Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Empty Piggy Bank

The new-out get your war on links to this piece from the LA Times on the economic situation in/around Iraq, which is worth a read. Them people who insist that calls for getting out of Iraq now are unfounded because yes, it may be screwed in the short term, but in the long run we did the right thing should definitely take a look.

"The world is a competitive place," Tom Delare, economics counselor at the U.S. Embassy, said this month during a news briefing. "You have to convince the investor that it is worth his while to put his money in your community." ...

"No pain, no gain," Andy Wylegala, whose job at the embassy is to help Americans do business in Iraq, said...

The problem competitors have with seeing the system they operate in is that they assume that everyone's equal to begin with, and so anyone can compete. Problem is, most people entering the system certainly aren't entering on an equal footing. The impression I get from the quotes above is that tactic is to destroy a nation, under-estimate the reparation costs, and leave it to the savagery of the "market", absolved of any "responsibility" once the pledged money runs out. Seeya. But maybe it's a little more confused than that:

"We were never intending to rebuild Iraq," McCoy said. "We were providing enough funds to jump-start the reconstruction effort in this country."

Ah, hang on now. Jump-starting reconstruction is very different to handing Iraq over to a competitive market, surely? It's one thing to cater to other countries, but it's another thing completely to ensure reparation costs (not even expensive maintenance costs) at the same time.

Just like a client that wants everything done immediately once their budget runs out, it looks like the US are desperately trying to disentangle themselves from the oncoming disaster:

Delare said both the U.S. and world financial markets would be pressing the new Iraqi government to embark on a crash course of economic restructuring. (p.3)

This apparently includes privatisation, efficiency "cuts", and getting rid of corruption. Ah right, should take a couple of months then.

Looks like you just can't get the staff these days. Don't the Americans know how to rebuild a nation by now?

1 comment:

Mr Piggy Bank said...