Here’s Evo Morales taxing all of his citizens and then using their money to give out laptops to teachers for free with his image.
Picture via huffingtonpost.com
Egyptians fought bravely, ousted Mubarak and gave power to the military. But it turns out that USA effectively controls the Egyptian Army. It financed it, trained it and should it go into conflict with it, it can easily defeat it. So Egyptian people, whether they are aware of this or not, gave considerable power to USA. In Latin America and other parts of the world, giving power to US backed military would have been seen as a huge step back in time. So this situation must change quickly and in favor of the Egyptian people. It could also change in favor of US and EU foreign policy in the region.
Egyptians deserve speedy and easy visibility on how democracy will be instituted. Also USA has to be very careful not to be associated with the Egyptian military, but instead with the democratic forces which hopefully will take power. It also needs to prevent the brewing of another Mubarak from inside the military, a military who like Hugo Chavez, after trying to take power as a military leader changed clothes and took power through elections but behaves as a military dictator. The Egyptian people, USA, Obama and Clinton in particular, can emerge as winners in this revolution but there are many obstacles ahead.
After failing promoting democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, USA has a chance to do in Egypt with $50bn what it could not do wasting $1 trillion. It can fund the stabilization of Egypt and prevent the rise of terrorism and Hamas type forces to arise out of discontent. Egypt can become what Iraq never became but it is still one of the poorest nations on earth on a per capita basis and it quickly needs a stabilization fund. Right now what the new government has to prevent is food shortages and provide basic necessities for all. That needs short term EU and US Aid. In short, President Obama can do with Egypt what the Neocons wanted and failed to do with Iraq. Helping Egypt at this moment would be greatly appreciated around the world.
Lastly as soon as things calm down, we can all do our fair share and consider Egypt for our next holiday destination. This will help re start the economy.
George Stephanopolous is the moderator. Shirin Ebadi, from Iran, first Islamic woman to win the Nobel Prize, starts speaking in Farsi. Shirin says she prefers to talk about ideology than religion. When she says ideology in Farsi the word sounds the same as in English. Ideology, she says, can be either religious or secular, as in Cuba. Ideology serves to give life a purpose. But when ideology is managed unilaterally by the state it becomes a tool for political oppresion. Islam is a religon she thinks. But Islam used to govern is an ideology. Is Islam compatible with democracy? The problem is that in the Islamic world governments manage Islamic law and people who are against the government are seen not as the opposition but as infidels. Shirin, however, believes that Islam is compatible with democracy and human rights but that it has to be reconquered from non democratic rulers. Key is to separate religion from ideology.
I have been attending Davos for 5 years. Tomorrow I will go to Clinton´s first Annual Conference. I am a trustee at President Clinton´s foundation. I don´t know if anyone else gave President Clinton the idea of creating his own “Davos” but I did in 2003. It´s great to see it happening. A Davos with a purpose!
This is what I tried to do at the March 11th conference on terrorism. Klaus Schwab, the entrepreneur founder of the World Economic Forum used to put together the most amazing conferences in the world. Davos 2000 was a truly remarkable experience. But, as opposed to advertising in the conference world repetition is not reputation, it´s boredom! Last year Davos was my last. The Davos format is becoming so predictable that the most important things happen at the pizzeria accross from the Congress Center. The sessions themselves are more an opportunity for self-promotion than debate and the role of the Fortune 1000 companies is too large. Not that I don´t believe that private entreprise should be part of the dialogue to improve the state of the world (WEF´s motto). But I also believe that there are too few people at Davos telling corporations that they are certainly partly to blame for the world´s status quo.
As I fly to NYC tomorrow I very much hope that the Clinton Foundation will put together a more hands on, challenging event. We will see.
Thirty years ago in China there was no competition. Even in 1988, when I first visited China, there was very little competition. But after a failed experiment with Marxism, the Chinese started in the late 80s a much more successful trial of Ricardean economics and…it worked. China as we all know has been growing at a sustained of over 8% per year for 15 years in a row and is now the main consumer of most of the world´s commodities. Now that the Chinesehave experimented with competition in business with such enviable results I believe that it is a matter of time until China experiments with competition in politics.
On March 11th, 2005 the Varsavsky Foundation will host the Atocha Workshop on global terrorism, an interactive brainstorm and policy forum that takes place at the Atocha train station on the first anniversary of the Atocha massacre. This workshop will include selected participants from the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security, as well as other creative individuals. This is an independent event organized by the Varsavsky Foundation.