There have been times where I thought Amity Shlaes, the Financial Times’s US-based, undeviatingly right-wing columnist, couldn’t move further into the realm of the absurd. I was wrong.
Today Shlaes chooses to comment on Tony Blair’s rather fruitless trip to Washington last week. Here’s her explanation of what the Bush administration is doing on aid:
The US, along with other countries, has signed a declaration to increase aid to 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product, something like $80bn in the American case. Other countries have criticised the Bush administration for not producing a plan to show how it will meet that goal. But the administration believes that democracy is the best form of aid in the long run, and that it is in Iraq or Afghanistan to bring about democracy. It believes these things so strongly that it is willing to send soldiers to corners of Iraq and Afghanistan from which even the most courageous aid groups have already withdrawn. The Senate recently passed legislation for additional military spending. The amount of that spending was $80bn. In other words, Washington is doing its part.
So don’t believe that guff about the US being stingy. Why should Amity stop at a paltry $80 billion. Heck, the US spends nearly a half trillion dollars a year on defence. Shouldn’t that mostly count as promoting democracy? That would put the US way beyond anyone’s benchmark.