Apparently the British have decided to forgive the debt owed by poor African nations. The US, in the shape of President Bush, has a problem with this.
My first reactions was one of righteous indignation on behalf of the Brits – he last time I looked Britain was not part of the USA. It is sad to see Mr. Bush, a man I respect, throwing his weight around in such an uncivilized manner, as if the US somehow had jurisdiction…
Digging a little deeper, I found that, in fact, they did. The loans were provided not by Britain, but by the World Bank. This body is made up of many countries, and its biggest contributor is… the US, with Britain coming in second. While Britain has the power to forgive their loans, they don't have a right to give away other peoples' money.
I don't see the point in lending money to someone you know cannot afford repay – it is written that "the borrower is slave to the lender" – unless the intention is to enslave them to the interest payments forever.
Otherwise, follow Shakespeare's advice: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" (Hamlet).
Billions of dollars over of foreign aid more than twenty years has not eradicated poverty in Africa nor solved any problems – and may have caused a few more, such as civil war and Governmental corruption, as officials and soldiers slug it out for a shot at the multimillion-dollar aid pie.
After forgiving the loans, Britain intends to make new loans, which is where I disagree. To forgive may divine, but to repeatedly lend money to a known deadbeat, whether a person or a nation – is sheer insanity.
The US wishes to move away from loans towards grants, which are linked to specific goals, which makes a little more sense. Naturally there are some who will see this as "imperialistic meddling", but they are mostly people who hate the US and are looking for an excuse for their hatred. If you take the king's shilling, you must do the king's budding.
Forgive the debt, by all means… but lend no more.
And stop giving away taxpayer dollars to foreign countries!