Saturday, May 20, 2017

Yet Another Hand Out For Baksheesh

     “Ev'ry one's got something
     And they're out tryin' to get some more.”

     (Randy Newman.)

     Seldom are foreign politicians looking for a handout quite this open about it:

     Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos withheld his approval of President Trump's proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico Thursday evening in an interview with Bret Baier.

     "The best wall that you can build is economic development in Central America and South America," Santos responded when asked for his thoughts on the wall.

     "I urge President Trump and all of the United States to look more to the south," he told Baier. "The strategic interests of the United States are much more important in the south, in Latin America, than many parts of the world."

     It’s not unexpected that the potentate of some other country should wheedle the president of the United States for a bag of American dollars. It’s happened often enough in the past. The irony here is that a huge flood of U.S. cash already flows into Colombia, every day of every year. However, it’s private cash: money Americans freely spend on the drug of their choice: cocaine. At this time, that flow is the lifeblood of Colombia’s economy.

     Perhaps Santos hasn’t caught enough of that river of greenbacks in his personal bucket. Or perhaps he’s been pressured by other Central and South American satraps to use his influence on American federal policy – considerable, given the effort Washington has put into interdicting the flow of cocaine into the U.S. – to get some American bucks for his Latin brothers in corruption, who don’t have a coca money tree to shake. Either way, the thrust of Santos’s statement cannot be denied.

     But the implied request itself must be.

     Quoth Isabel Paterson:

     Loans made by one government to another do not answer to any of the proper conditions of credit. The money lent belongs to the people of the lending nation, not to the officials who grant the loan; and it becomes a charge upon the people of the borrowing nation, not upon the officials who negotiate the loan and spend the money. There is no collateral, and no means of collection by private action. If the debt is not paid, war or the threat of war is the only recourse. Meantime private production is wrecked; the economy of the lending nation has to bear the capital loss; while the economy of the borrowing nation is loaded with the dead weight of government projects (buildings, armies, etc.) for which the money is spent. It is an infallible formula for disaster.

     It cannot be put more clearly than that – and that assumes that Santos and his fellow corruptocrats would “settle” for loans. It’s far more likely that they would ask for (and hope to receive) “grants” through some supposed “development agency.” Add to that the well-documented frequency with which such “loans” and “grants” do nothing but enrich and strengthen the rulers of the recipient nation.

     Yasser Arafat died a billionaire. There is no record of his ever having worked a day in his life. Bear that in mind when your “charitable impulses” toward the denizens of other lands rise to befuddle you.

     Donald Trump is not the sort of man who can be wheedled. Though his charitable impulses are notable and his charitable deeds are well documented, he can be guaranteed to see through an appeal such as that being presented by Santos. Atop that, the border wall is one of his foremost campaign pledges; he knows he must make good on it to validate his presidency.

     Should they try to “work” this president, the gimme-bodies of the so-called developing world, used to extracting American cash from such agencies as AID and the World Bank, are in for a surprise. That opens another possibility: that one or more might try subtle coercion. For example, Santos might hint that Colombia’s openness to American drug interdiction efforts is on the table. Alternately, he might suggest that he would deny the United States his support when the Trump Administration must deal with states such as Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Bolivia, whose regimes are overtly socialist. How Trump, who probably had little need to deal with threats of that sort in his business dealings, would react is hard to predict...especially with the pantywaists of the State Department counseling him to “be diplomatic.”

     My preference is for another approach to that sort of “diplomacy:”

     ...but that is another and much less pleasant subject.

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