Wednesday, January 23, 2002

WHERE'S JERRY LEWIS WHEN YOU NEED HIM?
The First Afghan Beg-a-Thon is over and pledges total over $4.5 billion dollars over five years. This Aid Chart offers a fascinating glimpse of both international pocketbooks and conflicts.

For instance, the US is up for only $296 million, only slightly more than half of the $560 million being pledged by Iran. Granted, Iran is a bordering neighbor and the US has coughed up quite a few bucks thus far to install a new government in Kabul. But you can bet you ass the Muslim world will be pointing out that difference and snickering.

A bit further down, we find tiny Netherlands kicking in a whopping $103 million. That nicely beats contributions from some bigger and/or more prominent European countries, such as Sweden ($100 million), Italy and Norway ($40 million each), and France (a paltry $24 million).

I wish this chart has a comparison by percentage of contribution versus GDP or annual government budget. Comparisons might make more sense.

My favorite item is India's $101 million, which just barely puts it ahead of perenial enemy Pakistan's $100 million. How much do you want to bet the guys on India's team heard what Patiskan was contributing and just had to beat them by a million. This isn't Afghan relief, it's The Price Is Right!

China, the most populated country on the planet offered only $1 million. China makes more on that in an afternoon selling bootleg DVDs.

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