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FW: Interesting comments from Brian Atwood

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  • Bell, Elizabeth
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 26 12:34 PM
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      > >> Copyright 1999 Associated Press/AP Online
      > >> June 30, 1999; Wednesday 04:11, Eastern Time
      > >> >
      > >> HEADLINE: Retiring AID Head Vents Frustration
      > >>
      > >> J. Brian Atwood has a disquieting message as he prepares to step
      > down
      > as
      > >head of the U.S. foreign aid agency: Don't believe those stories about
      > >democracy
      > >and free enterprise enabling developing countries to lift themselves out
      > of
      > >poverty.
      > >>
      > >> And part of the problem, according to Atwood, is what he sees as
      > >> Washington's pinch-penny attitude toward Third World problems.
      > >>
      > >> ''What will it take to wake up our political leaders?'' he asked.
      > >> ''More failed states? More wars? More south-to-north migration? More
      > >> transmission of infectious diseases? More terrorism?''
      > >>
      > >> After six years as head of the Agency for International Development,
      > >> Atwood will return to the private sector next week. He could have gone
      > >quietly, as his predecessors have done, but decided not to.
      > >>
      > >> He gave his valedictory Tuesday at a luncheon at the Overseas
      > >> Development Council, which attempts to sensitize opinion-makers
      > >> on Third World issues.
      > >>
      > >> ''The sad and even dangerous reality is that globalization and the
      > >> democratic market economy movement have not closed the gap between rich
      > and
      > >poor,'' he said.
      > >>
      > >> ''Much of the change we are seeing is occurring within the previous
      > >> ruling classes of these societies. Some in the donor community seem
      > >content to
      > >nurture reform without equity.''
      > >>
      > >> Economic growth, he said, can reduce poverty only with investments
      > in
      > >> health care, education, job creation, community development and food
      > >security.
      > >>
      > >> The industrial world is getting ''shamelessly rich'' while most of
      > >> the world's people are losing ground, Atwood said. He put the ratio of
      > rich
      > >> to poor at about 65 to 1, or for every $65 earned in industrial
      > >countries, $1
      > >is earned in poor ones. About 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty,
      > he
      > >said.
      > >>
      > >> Atwood called the government's international affairs budget ''a
      > joke.
      > >> There is no money to do anything,'' he said. ''It's outrageous.''
      > >>
      > >> He took aim at the congressional class of 1994, the election that
      > >> gave Republicans control of the House and Senate. It was filled with
      > >> ''nonpassport-carrying members,'' Atwood said, a not-so-subtle
      > suggestion
      > >that
      > >such people think provincially, not globally.
      > >>
      > >> Another source of distress for Atwood was U.S. policy toward the
      > >> United Nations. ''What we are doing to the United Nations system is
      > >> unconscionable,'' he said.
      > >>
      > >> ''At a time when the U.N. is bending under the weight of human
      > >> crises, most emanating from the developing world, we are sapping
      > >> it of its vitality by refusing to pay our bills. Then we criticize it
      > for
      > >> not doing its job.''
      > >>
      > >> He described as ''shameful'' a recent compromise under which the
      > >> Clinton administration would pay $819 million in arrears on the
      > condition
      > >that
      > >it pay a smaller share in the future. The congressionally drafted
      > approach
      > is
      > >'designed to appease people whose real goal is to kill the United
      > Nations,''
      > >> Atwood said.
      > >>
      > >> Atwood was scheduled to become ambassador to Brazil after his
      > service
      > >> at AID, but Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., the Senate Foreign Relations
      > Committee
      > >> chairman, refused to convene hearings on the nomination.
      > >>
      > >> Helms was smarting from Atwood's characterization of him as an
      > >> ''isolationist'' and his accusation that Helms drew up complicated
      > >> government reorganization plans ''on the back of an envelope.''
      > >>
      > >> Atwood withdrew his name from consideration for the Brazil post in
      > >> May.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
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