Sunday, June 11, 2006

Brothers in Arms - Certainly not in alms!!

(We're only in it for freedom and democracy!)
Press release from The White House, april 21:

President Bush will host Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen at Camp David on Friday, June 9, 2006. Denmark is a close ally in the war on terror, a valued partner in advancing freedom in the world, and a key member of the United Nations Security Council. Under Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen's leadership, Denmark is making significant contributions to support the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, is promoting reform and democracy in the broader Middle East, and is an advocate of a transatlantic partnership working together on common challenges. In July 2005, Prime Minister and Mrs. Rasmussen hosted the President and Mrs. Bush in Denmark. The two leaders look forward to continuing their discussions at Camp David on a range of bilateral and strategic issues.

This was the first time a Danish prime minister got such an invitation. The US seems to appreciate the Danish contribution - even though it is only with some 500 soldiers in the southern, more peaceful part of Iraq. In June/July Denmark sends some 290 soldiers to the restive Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan. - Not much, compared to American and British contributions. It has mostly symbolic value.

What's in it for Denmark? In Denmark there's a growing opposition to the u-turn in Danish foreign policy implemented by the Rasmussen conservative-liberalist government, when in 2001 it started cutting down on Danish development assistance, and in 2003 decided to send Danish troops to Iraq. Decades of low-profile NATO alliance membership was replaced by an activist foreign policy. Brothers in arms with other leaders of the free world. One of the things Rasmussen said on coming home was that the fight for freedom and democracy was the important part of it. To wage this struggle you have to trample over tens of thousands of human lives, Iraqis who are made victims of war.

It is a well-known secret that the economic reconstruction of Iraq has been a very interesting thing for any capitalist out to make a good bargain. At a world bank/IMF meeting in Dubai in september 2003 the victors decided on the economic set-up for the "liberated" country. This was - and is indeed - a capitalist's paradise. Don't forget to bring bibles and prayer books:

Investors allowed 100% ownership of Iraqi assets
full repatriation of profits
equal legal standing with local firms
Foreign banks would be welcome to set up shop immediately, or buy into Iraqi ventures
Income and corporate taxes would be capped at 15%
Tariffs would be slashed to a universal 5% rate

This is not India we are dealing with - with a fussy nanny state interfering in private enterprise with a lot of red tape and restrictions. Nor is it China with forceful local competitors. What is it then? Read my lips, dummy!!
It is even more interesting for the friends of the coalition who get privileged access to the enormous amount of money channeled into reconstruction in the country. And reconstruction will be an eternal money wheel. A brotherhood of Arms is not one of alms.

2 Comments:

Blogger Sophia said...

What reconstruction ? If only there was peace and reconstruction then may be letting foreign investors get out with 100 % of the money is a minor offense. Iraqis are being killed every day, their country is being robbed and their society thrown into secatarian warfare !
Reconstruction talk was an empty rhetoric to attract allies because if they really intended to reconstruct iraq then they must have had plans for pacifyig the country and plans for real reconstruction.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Cosmic Duck said...

Sophia.

I do think the Americans want to reconstruct Iraq. Initially in 2003 20 bn $ was set aside for the purpose. That is a considerable amount of money, even though a lot of it is wasted in overly lavish projects and a considerable part going into the pockets of Halliburton and companies like that. But the intention to reconstruct the places was there. When it hasn't happened it is due to the fact that the reality of the place has overwhelmed the coalition. Reconstruction is a precondition for building a peaceful and democratic ME that can trade with the West.

10:36 AM  

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