10 August 2004

announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July

So is anyone really surprised that the Bush administration would pressure Pakistan to announce the capture of al-Qaeda "high value targets" during the Democrats' convention? Or that the media would complacently shift their attention to the new headline? Or that even the attention they gave the convention would ignore all the substantive issues discussed there?

In fact, this NYT oped mentions all the other news we've been missing. But I think the real stories last week, over which governments deserve much more political heat than over Iraq, are financial:

  • The World Bank considered a proposal to reform and ultimately eliminate its funding for oil and gas development. The NYT, generally pro-globalization, endorsed the proposal, but on Aug 2 the Bank rejected the plan. However, they're reconsidering some kind of watered down version in a few weeks, so the short-term issue is not yet settled.

    For a broader perspective, this recent Foreign Affairs article explains why being rich in natural resources can make a country poorer. (Email me if you don't have lexis-nexis and want the full text.)

  • The WTO talks in Geneva came up with an agreement to agree on opening agricultural markets, mainly by reducing subsidies from rich countries. Though this is widely seen as a good idea, especially for the poor countries that have long been demanding it, it's not clear how much will actually be implemented any time soon. Again an issue that's probably far more consequential than the Iraq war, but it continues to get zero attention from the public. Though there is now a blog devoted to the subject.

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