John Kerry in Ethiopia Today Fails to Change History of Rights-Abusing Aid

UPDATE 2, May 2, 12:47pm EDT: Is it progress to have provoked a  one-on-one Twitter war with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus?

Ethiopia Foreign Minister Twitter

UPDATE: May 2, 2014  Coverage of John Kerry's "concern" yesterday about arrested Ethiopian bloggers in US media today: none. US State Department follow-up: none.  USAID follow-up: none.

If a US policy concern falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, is it a policy?  END UPDATE

The Ethiopian government, a major US aid recipient, operates with such impunity on rights that it arrested 9 new dissident journalists and bloggers on the eve of US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Addis Ababa today. 

Kerry raised his "concerns" about the detained bloggers with in a meeting today with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam. The Ethiopian PM doesn't need to be too concerned about US "concerns," much less any reduction in US aid, since Kerry earlier today more loudly affirmed the US alliance with Ethiopia's government to fight terrorism and violence in Africa.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The long history of aid ignoring and even facilitating rights abuses in Ethiopia sadly continues.

Delusion of Ethiopian Development

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Lessons from The Development Olympics


UPDATE noon 8/11/12: A devastating rebuttal to this post notes that if you limit the medal count to gold and change the indicator to the Human Development Index, there is no correlation. I have no idea what the point of this is. Researchers devote vast effort to the central question in economic development: "what determines Olympic medals?" The answer is income per capita and population, or in other words total GDP. The following table shows this story fits pretty well.

However, the outliers are interesting.

The big underachievers are (in order of underachievement) India, Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia.

The big overachievers are Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan,  Romania, Iran, , and Jamaica.

The lessons seem to be:

(1) World Bank national development strategies in key emerging markets have failed miserably in the Olympics sector.

(2) a history of Communism may not have been so awesome for development and liberty, but it's still amazing for Olympic medals.

(3) Islamist ideology is a mixed medal producer (Saudi Arabia no, Iran yes).

(4) if nothing else works, just run really fast.

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The AIDS conference political courage meter

The international AIDS conference in Washington has generated a lot of news on how to end the tragic AIDS epidemic. Some approaches to AIDS involve technical fixes (vaccines, treatment drugs, condoms, circumcision) on which it is easy to get political consensus.

Others require real political courage to address, such as behavior change, i.e. reducing the number of multiple sexual partners --"concurrent relationships"-- that spread the epidemic.

The chart below collects all Google News hits on these terms and shows the weight of each of them in news coverage on the AIDS Conference.

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