Friday, January 07, 2005


U.S. anti-U.N. aid bloc to dissolve

Last week I wrote about the formation of a bloc of four countries—the U.S., Australia, Japan and India—to provide tsunami aid. This petty exercise in spite toward the U.N. is coming to an abrupt end.

Victor Mallet, Hugh Williamson, and Dan Dombey write in the Financial Times

The “core group” of nations announced by US President George W. Bush to channel aid to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami will be dissolved on Thursday after only eight days as the United Nations takes control of the international relief effort, delegates to a donors summit said on Wednesday.

Mr Bush’s initiative on December 29 - which at first included only the US, India, Japan and Australia - appeared to have been prompted by an accusation by Jan Egeland, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, that the US was “stingy”. The UN was included the next day after Mr Bush was criticised for sidelining the UN in a rescue operation involving dozens of countries.

Whatever caused them to see the light is not clear. Pressure from Blair? But the official statements are delightfully lame—

Koji Tsuruoka, a senior official at the Japanese foreign ministry, said the core group would “cease to exist” following the Jakarta summit. “Having accomplished the task they imposed on themselves, it will just evaporate and become part of the overall international effort,” he said.

UN officials and Washington’s allies have tried to avoid public criticism of the core group during its short life, and Mr Tsuruoka insisted the group had been “innovative” and “very effective” in mobilising aid.

The task they apparently imposed on themselves was to appear to be assholes, so it is all to the good if they "cease to exist" and "evaporate"—actions that should be deemed "innovative" and "very effective."

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U.S. tsunami response—Simply disgusting (1/1/05)

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