Thursday, May 12, 2005

You say infidel, I say Gringo 

In what not surprisingly turned out to be yet another international soft anti-American love-fest, 15 heads of state and top officials from 34 South American, Middle Eastern and North African nations have recently met for first in Brazil’s capital Brasilia for the Summit of South American-Arab Countries:
Banding together to dampen the international dominance of the United States, South American and Arab leaders railed against the global influence of wealthy nations and Israel at a summit aimed at empowering developing countries.
Israel? I can understand the Arab leaders, who seem to have a bit of an one track mind in that regard, but what’s Israel’s relevance for Latin America? Zero, except as a continuing knee-jerk bonding device for the developing world countries which otherwise have little in common. Daddy voted for the "Zionism=racism" resolution at the UN, the kid is concerned about the "global influence of Israel" without ever having met a single Jew in his life.

But there were some notable absences:
The summit lost luster with the absence of the strongest voices in the Arab world, including the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa hoped more leaders would attend, but said the presence of seven of the 22 Arab heads of state was a positive “gauge of the importance of the conference.”
Really? I would have thought that the absence of 15 of the 22 Arab heads of state was a real “gauge of the importance of the conference.”

Rumor has it that the United States was refused an observer status by the Brazilian authorities. Just as well, since the US thus missed out on observing this final declaration being worked out:
The leaders rejected terrorism "in all its forms and manifestations." But they also called for an international forum to define terrorism, saying the current definition has been set by wealthy countries.
Indiscriminate killing of civilian, usually of your own, for political purposes, if what goes on in many poor countries, so it would be impolite to call it terrorism. Also somewhat amusing was the call for better version of free trade that would benefit the world's poor, coming as it did from a group whose many members are involved in a cartel which fixes the price of oil, and thus has been on and off for quite some time now screwing both the world's rich and the poor, but particularly the poor who can least afford high oil prices.

In the end, as Lebanon's "Daily Star" wrote,
Uruguay wants to sell more rice to Arabs. Bolivia wants oil money to fund its tin mines. Brazil hopes to revive a defense industry that was once a major supplier of arms to the Middle East. As leaders from South America and the Arab world rounded up meetings in the Brazilian capital during a two-day summit to boost political and economic ties, many business executives on the sidelines were trying to strike deals between two regions they said were highly complementary.

Their efforts at a parallel investors conference got a boost when ministers announced negotiations on a free-trade area between six Arab Gulf nations, many of them rich in oil, and a South American economic bloc that includes the continent's two largest economies.

The trade zone would link nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar - with the Mercosur bloc, whose full-fledged members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Which is all great, so why not cut out all the irrelevant crap and concentrate on useful and practical things like these?


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