Archive for January, 2010

Love and Politics – Why Politicians Cheat

January 29, 2010 4 comments

Politicians engaging in adulterous affairs are behaving as any other human in quest of carnal satisfaction. However, they seem to pay the highest price when they decide to listen to their paramours’ appeals rather than the needs of their spouses or constituents.

by Marquis Codjia

Voir article en français

Humans need love
Human beings are naturally prone to seek love, nurturing and self-determination. They are born into love, are surrounded with loving entourages, and continually seek throughout their lives that dose of comfort and serenity that stems from the realization that they’re loved, or more simply, admired. Humans need love, and love, as a social epiphenomenon, needs them. Love is, in this case, an epiphenomenon because it is a byproduct of other forms of human interaction, conciliation and reconciliation.

In seeking that utopian comfort of being permanently idolized, people are poised to act on their impulses and react instinctively to protect or maintain that status quo. At all stages of the human adventure, that need for particular attention is preeminent. Think about babies seeking frenetically their parents’ attention or adults engaging in extraordinary expressions of feeling to show their jealousy.

The reciprocity of love is an essential staple in human existence

Given that the need to be loved is natural, we are ready to accept the assertion that love can – and must be – eternal. Religions and other constructs of faith, beliefs and dogma fulfill that ethos in the sense that they permit us to start believing in an everlasting love, one that will smoothly transition from this terrestrial episode into an after-life occurrence.

Love and politics

Politicians, like most of us, have that intense striving for love and admiration. As any other human, they’re willing to resort to arguably reprehensible means to get that admiration. The need for love, that is, the need for approval is peculiarly crucial for politicians because it conditions their electoral existence and survival. They must win votes, that is, they must be lovable enough for citizens to love them and grant them their votes.

Interestingly, those who have a heightened need of admiration are bold enough to utilize any means necessary to reach their goals. They need to manipulate. Politicians are in that category. Social scientists have long argued that politicians need to seduce the electorate continuously to safeguard their political capital. Politics is the science of managing the general good, and in handling that societal responsibility, people in power use various tools to provide law and order, which are pragmatic, down-to-earth, day-to-day necessities, but also idealism, and dreaming, which belong to the realm of imagination but are nonetheless critical.

How To Get People to Do What You Want?

Politicians mainly use their electoral clout as a catalyst or an advantage in seeking ways to satisfy their basic carnal drives. Sexual harassments procedures are not alien to that category of ways and means; other, less coercive initiatives, may include job promises and business deal preferences.

History shows us that there exists an eerily long panoply of infidelity cases involving politicians, and to a larger extent, people in power – the elite. Romans and Greeks were known to have very ‘flexible’ matrimonial laws, and historical accounts of European or African social evolutions indicate a propensity for aristocracy to engage in infidelity. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, is believed to have had an extramarital relationship with a slave at Monticello named Sally Hemings.

Cheating politicians are nothing new. Thomas Jefferson is believed to have had an affair.

Careless cheating

Cheating politicians are not a scarce commodity; news commentators and journalists argue that the list of people in power and celebrities guilty of infidelity is longer than currently unveiled. In other words, the cheaters that have gotten caught are just an infinitesimal minority of the entire universe of elected officials.

Powerful politicians turned cheaters often jeopardize their careers

Communication specialists and celebrity agents are always flabbergasted at the lack of care that some elected officials showcase in handling their affairs and dealing afterwards with infidelity matters, because that behavior is so diametrically opposed to the high sophistication these authorities maintain in managing their public image. Put simply, some politicians are willing to spend millions of dollars on PR campaigns just to get caught later like a teenager in their faithless proceedings.

Nowadays, that question of adulterous carelessness remains open while puzzling political science students. Many social science specialists have contributed their expertise to a body of knowledge that may begin to explain the causal relationship of politician spousal disloyalty. One reason put forward is the intrinsic human instinct: lust. Just as any other human, a politician is driven to carnal desires outside his conjugal realm simply because he or she cannot hold these desires at bay. Simple as that.

What Color is Love? – Dating Science

Another factor explaining why an elected official is willing to risk all their career in return for a few minutes of romantic episode lies in the quintessential trait of all people in power: the sense of omnipotence. In other words, that feeling of invulnerability, irrespective of the sin committed. This can be seen in recent episodes with former US president’s escapades in the White House Oval Office with intern Monica Lewinsky or former New York State governor Elliot Spitzer’s interest in prostitute services even though he had been best known for his stern prosecution of those prostitution rings when he served as the state’s Attorney General. Even strange was the revelation later that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who was pushing for Clinton’s impeachment because of infidelity was also living an adulterous life at the same time!

Infidelity can derail or destroy a career or a relationship

Some specialists have also suggested that politicians are also prone to infidelity because either they are unhappy in their current relationship or they encounter a high number of solicitations by virtue of their office and the fact that some of these demands can be at times highly pressing. Even though that explanation seeks to discharge politicians from their guilt, it does not provide an explanation as to why they’re willing to cede to something that risks destroying in a few minutes or hours an entire career built over decades.

In a modern world dominated by ubiquitous journalism and populated by a diverse cohort of players – bloggers, paparazzi, journalists, “cell-phone camera enabled citizens” – it remains puzzling to try to understand such degree of careless infidelity from these officials.

Cultural differences around the world

Contrary to the United States, England, and a few other countries, infidelity matters involving politicians are not “career-killers”. The underlying factor of such a dichotomy is based on the social premise that different cultures view adultery as a private matter which does not necessarily fall into the political realm. Another cultural element also is the fact that some societies ingrained in polygamist or polyandrous traditions view infidelity as a lesser sin. An illustration of this trend is the saga surrounding current Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi’s private affairs and the indifference voters continuously show thereto in polls.

Do women also cheat?
Political commentators and historians agree that public infidelity of an elected official is mostly undertaken by men. Yet, they posit that women also have their fair share of adulterous affairs but are less likely to be exposed because of their minority in the political universe, the ambient social circumspection regarding female infidelity and the general discretion women are accustomed to in dealing with non-conjugal paramours. The recent case of former Ireland’s prime minister’s wife – Iris Robinson – involvement in an out-of-wedlock romance may start to debunk that myth.

How to understand women?

Steve Jobs & Co. did it again with their new iPad! What should they invent next?

January 27, 2010 2 comments

Silicon Valley pioneer Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled on Wednesday the latest gadget in the company’s product line – the iPad. The chief executive described the new product as “way better than your smartphone” and “way better than a laptop”.

Truth be told, the new gadget is a smart mix of ergonomics and design, and I expect that it will bring it solid $$ sales into the firm’s coffers. Given that Apple engineers are skilled at developing smart, useful gadgets, we should put them to task. What should Apple invent next?

Pourquoi “Avatar” est le n°1 du box-office?

January 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Le dernier film du réalisateur canadien James Cameron bat les records de rentabilité depuis sa sortie. De l’Europe en Asie, en passant par le continent américain, des hordes de cinéastes enthousiastes se sont empressés pour savourer cet « instant de science fiction ».

Même si certains s’interrogent toujours sur le palmarès au box-office d’Avatar, toujours est-il que James Cameron est un titan du cinéma. Il l’a prouvé plusieurs fois, après le succès retentissant qu’a connu Titanic en 1997.

D’où vient le succès de James Cameron ? Est-ce pur talent ou une assiduité au travail et une recherche de la qualité ? Ou juste un coup de chance ?

Ou simplement les sujets qu’ils traitent dans ces films?

Illuminati Franc-maçons pour un nouvel ordre mondial?

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Take part in the discussion in English

L’actualite de ces derniers jours soulève la polémique d’un certain nouvel ordre mondial, contrôlé et promu par les « Illuminati Franc-maçons ». Beaucoup de sites internet, et notamment la blogosphère, en ont fait un thème central. Sommes-nous vraiment sous la domination d’un tel ordre ?

Le fil rouge qui relie toutes ces thématiques est l’idée que de nombreuses sociétés (secrètes ?) constituent cette constellation dominatrice qui comprend toutes les sommités de notre monde, qu’elles viennent de la politique, de l’économie et de la société civile. S’il s’avérerait que nous soyons effectivement sous l’emprise d’un tel ordre, quelles sont les conséquences d’une telle situation ? Sommes-nous voués à un destin effrayant ?

Illuminati Freemasons: A new world order. Really?

January 26, 2010 1 comment

Prendre part au débat en français

The fascinating news item captivating audiences the world over this week is the (supposed) new world order that ‘Illuminati Freemasons’ are indeed pushing for. Many conspiracy theorists and those who share their views tend to believe that events such as the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers were part of that paradigm.  What’s the real truth to this?

The truth, or at least part of it, is that Freemasons have existed and still do exist, as an organization aimed at forwarding their views and ethos, part of which might be the control over world events. Does that make more “evil” or suspicious than other religious, political, or multinational groups or lobbies?

Contrary to popular belief, politicians seek to maintain or restore the status quo once they’re elected. That thinking pattern assures them reelection and tend to prolong their tenure in power. Absent a crisis, they’re very reluctant to act on big patterns. Thus, they spend most of their political mandates consolidating their political networks and power sharing agreements with fellow politicians, via established groups or communities. Is Barack Obama a freemason as recent articles have suggested? If yes, how long has he been a member thereof?

Goodbye Copenhagen, Hello Haiti!

January 22, 2010 15 comments

The outpouring of financial aid in the wake of Haiti’s seismologic calamity is a welcome sign of global largesse. Though short-term monies will be disbursed for certain, past practice suggests long-run pledges are less likely to be, unless country leaders are proactive.

by Marquis Codjia

Voir version française

One of the most memorable “media circuses” in 2009 was the Copenhagen Climate Summit, COP-15, that gathered in the Danish metropolis late in the year a diverse mix of world leaders, social activists, interested financiers and the usual cohort of highly paid lobbyists. Although that meeting has justifiably yielded the meager results its divided participants were pushing for, the notable fact remains the political ‘tour de force’ that the United States and China eventually exhibited.

The antagonism was not limited to those two superpowers; it had metastasized into the broader North-South affairs, leaving, for instance, the once ebullient France and Germany deeply frustrated at India’s and Brazil’s lack of political will, and the surprisingly united African leaders – habitually ignored at international gatherings – irate about the richest nations’ disinclination to hand out the billions of dollars hitherto promised.

Apart from the millions of dollars disbursed, the temporary cut in local unemployment spawned by the hire of “climate experts” and media pundits, the direct economic boom momentarily enjoyed by Danish businesses, and the general “feel good attitude” espoused by politicians and green activists, the forum resulted in what everyone – except the staunchest idealists – expected: a failure.

A total collapse that all political analysts predicted, especially after COP-15 attending nations had showed, a month prior to the meeting, a divergence of views and interests that, cumulatively, were akin to ‘irreconcilable differences’ often cited in divorce proceedings.

Now that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has understood the limited power that Barack Obama, the(ir) “change agent”, can actually wield in certain fields of American foreign policy, and concomitantly, the solid structural power that lobbyists and other economic forces brandish when some fundamental systemic balances are threatened, the US leader needs a game changer to regain his ‘moral stature’ with Democrats and Independents.

The urgency of such initiative cannot be underestimated or addressed lightly by Democratic strategists, especially in the wake of an unheralded loss of the Massachusetts senate seat to GOP’s Scott Brown in a political bastion dominated by the late Senator Edward Kennedy for 40 years.

That major upset, while reshaping the current political landscape, is set to derail, or at a minimum, perturb the president’s agenda on major points, including health care reform, financial services regulatory overhaul, economic empowerment, education reform, and a successful conclusion in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Judging by the swiftness of US actions and the grandiosity of the country’s forces – diplomatic, military, logistics, humanitarian – deployed in Haiti over the past week, Barack Obama and his advisers seem to view the quake in the devastated nation as that game changer, their ‘eureka moment’.

Not that the leader of the free world is only gauging the political benefits of rapid intervention, he seems to truly believe in the moral leadership and capacity of America to aid countries in misfortune and spread its ‘good fortune’ wherever it can.

After one year in power, these altruistic endeavors have doubtless helped propel the president’s poll numbers to reasonable margins, after the bitter socio-political, partisan wrestling of 2009 gravely eroded his once stratospheric political capital, and brought it back to standards routinely enjoyed by politicians at that time in their tenure.

That surge in favorability, for the most part, is due to the supporting 1-million strong Haitian diaspora’s electoral base, the ‘collateral benefits’ of higher esteem in the larger Caribbean community, the de facto acquiescence of a majority of Americans for charitable intervention in crisis-stricken areas, the need to shun the nightmarish debacle and inertia of US emergency apparatus in a Hurricane Katrina-like situation, and last but not least, the opportunity to really start ‘earning’ that 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Needless to say the latter was awarded as “encouragement for a work in progress”, a “call for action”.

Notwithstanding, Washington’s strong pledge to alleviating the repercussions of the seismologic calamity in Haiti is being matched by an equivalent degree of commitment from other international players.

Gone seems to be the period where a unipolar world dominated by American capitalism would render charitable outlays of this magnitude only affordable to the United States. Inspirited by massive foreign reserves and gargantuan balance sheets thanks to enviable growth rates and healthy exports, these rising stars are prying into an anemic US economy to solidify their presence on the global stage.

B.R.I.C. nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) are, of course, atop this group, in tandem with other emerging market behemoths such as South Africa, Indonesia, and Mexico.

Traditionally munificent western donors such as the European Union, Canada, and Japan, are nowadays pecuniarily depleted after two years of exorbitant bailouts of their banking and industrial systems. Ergo, they cautiously guard against any further outflows for aid and prefer funding via established international financial channels (e.g.: World Bank, IMF).

The irony, or rather, the melancholy of this humanitarian imbroglio is that, eventually, the monies pledged along with the corresponding media blitz and political speeches are feared to be a mere publicity stunt, an ‘effet d’annonce’, in the strictest sense of the French phraseology.

Distinctive parameters are lining up to produce another media circus with plenty of zanies, small and big, who are all vying for the ‘top benefactor’ position in the global collective psyche, without actually paying the corresponding price.

Differently stated, past experience and the fact that Haiti represents a minuscule geo-economic target – if any, at all – suggest that odds are in favor of international inertia once journalists and the public take their emotional eyes off the country due to news fatigue or the eruption of another crisis or tragedy, be it man-made or ‘act of God’.

No doubt, the short term vital needs of Haitians will be fully met; however, big clouds of uncertainty shroud the fulfillment of medium- and long-run promises. Alas, this is no longer about saving the ecosystem, which is an arguably paramount ethos for replete Westerners’ stomachs; it is about saving the lives of millions of individuals and the political existence of a nation-state.

Assuming these predictions turn out wrong, that is, the amounts pledged are actually disbursed in full, and subsequently managed with the strictest governance standards, Haiti will embark on an enviable journey to turn around its chaotic legacy into an economically viable, socially stable, and politically independent state. Some sort of Marshall Plan, but those are big “if”.

International aid that is currently being directed at the devastated territory can be grouped in two chief categories: material and monetary. The former has so far consisted of all the logistical, military, medical, and humanitarian equipment needed for basic emergency activities; it also relates to the military, peace- keeping, and humanitarian personnel that a host of nations, mainly the United States and the United Nations, have already deployed.

Although hard to quantify, these operational initiatives are crucial to rescue the wounded, secure social peace, avoid business looting, and help safeguard the country’s (remaining) political fabric. They are also key in establishing a temporary medical infrastructure to keep pandemics at bay, provide food and potable water to the population, and restore or maintain international exchange.

Finally, and most importantly, these endeavors exist to assuage growing concerns from the twenty-five A.C.S. (Association of Caribbean States) leaders, particularly the neighboring Dominican Republic, who fear that social chaos in Haiti might metastasize into regional bedlam, thanks to refugee exodus and the ensuing social instability so deleterious to these tourism-dependent economies.

The monetary assistance earmarked for Haitians, by its very nature, can be (theoretically) quantified. It consists mainly of four sources, which can be often interconnected: governments, charitable and rescue organizations, private donors, and supranational institutions.

As the country falls into the second week after the tragedy struck, there exist a variety of news accounts narrating its pecuniary aid, and it can be expected such largesse will continue for some time.

In a recent study, the Associated Press estimated government quake aid to Haiti at nearly $1 billion, with more than half ($575 million) from the European Union’s 27 nations.

Individual donors, the world over, are indefatigably partaking in the effort, under the aegis of celebrity initiatives, humanitarian organizations, news outlets ‘telethons’, and internet campaigns.

Americans, despite the ambient precarious economy, handed out $200 million so far, whereas Germans and Dutch donated $25 million and $41 million, respectively.

Deep-pocketed Bretton Woods institutions have also lent a helping hand. IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn pledged $100 million from his institution to aid in reconstruction, while the World Bank waived for 5 years Haiti debt payments estimated at $38 million per annum.

A bird’s eye view of the various aid pledges at the moment put the total estimate at close to $1.5 billion, and it can be reasonably forecasted that the ongoing fundraising gumptions, once a more detailed analysis is conducted, can up that number to $2 billion.

Suffice to say, as already posited earlier, that there exists a strong possibility that a substantial portion of that pledged money – the medium- and long-term parts – will not be eventually disbursed, once global emotion tapers off.

Haiti’s President René Préval and his closest advisers must fathom that fact and act accordingly. They must see their country exactly as the global community has seen it hitherto: a minuscule, underdeveloped, and poverty-stricken land, the future of which – in the secret opinion of some top leaders present at COP-15 – is less important than global warming.

While recognizing the very notion that their country is not of any geostrategic interest to global superpowers and major investors, Haiti must equally see the current tragedy as an opportunity for renewed economic development.

Mr. Préval cannot underrate the necessity and vastness of such a task, especially given that his country will be competing with other nations or causes for aid money throughout the year. He must swiftly create a task force, under the leadership of Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, and summon top minds in his country and abroad to reflect on a serious overall strategy coupled with an action plan to redeem that aid money. Country leaders also need to cogitate on the best way to coordinate relief efforts and avoid process duplication (e.g.: who should be the boss?)

Absent such a level of organization and commitment, Haiti will not access that $1.5 to $2 billion manna, which equates to 2 years of its fiscal revenue (2008 estimates), or 15% of its GDP that is expected to be lost as a result of the calamity. A phone call to 2004 tsunami victims, countless skeptical Third World leaders, or more recently, Afghan President Hamid Karzai might be a good wake up call.

Au revoir Copenhague, bonjour Haïti!

January 20, 2010 8 comments

L’aide humanitaire considérable qui a inondé Haïti au lendemain du cataclysme sismique témoigne d’une vigueur de la solidarité planétaire. Même si les montants promis à court terme seront sûrement décaissés, les expériences passées suggèrent qu’il n’en sera pas de même pour les fonds ultérieurs, sauf si les autorités haïtiennes sont proactives.

par Marquis Codjia
See english version

L’un des cirques médiatiques de l’année 2009 fut le sommet de l’ONU sur le climat de Copenhague, ou COP-15, qui regroupa dans la métropole danoise une pléthore de dirigeants politiques, de militants sociaux, de financiers, et l’habituelle cohorte de lobbyistes chèrement rétribués. Même si la montagne a accouché d’une souris, comme s’y attendaient tous les participants, le fait marquant de la réunion demeure la rixe à laquelle se sont livrés les États-Unis et la Chine.

L’antagonisme ne se limita guère aux deux superpuissances ; il s’invita aussi dans les relations nord-sud, mettant à l’épreuve la légendaire courtoisie de la France et de l’Allemagne face au manque de volonté politique des Indiens et des Brésiliens, et le groupe des dirigeants africains – d’ordinaire ignoré lors des grandes rencontres internationales – qui dénonçait les multiples fausses promesses financières des occidentaux.

Abstraction faite des millions de dollars EU décaissés, de la baisse temporaire du taux de chômage local dû à l’embauche de commentateurs de medias et  « spécialistes du climat », de l’essor économique éphémère des entreprises danoises, et du bien-être général des politiciens et des militants écolos, le sommet produisît ce que tout le monde – excepté les idéalistes férus – espérait : un échec.

Un échec cinglant que tous les analystes politiques virent venir, vu les diverses haches de guerre que les participants du sommet COP-15 brandirent à un mois du forum, à telle enseigne que l’on s’imaginerait dans une procédure de divorce.

Maintenant que l’aile progressiste du parti démocrate a cerné les limites du pouvoir de Barack Obama, l’agent du changement, dans certains dossiers de politique extérieure, et concomitamment, la puissance structurelle solide que les groupes de pression et autres cercles financiers projettent lorsque certains équilibres systémiques fondamentaux sont menacés, le leader américain a besoin d’une nouvelle donne pour rehausser son aloi auprès des Démocrates et des Indépendants.

L’urgence d’une telle initiative ne peut etre mésestimée ou traitée à la légère par les stratèges démocrates, notamment au lendemain d’une victoire inattendue du républicain Scott Brown aux élections sénatoriales de l’état du Massachussetts, bastion politique inexpugnable du feu sénateur Edward Kennedy depuis 40 ans.

Ce bouleversement électoral, tout en réorganisant le paysage politique, peut clouer au pilori, ou du moins perturber, les points-charnières du programme du président, y compris les réformes des secteurs sanitaire et financier, la relance économique, les initiatives en matière d’éducation, et le dénouement fructueux des conflits en Afghanistan et en Irak.

Etant donné la célérité de la réaction américaine et la vastitude des moyens déployés – diplomatiques, militaires, logistiques, et humanitaires – en Haïti la semaine dernière, Barack Obama et ses conseillers semblent voir l’épisode sismique dans ce territoire dévasté comme cette nouvelle donne, leur « instant eurêka ».

Le leader du monde libre n’évalue pas que les avantages électoraux d’une intervention rapide ; dans ce cas-ci, il tient pour vrai l’idéal du leadership moral de l’Amérique et sa capacité à venir en aide à des pays sinistrés partout où elle le pourra.

Les diatribes partisanes et sociopolitiques houleuses de 2009 ont sérieusement entamé le capital politique naguère stratosphérique d’Obama, et il va s’en dire que ces efforts altruistes vont contribuer à ramener à des niveaux raisonnables la côte de popularité du président américain.

Ce regain d’opinions favorables est dû, en grande partie, au fort soutien des communautés haïtienne (1 million de membres) et caribéenne aux États-Unis, l’approbation du peuple américain pour toute aide humanitaire dans les contrées sinistrées, le besoin d’éviter à tout prix un autre scénario cauchemardesque genre ouragan Katrina, et enfin, l’opportunité pour Obama de mériter réellement son Prix Nobel de la Paix 2009. Surtout que ce dernier lui fut décerné à titre d’encouragement, comme une sorte « d’appel à l’action ».

Nonobstant, l’engagement marqué de Washington pour amenuiser les répercussions du séisme en Haïti est nivelé par un engouement équivalent de la part d’autres acteurs internationaux.

L’ère d’un monde unipolaire dominé par le capitalisme américain, où seuls les États-Unis avaient l’apanage de débits financiers faramineux, est révolue. Requinqués par des réserves de change colossales et des totaux de bilans devenus gargantuesques grâce à des rentrées de devises en export et des taux de croissance soutenus, ces nouveaux géants font sciemment fi d’une économie américaine anémiée pour raffermir leur présence sur la scène mondiale.

Les pays du BRIC (Brésil, Russie, Inde, Chine) font partie d’office de cette constellation, en tandem avec d’autres cyclopes de la sphère économique émergente comme l’Afrique du Sud, l’Indonésie, et le Mexique.

Les donateurs occidentaux traditionnellement magnanimes comme l’Union Européenne, le Canada, et le Japon, sont de nos jours pécuniairement phagocytés après deux ans d’aides exorbitantes à leurs secteurs bancaire et industriel. Ergo, ils préconisent des mesures d’aide financière prudentes, préférant débourser les sommes éventuelles par le truchement d’institutions financières internationales (ex : Banque Mondiale, FMI).

L’ironie, ou plutôt, la mélancolie dans cet imbroglio caritatif est que, in fine, l’on peut craindre que les sommes promises, ainsi que le tapage médiatique et les discours politiques y afférents, ne soient qu’un effet d’annonce, la suite logique d’une campagne publicitaire.

Des paramètres distincts se réunissent encore pour produire un autre cirque médiatique rassemblant une kyrielle de tragédiens, petits ou grands, qui convoitent tous le rang de « plus grand donateur » dans le subconscient collectif planétaire, sans en réellement payer le juste tribut.

En d’autres termes, les expériences passées et la simple observation qu’Haïti ne représente qu’un minuscule acteur géoéconomique – si tant est qu’il en est un –suggèrent que les chances sont en faveur d’une inertie internationale une fois que les journalistes et la société civile braqueront leurs regards émotionnels vers d’autres objectifs, à cause, soit d’une lassitude de l’actualité, soit de l’éruption d’une autre crise ou tragédie, qu’elle soit d’origine humaine ou écosystémique.

A coup sûr, les besoins vitaux des Haïtiens à court terme seront assouvis ; par contre, d’énormes nuages d’incertitude recouvrent le décaissement des fonds promis à moyen et long termes. Hélas, le propos ici ne porte plus sur la survie de l’écosystème, qui peut être, soit dit en passant, un débat plus captivant pour des occidentaux aux estomacs repus ; il s’agit ici de sauver des millions de vies humaines et l’existence politique d’un état-nation.

Dans l’hypothèse où ces prédictions s’avéreraient erronées, autrement dit, si tous les montants promis sont effectivement débloqués, et par la suite, gérés avec des normes de gouvernance strictes, Haïti pourra sortir alors de son marasme et se transformer en un état économiquement viable, socialement stable et politiquement indépendant. Un nouveau plan Marshall pour le pays en quelque sorte ; mais, tout ceci n’est que conjectures.

L’aide internationale qui se pointe à l’heure actuelle vers les zones ravagées peut se repartir en deux sections : matérielle et monétaire. La première regroupe tout l’appareillage logistique, militaire, médical et humanitaire nécessaire pour des missions de sauvetage primaire ; elle est aussi connexe aux forces militaires et de maintien de l’ordre que beaucoup de pays, au premier rang desquels se trouvent les États-Unis et les Nations Unies, ont déployées.

Quoique difficilement chiffrables, ces missions sont cruciales pour sauver les blessés, maintenir la paix sociale, éviter les pillages d’échoppes, et sauvegarder le tissu politique du pays, ou du moins ce qu’il en reste. Elles servent également à établir une infrastructure médicale temporaire pour parer aux pandémies, à fournir aux populations des vivres et de l’eau potable, et à restaurer les échanges internationaux.

Enfin, et tout aussi important, ces initiatives existent pour rasséréner les 25 dirigeants de l’A.E.C. (Association des Etats Caribéens), surtout en République Dominicaine limitrophe, qui craignent qu’un chaos social en Haïti ne se métamorphose en branle-bas régional, à cause de l’exode des réfugiés et de l’instabilité sociétale qui s’en suivra, scenario éminemment délétère pour ces économies dépendantes du tourisme.

L’assistance monétaire allouée aux Haïtiens, de par sa nature même, peut faire (en théorie) l’objet d’un chiffrage correct. Elle provient de 4 sources, le plus souvent interconnectées : gouvernements, structures caritatives, donateurs privés, et institutions supranationales.

Plus d’une semaine après le désastre, une profusion d’articles de presse continuent de relater cette aide financière, et l’on peut espérer que cette munificence continuera pour un certain temps.

Une étude récente de l’Associated Press estimait que l’aide gouvernementale destinée aux survivants du séisme haïtien s’élève à 1 milliard de dollars EU, dont plus de la moitié (575 millions de dollars EU) provenant des 27 pays de l’Union Européenne.

Des donateurs privés, partout dans le monde, mettent sans cesse la main à la poche, sous l’égide des initiatives de célébrités, des organisations humanitaires, des émissions de téléthon, et des campagnes sur internet.

Les Américains, nonobstant la précarité de leur réalité économique, ont déjà contribué 200 millions de dollars EU, pendant que les Allemands et les Néerlandais ont concouru à hauteur de 25 millions et 41 millions, respectivement.

Quant aux institutions de Bretton Woods, elles ont aussi apporté leurs contributions à la reconstruction d’Haïti. Le chef du FMI, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a déjà promis 100 millions de dollars EU, pendant que la Banque Mondiale a suspendu, pendant 5 ans, le remboursement de ses prêts estimés à 38 millions par an.

A l’heure actuelle, le montant total des diverses sommes promises s’élève à environ 1,5 milliard de dollars EU, et l’on peut raisonnablement projeter que les diverses campagnes de mobilisation de fonds augmenteront ce chiffre à circa 2 milliards.

Comme expliqué précédemment, il y a une forte possibilité qu’un pan substantiel de ces fonds – celui relatif aux moyen et long termes – ne sera pas finalement décaissé, une fois que l’émotion planétaire circonvoisine s’amoindrira.

Le chef de l’état haïtien, René Préval, et ses plus proches conseillers doivent comprendre ce fait et s’en accommoder. Ils doivent voir leur pays exactement à travers les prismes que la communauté internationale utilise : celui d’un petit pays sous développé, dont l’avenir – si l’on s’en tient aux bruits de couloir du sommet de Copenhague – est moins important que la thématique du réchauffement planétaire.

Reconnaître le simple fait que leur pays n’est d’aucun intérêt géostratégique pour les superpuissances globales et les investisseurs majeurs, doit permettre, autant que faire se peut, à Haïti de voir le présent cataclysme comme une opportunité de sortir de son apathie économique.

Monsieur Préval ne peut mésestimer la nécessité et l’étendue de la tâche à accomplir, d’autant plus que son pays meurtri rivalisera, à l’avenir, avec d’autres pays ou causes, pour l’aide humanitaire mondiale. Il doit vite diligenter une commission, placée sous l’égide du Premier Ministre Jean-Max Bellerive, qui rassemblera des grands spécialistes nationaux et étrangers, et qui déterminera une stratégie idoine de sortie de crise couplée d’un plan d’action pour rentrer dans les fonds promis.

Les autorités doivent aussi cogiter aux voies et moyens appropriés de coordonner les efforts de sauvetage et éviter les effets de répétition dans ledit processus  (ex : qui doit superviser quoi ?).

En l’absence d’un tel degré d’organisation et d’abnégation, les dirigeants haïtiens n’accéderont pas, à coup sûr, à  la manne de 1,5 milliard à 2 milliards de dollars EU, qui équivaut à 2 ans de revenus fiscaux (estimations de 2008), ou aux 15% de son PNB qui seront perdus suite à cette calamité. Un simple coup de fil aux victimes du tsunami de 2004, aux nombreux dirigeants incrédules du Tiers-Monde, ou plus récemment, au président afghan Hamid Karzai, tous dans l’éternelle attente de fonds qui leur furent promis, pourrait éclairer René Préval et son gouvernement un peu plus.