The Fab Four had it right when they crooned in the late sixties that, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love!” And while most would agree on this as a matter of fact, it seems that the United Sates has always thought that it could; but on the slim chance that it couldn’t then at least it could buy that one thing we all want more than love or money; time. Time to do what? Not sure but then again that’s American politics of the last forty years.
In what has become a standard reply to how foreign countries feel about the United States, Hamid Karzi the duly elected leader of Afghanistan, yesterday told the world that while we like the United States, and thank them very much for all they are doing and have done for Afghanistan, “Money can’t buy our love!” To those listening that should have sounded like a big, “Ouch, Slap!” But then again, didn’t we know it was coming?
The lists of countries we have sent money to with the hopes of wining their support or to gain some commercial edge in the marketplace seems endless. But in this day the age old idea of sending off checks with the hope of influencing the leadership to go our way is all but a futile effort. Time and time again from Africa to Asia our support seems to end up in the hands of a few and from there little else gets done with it but to garner support for America until the local regime is toppled and we start all over again with their successors. Who surprisingly enough turn out to be exactly the same as their predecessors while each turn of events only earns us the distaste of the locals. But that has never slowed down the checks from Washington from either of the last two Administrations. It’s almost as if we believe building a wall of money there can keep out the Taliban. The support we sent to build schools, build roads, and build infrastructure that in reality we could have used here at home appears to have been misspent, and corrupted away to say the very least. And while we may not be asking for love, it would have been nice if there had at least been a few improvements made. Let’s face it; in this land that appears about a hands throw away from the Stone Age, it is still after billions of dollars only a hands throw away from the Stone Age!
Since we are seeing little if anything in the way of progress regarding our money spent to improve daily living there and are still fully committed with soldiers and an ongoing war in Afghanistan and various armed travels into Pakistan the two leaders have been summoned to high level talks in Washington. We have come to realize that the center of the universe is truly these two countries. For as one goes, so goes the other and the big bad wolf is at their doorstep! At least that is what the media and talking government mouthpieces are saying. If this sounds familiar to a foreign policy of the past, I need only remind you of Southeast Asia! Been there, done that.
America is no longer the richest country in the world. Our ability to fund the world out of its problems and to keep the bad guys away from our doorstep has never been harder. But the reality of it all is that money has bought us time. I just wish we had more to show for it!
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