True, they do have self-determination. But when you've no cohesion, no communication, no education and armed bandits prowling through the war-scarred remains of a continent, it's awfully difficult to implement any kind of decision.
It would be about the same as arguing that since cats and dogs have self-determination, one stray beagle could re-engineer Washington DC.
The West =HAS= to be involved, because the West has the resources that Africa doesn't. It has the food. It has the skills. It has the knowledge. It has the manpower. (Africa might have a lot of men, but if they're all dying from one terminal disease or another, or have had limbs blown off from landmines, the effective manpower is pathetic.)
To cut Africa loose, and say "it's your problem, you solve it" is to deny your humanity and theirs, it's to deny the consequences of your OWN actions (people with resentments generally act on them, and if someone sees themselves as dead anyway, they can be extremely dangerous), and it's to deny the impact on EVERYONE'S environment.
Yes, that last bit is important, too. For every tree cut down in Africa, for every change in the reflective properties of the continent, you will have an impact. If you were to reforest Africa, and dig reservoirs, do you really think it would only benefit them? The impact on the climate would be dramatic. Increased tree cover produces increased rainfall, which then makes that a self-sustaining ecology. But it also changes the way heat is transferred through the system. The air would be cooler, for example.
"So what?" you might ask. Well, the high temperature and LACK of humidity in Africa are key elements in the formation of the hurricanes which devastate America. As the deforrestation and drought continue, the risk of severe (Cat 4-5) hurricanes hitting the US goes UP. So, if we plant trees there, and manage the water resources, we can reduce the odds of the Carolinas, Virginia, DC, etc, being completely wiped off the face of the earth, through extreme weather.
It really is that simple. Should the African continent become primarily desert, you would be advised to abandon all property within a hundred miles of the US East Coast. Because, sooner or later, whatever was on that hundred miles won't be there.
Then there are other elements to consider. Africa is where a lot of new, deadly diseases are being discovered. Largely by people destroying natural habitats and ecosystems. By teaching people how to conserve and maintain, rather than slash & burn, you reduce the risks of new, deadly plagues being unleashed on the planet.
By providing the Africans with knowledge of medicine, the skills to produce it, the science behind it, and the rationale of keeping a healthy population, you not only save lives and increase skills, but you reduce the third-world debt, provide a means for Africa to fend for itself, and provide Africa with a front-line defence against such terrors as Ebola, etc.
(There's also the self-preservation factor, here, too. Since Africa -IS- a gigantic germ warfare lab, it's likely that less-stable countries will, or maybe even are, finding ways to exploit that lab. The more desperate Africans are, in general, for any kind of assistance, the more likely they are to help. This is NOT a safe situation.)
Finally, there's the financial impact of helping Africa. The third-world debt is even larger than the one GWB is running up, and may even be larger than Yeltsin's drinks bill. If they were given massive support, to the point of getting the entire continent on it's feet, that debt could start to be paid. As it stands, countries just throw away the tab every so often, and start again.
A poor Africa impoverishes EVERYONE, whether we help them or not. And the consequences of not helping them could range from merely destructive to totally catastrophic.
As for being in a country run by a dictator, I believe that the DMCA, the SSSCA, the case of Dmitri Sklyarov, the almost total abandonment of the Microsoft trial, the absence of any privacy laws, the possibility of a fraudulant Presidential election, the totalitarianism of the "anti-terrorist" bill, "justifiable homicide" in an increasing number of States, the use of the Death Penalty, a President who believes himself superior to God, and the exessive cost of learning anything different, suggests that the US =IS= a totalitarian regime, run by a dictator.
I'm not joking, when I say that, if there's a single major incident in the US in the next four years, we could easily see the President suspend the Constitution and claim absolute authority. As a protective measure, of course. If the current anti-terrorist bill hadn't faced such opposition, we might well have seen that this time around. There's still too much clear-thinking, though, for that to happen. But that was luck. Next time, we might not have that luck.
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