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Old 06-01-2003, 04:16 PM   #1
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Chirac Praises Bush on AIDS Leadership + lowering agricultural trade barriers?

Chirac Praises Bush on AIDS Leadership

Sunday June 1, 2003 8:29 PM
By TERENCE HUNT
Associated Press Writer

EVIAN, France (AP) - World leaders clamped a harmonious face on a summit simmering with Iraq war disputes Sunday, striking a united front with pledges of billions of dollars to fight AIDS and hunger in poor nations.

The meeting's most closely watched moment was the welcoming handshake between French President Jacques Chirac and President Bush, whose wartime differences led to angry recriminations on both sides of the Atlantic. They greeted each other with polite smiles, a brief handshake and small talk before walking into a luncheon with other presidents and prime ministers.

Chirac, at a news conference later, praised Bush for getting Congress to pass a $15 billion package to combat AIDS in the developing world.

``Bush took a decision in this area that I would not hesitate to call historic,'' Chirac said. He said France would triple its AIDS spending, to about $179 million, and European Union officials said the 15 member nations are expected to commit about $1.2 billion in new funds at a summit in Greece later this month.

In an annual summit ritual, tens of thousands of protesters staged demonstrations in French and Swiss regions beyond the heavily guarded security perimeter of the lakeside summit. They spoke out on everything from anti-globalization and environmentalism to forgiveness of Third World debt and fears over genetically modified foods.

Demonstrators blocked traffic for hours on bridges and highways around Geneva, across the lake from the meeting. Swiss police officials estimated the crowd at 50,000; protest organizers said it numbered 120,000.

Inside the summit, there was a concerted effort to get beyond Iraq.

``Everybody talked positively. Nobody talked about the past,'' said Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, attending his 10th and final summit. ``Everybody was concentrating on creating a mood of solidarity.''

White House officials suggested Bush was taking a wait-and-see approach about his relationship with Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, another ardent war foe.

It was a different matter, though, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also opposed the U.S.-led drive to depose Saddam Hussein but, in Washington's view, was not confrontational about it.

Putin and Bush held a reconciliation meeting earlier Sunday in St. Petersburg, Russia, where they celebrated ratification of a major nuclear arms agreement and proclaimed their close friendship. ``Strange as it may sound,'' Putin said, the United States and Russia have even strengthened ties - a point that Bush was happy to echo.

``We will show the world that friends can disagree, move beyond disagreement and work in a very constructive and important way to maintain the peace,'' Bush said.

The annual summit of industrialized nations brought together the leaders of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia at a spa on the banks of Lake Geneva. They were joined on the opening day by leaders from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Africa and developing countries such as China, India and Mexico - a move intended in part to answer the criticism of anti-globalization protesters that the G-8 was a rich country's club insensitive to the needs of poorer countries.

Chirac's spokeswoman, Catherine Colonna, said the leaders were not avoiding talking about Iraq but were focusing on the challenge of rebuilding Iraq rather than the fractious debates of the past. `` We have not changed our point of view. Neither has the United States,'' she said.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the summit leaders should find areas of agreement.

``The most important thing, particularly after all the differences there have been over Iraq, is that the international community comes together and gives a very strong statement,'' said Blair, Bush's leading supporter in the war effort.

``It will be the quality of intent that is as important as anything else,'' Blair said. He expressed hope the summit would take a clear position on the need to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Bush and Putin, at their news conference in St. Petersburg, urged North Korea and Iran to halt development of nuclear weapons. They went out of their way to minimize differences.

``The fundamentals between the United States and Russia turned out to be stronger than the forces and events that tested it,'' Putin said, Bush nodding in agreement.

Bush was challenging allies to work to combat terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. He also pointed out that the United States will spend about $1.4 billion on famine relief, and challenged other nations to increase spending, officials said.

The president also was urging Europeans to give up their opposition to genetically modified food and pressing for lowering agricultural trade barriers.

Chirac met one-on-one early Sunday with Chinese President Hu Jintao, who was making his first foreign trip since taking office in March. It was also the first time China has attended the annual summit of the world's seven richest industrial countries and Russia. Bush chatted with Hu over a lunch of the Group of Eight leaders and talked with him later about the campaign to halt North Korean's nuclear program.

(...)


~~~~~~~~

I appreciate Bush´s spending on AIDS and against famine.

But I disagree with lowering trade barriers for agriculture.

Well, just yesterday I have seen a very interesting film about that. It is called "Life and Debt", and deals with farmers in Jamaica, who can´t sell their products in Jamaica anymore, because all trade barriers are removed. That leads to importing U.S. food, which is cheaper.

Now, U.S. food can be produced cheaper, becasue the U.S. taxpayers give billions of subsidies to U.S. farmers every year. Jamaicans can´t afford high subsidies. So, the production of Jamaican food is more expensive. And the market for Jamaican farmers is gone.

F.e., they can´t sell milk anymore, because at the moment, milk powder from the U.S. is offered at a very cheap price.

But a farmer who´s got 500 cows on his farm has to milk them, cows need that. So, where does the milk he can´t sell, go to? After 5 days, it goes into the earth, wasted for nothing.

That´s a direct consequence of opening trade barriers.
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Old 06-01-2003, 08:42 PM   #2
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Terrific read, hip hop. That's why I started that G8 thread--so much of this stuff goes ignored! They need to know we're watching

I agree with you on trade barriers. We put plenty of them up for our markets but use our leverage via the World Bank and the IMF to force poor nations to "preech free trade."

Thanks again!

SD
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Old 06-01-2003, 10:15 PM   #3
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If you remove farm subsidies, you will end American farming. Period. It is already a highly unprofitable business with high overhead costs and low return. The "subsidies" you talk about are of little consolation. In real figures, farm prices are the same as during the 1960s. Soybeans were at a height of around $10 / bushel in 1980s. They are half that now, and none of these figures take into account inflation.

In fifty years, American farming will be reduced to corporate farming or it will be nonexistent.

Melon
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Old 06-02-2003, 12:19 AM   #4
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I am interested in learning about the World Bank and the IMF and all that stuff, but I don't know much. Can someone give me a crash course, but just the facts please, no politicizing the issue one way or the other. In other words, I'm not asking for opinions, just the basic jist of what it's all about. Thanks.
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Old 06-02-2003, 10:40 AM   #5
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80s,
You might want to have a look at the official sites of the World Bank and IMF. I could link you to lots of sites I've read about the IMF and World Bank, but they do tend to make political judgements about them and you said that's not what you're interested in. Let me know if you'd like me to post links to them though.

The IMF is at http://www.imf.org/ and it has a "About the IMF" section at http://www.imf.org/external/about.htm. There's also an "IMF Factsheet" at http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/glance.htm

The World Bank is at http://www.worldbank.org and again there's an "About the World Bank" page at http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTE...36602,00.html.

Those sites aren't entirely unbiased either, as understandably they only present the positive aspects of the World Bank & IMF. TO be honest, I think the best way to understand their role is to look at some of their recent actions - if you search the archives of any major newspaper they're likely to have info about that.

Hope some of that helps.

*Fizz
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Old 06-02-2003, 01:59 PM   #6
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Here are some other links for ya. If you get interetsed, I can't recommend Dr. Stigletz's Globalization and Its Discontents highly enough.

Jubilee USA
http://jubileeusa.org

Jubilee Research
http://jubileeresearch.org

The Bretton Woods Project.
http://brettonwoods.org

Terrifc links with lots of detailed information on the history of the World Bank and the IMF, their poverty reduction programmes and their failures. (Not politicizing, btw....the WB/IMF's own reports state their failure as well. )

SD
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Old 06-04-2003, 04:38 PM   #7
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80sU2isBest,

I can strongly recommend a book by Joseph Stiglitz. He was a high director of the World Bank, so it is an insider report on the policies of this organization and the IMF. The book is called "Globalisation and its Discontents" (Norton, NY 2002), and is definitely worth its money. This is an chief economist talking about it, mentioning the positive and negative sides. Actually, the author also won the Nobel Prize.

If you know a lot about economics and want your own view, I recommend you take a close look at the "Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers" of the IMF. Some pages may be colored black, but you can read most of it at

http://www.imf.org/external/np/prsp/prsp.asp

You will have to scroll down to the country you want to read about. If you take a look at the PRSP paper July 31, 2002 for Ethiopia, Page 205-212 (if they´re still online), you will find IMF strategies that Ethiopians politicians are forced to follow; but they don´t have a lot to do with fighting poverty.

Finally, you may take a closer look at The Washington Consensus (you´ll have to copy and paste the link into Internet Explorer, though) at:

http://www.worldbank.org/research/jo.../obsaug00/pdf/(6)Williamson.pdf


@melon: I am not against subsidies, that would be the wrong approach. The right approach would be to put up trade barriers to protect certain economies (Jamiacans farmers in this example). Anyway, once a whole complex countries´ farm economical system is destroyed (because the farmer in that example had to sell 450 of 500 cows), it is difficult to repair it. So the depenency continues.
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Old 06-04-2003, 09:54 PM   #8
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pssssssst hip hop...see my above post.

SD
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Old 06-05-2003, 05:30 PM   #9
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Thanks, everyone! That is osme ineteresting reading there!
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Old 06-05-2003, 07:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry Darling
pssssssst hip hop...see my above post.

SD
oh actually someone except for me read it? cool
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Old 06-05-2003, 10:01 PM   #11
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Other than his shifting of blame to the IMF and not so much to the Bank, it was amzing! Clear, user friendly, informed, detailed, persuasive! I loved it.


SD
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Old 06-19-2003, 09:20 PM   #12
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Since Chirac praised Bush, does this mean that I finally have an acceptable reason to boycott France? No more "french fries" or "french toast" for me! I'm only eating at restaurnats that serve FREEDOM FRIES now!

~U2Alabama
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Old 06-20-2003, 03:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama
Since Chirac praised Bush, does this mean that I finally have an acceptable reason to boycott France? No more "french fries" or "french toast" for me! I'm only eating at restaurnats that serve FREEDOM FRIES now!

~U2Alabama
My Democratic parents just got a whole bunch of Brie cheese. This is not to mention that they plan to go to France in October. We don't want to boycott France.
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