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The US Fight Against the Fight Against Poverty

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The negotiations on the draft declaration for the World Summit - which opens on Tuesday - have been nothing short of bizarre. U.S. government has fought a relentless battle to dissociate itself from specific obligations regarding international development, and has tried repeatedly to the quash obligations that it has taken on the past. All of this has been taking place at a time when the US itself has become an aid recipient, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The opening salvo a couple of weeks ago was the remarkable assertion by the U.S. that the Millennium Development Goals do not even exist, so that the phrase itself should be expunged from the document. This was news to the rest of the world, who were gathering at the Summit first and foremost to find ways to reinforce the Millennium Development Goals. The US claimed that it had signed the Millennium Declaration but not the Millennium Development Goals. The argument was not very impressive. All 18 of the targets of the Millennium Development Goals - to halve hunger, fight disease, reduce maternal mortality, ensure access to safe drinking water, and more - are explicitly part of the Millennium Declaration. COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM -- POOR NEED NOT APPLY...

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