Sunday 14 December 2003

A week of weak assertions

The News Today
Captured, Saddam Hussein found in a hole. After yesterday's blog, I could not have predicted that all the airwaves would be filled with first the news, then the opinions and finally, the propaganda.
Whilst the capture of the tyrant can be celebrated, it does not bring closure to the problems in Iraq; rather, the morning after the night before would reveal that a headless chicken could live for a lot longer than when it lost its head - in one instance, 18 months. Longest surviving headless chicken.
If Saddam were captured in a hole, it is unlikely that he has been the one orchestrating the insurgencies against the coalition in Iraq, but that are other malcontents and stakes against the forces of occupation. Those who reckon Saddam as their rallying symbol either would give up or be fired-up wreaking more havoc on the belligerents.
The White House, Pentagon and Downing Street would milk this event for all it is worth, but cows can only produce so much milk after which the udders would give no more until the next morning.
The Dirty numbers game
After George W. Bush took the White House; with the legitimacy of a one-vote majority in the Electoral College, and a minority of the popular American electorate vote. Little, could I have known the role numbers would play in events across the world.
In Nigeria, after the Commonwealth meeting known as CHOGM was almost sidetracked into irrelevance by the Zimbabwean issue, President Obasanjo had to remind us of what a consensus means.
When you all agree to an issue in a consensus, you do repudiate your agreement later on. It was a smack across the chops of Mozambique, which is a wannabe Commonwealth country with not historical ties to Great Britain.
That I suppose revealed that some elements of the English Gentleman have to be taught to a number of countries; what is going on in Zimbabwe is wrong and we should stand up for what is just, represents justice and condemn tyranny in all its manifestations.
A majority it is not.
Earlier in the year, Colin Powell announced the coalition of the willing [The Coalition of the bullied] with regards to the Iraqi putsch - do not get me wrong, the Iraqi issue was always a putsch, but when the Weapons of Mass Destruction did not materialise we heard it was a quest for regime change.
Anyway, this coalition if made up of the US, the UK, Australia, Japan and other insignificant little-stans as you will see from link above.
However, this list does not include Russia [Erstwhile world power and largest country], China [Most populous and fastest growing economy], India [Largest democracy and 2nd most populous country], Brazil [Largest democracy and economic driver of South America], Nigeria [Largest democracy in Africa and oil-power], the Arab league, Germany &France and a host of another 130 countries of the world.
There is no doubt that the coalition of the willing find themselves beholding to America for aid or other means of subsistence, examples being Colombia, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, El Salvador - the old Eastern Bloc countries have simply exchanged the Soviet allegiance for the American allegiance in the New World Order.
Little doing much.
Then the debate on the European constitution collapse on the issue of voting rights. There again, a sensible use of numbers has been jettisoned for the dirty numbers game agreed a few years ago in Nice.
For now, the votes would not be weighted according to the existing populations of the representative countries but on some arbitrary weighting which gives Spain (Population 40.2m) and Poland (Population 38.6m) 27 votes respectively to Germany's (Population 82.4m) 29 the same number it shares with France and the United Kingdom (Population 60m) which have a similar population size. Population Statistics
The commonsense argument would be; properly weigh these votes in relation to population, which means Germanywould command more influence in Europe; and rightly, so, Germany has the most Europeans.
However, it seems we would live with this fudge until 2009. It is a horrible numbers game when the mini-stans of Europe have the power to upstage European progress to the chagrin of the majority.
19 Billions dollars and all that fuss.
The final numbers game was in the decision to allocate Iraq rebuilding contracts to countries that were part of that coalition. From my reckoning, only six of the 30 have the infrastructure to make any meaningful contribution.
As for the kafuffle of the coalition of the un-bullied, at 19 billion dollars for the whole project, one is sure they can get better business elsewhere with security for their human assets. Even the Red Cross and UN have lost too much in Iraq to be bothered about that amount in general economic terms.
Hope indeed.
Eventually, an honest broker does the counting and the whole truth would numb the purveyors of dirty and weak numbers who seem to be having a field day today.

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