Friday, December 19, 2008

Donations or Baksheesh?

Former President Clinton has just released the list of donors to his foundation in an effort to help Hilary navigate through the confirmation hearings. The donations included $ 10-25 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, $ 5-10 million from Friends of Saudi Arabia and $ 1-5 million each from Nasser al-Rashid from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Brunei and Oman.

The list continues with other names of foreign nationals with donations in the millions of dollars.

I find it extremely hard to believe that those donations were made without a quid pro quo, and simply out of an altruistic concern for world poverty. The above-mentioned nations are not known for their altruism nor concern for the poor, and very well known for using the “baksheesh” as a method of lubrication.

When former President Reagan received $ 2million speaking fee from Japan, there was an outcry from the media, which considered this fee outrageous, and beneath the dignity of a former president. Clinton has received over $ 100 million in speaking fees and almost half a billion dollars in contributions to his foundation and the media calls him a statesman.

Perhaps Hilary will do her job as secretary of state with impartiality, but the doubts will remain with every decision taken by the State Department. India will complain when we side with Pakistan, and Pakistan when we side with India. The same will occur in the Middle East.

These donations and the ethical reputation of the Clintons do not bode well for foreign affairs in the Obama administration.

Finally, why do politicians report donations and their worth in scales? $10-25 million, $1-5 million. Can't they report in concrete approximations? Imagine doing your taxes and reporting income of $25-100 thousand. Which number do you suppose the IRS would use?


Anonymous said...

Oh it is so good to hear your voice again- feels like a department meeting! I am going to be a regular reader- it is nice to hear what intelligent people have to say even when I don't always agree with them!

Jeff Parrett said...

I am very inexperienced at this blogging stuff- I intend to get better when I retire in about 30 years or whenever I stop having kids...I didn't intend to be anonymous on the first comment- I'll figure it out.