KINDER GENTLER WEF: Some interesting quotes (but what do they mean?), from Sunday’s Post: “The remaining politicians, and more than a few millionaire multinationalists, spent the day emoting and sounding a lot like their anti-globalization critics. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo spoke of how her nation’s resources are ‘geared to the fight against poverty,’ which she described as the ‘handmaiden of terrorism.’

“U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell delivered a compassionate message with none of the ‘evildoers’ rhetoric that has marked recent Oval Office discourse. [But there's no liberal media bias.--ed.] ‘We have to put hope back in the hearts of people,’ Powell told a warmly receptive audience. ‘We have to show people who might move in the direction of terrorism that there is a better way.’

“Even Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill, who cultivates an image as the cranky uncle of world capitalism, told the audience that rich nations should help poor ones borrow money in the least painful fashion possible.”

That sounds well enough, but again, making it easier for dictators to get loans removes any incentive for change. Far better are plans that focus on liberal reforms, and reward nations that undertake them (with relief of debts racked up by previous dictators, or with easier loan privileges).

About Eve Tushnet

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