Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Millenium Development Goals and Bolton edits kerfuffle

It bears repeating how the kerfuffle between the Bolton edits and the second draft outcome document on UN reform came about with respect to the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). The US has been very clear that the US supported the general goals of the MDGs. That was what it said in joining the Monterrey Consensus, for example. It has also been equally clear that it had not signed on to the detailed numbers and quotas that the bureaucrats of aid attached to them. In particular, the US has been entirely clear that it thought the .7% GDP target for official development aid (ODA) was wrong in principle. The MDGs carry two obverse, fatal flaws - on the one hand, the detailed quotas and numerical targets have all the marks of a Soviet five year plan and, on the other, they have all the substance behind them as well as possiblity of success of a Potemkin village. They purport to order the world about, in ways that are themselves self-deceiving. The bureaucrats and diplomats in charge of seeing through this process have thought, perhaps cynically, perhaps not, that if they simply seized on US support for the general principles, and went about their business of rewriting them to suit their views - despite the clear US record of non-support - at the end of the day, the US would be too embarrassed to call foul. And in another administration (and even perhaps in this one), that bet might pay off. That is why (one reason why, anyway) Bolton is so hated - he has called the bureaucrats' and diplomats' bluff and said that the US will stick to its long held positions, and will not be rolled over in the name of international solidarity and not upsetting consensus and all that rot. It was a consensus that was only reached by deception and self-deception, anyway, and the result, as the Economist magazine article noted in the previous posts observes, is precisely what might have been predicted - few of the targets met, and those that are met, not very much on account of the MDG process itself. That is the result that the mandarins of the international community ought to take away from the Bolton edits kerfuffle - but they won't.

1 comment:

QuantumCoach said...

I was searching for information regarding Bolton's actions regarding the MDGs and found your blog. I have also had my doubts about the MDGs, however, I currently support the funding. Many other nations have meet thier plege/obligation, and if the US agreed, then they should comply or provide alternative ideas. I am not sure this can be properly managed, and would like to see a concerted effort put forth in one country (Haiti is my choice) to work out the logistics and management of such a massive aid program.