The all-consuming greed of that genus of homo sapiens that gets into paroxysms of joy the more zeroes get added to their bank accounts has been responsible for much of the distress that normal human beings (i.e., those free of such a psychosis) have been experiencing in the 21st century. In 2008, that greed on Wall Street coupled with a deferential White House, resulted in a loss of over USD 2 trillion to investors, most in Asia, including in the Middle East. The 2008 financial meltdown of investor wealth at the hands of fund managers focused exclusively on their own profits resulted in a severe dent to the confidence felt by others on the very integrity of the West. Especially in the Middle East, the number of large investors who place their faith entirely in the hands of fund managers based in London, New York, Zurich and Frankfurt (the drivers of the global meltdown) has come down substantially. Given his upbringing at the hands of maternal grandparents of average income, but abundant reserves of decency, it was expected that newly elected President Barack Obama would give priority to the millions who lost homes and incomes to the perpetrators of the financial crash. Instead, Obama funneled hundreds of billions of USD into the very institutions that had been responsible for the market meltdown, ignoring the tens of millions of US citizens who had lost their homes and their incomes through no fault of theirs. There is a category of Democratic Party leader in US politics who is substantially indistinguishable from those Republicans, who are meekly obedient to the commands of their principal financial backers. The millions of foreclosed homes that stood as mute testimony to the lack of concern of a President whom they had elected to power to represent their interests will form an inseparable part of the legacy of Barack Obama. And he is not alone in taking for granted his vote bank. Bill Clinton entered the White House on the back of enormous support from the African-American community, and the changes he made to the justice system did not reduce crime but significantly expanded an already large proportion of African-Americans who went to prison. Similarly, Joe Biden entered the White House on the back of the African-American vote, only to forget all about them in his obsession with punishing Putin, for (in his view) denying Hillary Clinton the keys to the Oval Office in 2016. His lackadaisical approach towards his voter base stands in contrast to the frenetic manner in which US taxpayer dollars have flowed in the form of weapons to Ukraine. Neither Jill nor Joe Biden are in any sense of the term racist, so those who claim that the people of Ukraine have a much bigger claim on President Biden’s attention than African-Americans because of differences in skin colour are wrong. More than helping President Zelenskyy prolong a war that is having a destructive effect on lives and livelihoods (not least in the country he leads), it is Biden’s raw hatred for Putin and by extension his regime and his country that appears to be fuelling the reckless prolongation of the Ukraine war. Of course, his two closest Cabinet colleagues, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, are among the many in Washington who consider the US to be a corner of Europe separated by the Atlantic Ocean, and who have joined hands with their friends in Europe to be the cheerleaders for Russophobes in Ukraine since 2012.
As if there was not enough doubt in the minds of those in Asia, Africa and South America about the sincerity behind western protestations of friendship to them, the performance of those from either shore of the North Atlantic at the Sharm-el-Sheikh COP27 jamboree has further dismayed even those who are well-wishers of the Atlantic Alliance. Even as the total expenditure incurred by the alliance on sending weapons to Ukraine is closing in on the USD 100 billion mark, the same sum promised by the Atlantic Alliance to poorer countries to combat the effects of climate change has yet to reach even USD 3 billion. More has come from the Middle East and from East Asia than from the members of NATO. It is clear that the horrible sufferings endured then and continuing to this day of the population of Somalia, Ethiopia and several other countries does not matter to NATO member states a hundredth as much as the insatiable need for weapons of the Ukrainian regular and irregular forces. The way in which obligations to poorer nations and every other consideration has been forgotten in the heady atmosphere of the Ukraine Crusade was once again in display during COP27, where NATO member states competed with each other in claiming that they had made immense sacrifices in the cause of helping poorer countries survive the climate crisis. All this while use of coal within the EU is rising almost in proportion to the peremptory demands by the Atlantic Alliance on Africa in particular to do away with coal in preference to green energy systems bought from Europe. How much longer must we wait before western leaders abandon such hypocrisy and live up to the promises they made a decade ago about helping the poorer nations to navigate through a catastrophe in which the victims are blameless?