The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

79° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Monday Morning Quaterbacking

    The Wildcat comments on the weekend’s news

    Petrocrats at the polls

    In a strange confluence of international events, two elections important to uppity autocrats in oil-rich nations took place yesterday. In Venezuela, president Hugo Chavez urged voters to pass a broad set of constitutional changes that would institutionalize his socialist “”Bolivarian Revolution.”” Among the proposed changes is a provision abolishing term limits on the presidency, criticized by many for giving Chavez the chance to become an “”elected dictator.”” Meanwhile, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is no doubt eyeing Chavez’ changes with envy. Although his United Russia party is all but guaranteed a sweeping victory in its latest parliamentary referendum, thanks to shilling from state-controlled media, election reforms designed to stamp out opposition parties and rampant voter intimidation, Putin is facing an imminent end to his presidency at the end of this term. Both elections will probably do little more than further cement each unsustainable authoritarian. Although the spoils of oil wealth may have given both of them the chance to concentrate political power now, their undemocratic changes will surely leave their people worse off in the future.

    Fertilizing development

    Malawi, a tiny, landlocked nation in southeastern Africa, has long been a darling for foreign aid donors. One of Africa’s poorest countries, it has consistently been afflicted by famine and disease. Now, thanks to an unconventional aid policy, that may be changing. The New York Times reported yesterday that thanks to hefty fertilizer subsidies and good rains, this year’s corn harvest in Malawi is so big that tons of the crop are being exported to Zimbabwe and sold off on international markets. The bumper crop of corn is something of a puzzle for the development experts who have long meddled with the country’s economy, since standard advice is to do away with incentive-altering subsidies altogether. There’s clear evidence that subsidies have boosted the Malawian economy – but that doesn’t make them a good idea. Unfortunately, they’re a necessity, especially if poor nations like Malawi hope to compete with our own heavily subsidized agriculture industry. Paying for fertilizer may be a smart short-term solution, but if the U.S. really wants to help the world’s poorest, it should start by doing away with subsidies at home.

    We can do ordinary rendition, too!

    Used to be only suspected terrorists needed to worry about being kidnapped and imprisoned by the U.S. government. Now, the British may want to watch their backs, too. According to the London Times, an American lawyer told the British Court of Appeal yesterday that the practice of “”rendition”” – kidnapping wanted subjects and bringing them to the U.S. to be tried – is perfectly permissible under American law, and part of a tradition that “”goes back to bounty hunting days in the 1860s,”” according to Alun Jones, the attorney representing the U.S. That suggests that we’ve got the authority to kidnap whoever we want, wherever we want, regardless of local law. That may be true, but the government shouldn’t be in the business of nabbing foreign nationals – especially when processes for extraditing and trying criminals are already in place.

    OPINIONS BOARD: Editorials are determined by the Wildcat Opinions Board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Sarah Keeler and Connor Mendenhall.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search