, expatriate characters who washed up there in the oil patch from 1960 to 2001, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:
and download it if you have a Kindle.
Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:
Using the ISBN number is 978-1908147097
They offer free delivery worldwide.