Johnny (deputy-sheriff) Howard, was trying out his badge today, committing
Australian police, troops and
miscellaneous law people to
bring some law 'n' order to the failed nation of the Solomon Islands in what he
called a 'new policy direction'.
Doubtless there are squishy leftie chain-blame arguments
making the Solomons Islands failure all the fault of some diabolical white
males, but the reality is that sometimes countries just don't take. And unlike
failed businesses, which are eventually forced to cease trading and sell off
their remaining assets to others who will make more productive use of them,
when countries fail they just limp on and on, perpetuating the misery on their
The British gave the island
nation full independence in 1978, and a slow, but inevitable collapse into
lawlessness ensued. Initially most of the judiciary were British, and thereby
generally above the 'one-tok' (tribal favoritism) system of the locals, but it
wasn't enough to maintain law and order.
Enter Savior Johnny, who says that the existing system is likely to harbor
drug smuggling, money
laundering, and terrorism.
It's a little hard to see how these things could affect Australia - it's
just as easy to search arrivals from the Solomons as Tehran or Kabul, but it
would be impolitic for Johnny to say the real reason for going in: we don't
want to see a Chinese
military base in the Pacific.
No one is using the term 're-colonization' yet, and Jonny (we-know-best)
Howard isn't willing to go that far. Under the proposed deal, the country
maintains sovereignty, but law and order services are courtesy of the
This could work out well for the Solomons, and is claimed to have
overwhelming local support. Traditional foreign aid has caused
incalculable damage to many third world countries, serving simply to prop up
corrupt tin-pot pseudo-democracies at the expense
of their populations. Particularly damaging are the politically
correct forms which (in a effort to avoid being being culturally elitist) don't
dictate what aid money is
spent on, but merely give it to the governments
themselves. Somehow people believe that money given to an organization which
has ruined an entire country's economy will be well spent. Yet another
conclusion of cultural
But this is aid with a difference - it's not economic aid, it's just a law
and order package. People might be safe in their homes, feel safe enough to
send their children to
school, or send the missus out to buy a few beers. It's got to be a good
thing. Eventually people might even feel secure enough to start businesses, and
actually create wealth.
This is unlikely though. Unfortunately the aid is not about real
law-and-order, and will be less about protecting property rights than just
keeping the peace. That's a
start, but it doesn't meet the minimum requirement for creation of wealth. And
with a greedy and corrupt government relieved of the
duty for maintaining law and order themselves, they are likely to spend their
energies pursuing less violent means of theft - taxing and regulating their
So the Solomon Islands will stumble on as a semi-failed nation, the drugs, the
dirty money, the terrorists and the Chinese will be kept out, Johnny will hold
his head up high as a big fish in the Pacific pond, and his commitments will
remove any international pressure for Australia to fill her share of body-bags
in the messy aftermath of fighting in Iraq.
A clever move, Johnny - surely worthy of the wisdom of Solomon.