Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sher View: Clinton Library Funding

The Washington Post yesterday has raised the issue of foreign, which should imply all foreign sources, but names mostly Middle Eastern sources, and implied there was something sinister about the donations to the former presidents' presidential library. For Senator Obama to also be mentioned that the wishes to bring in strict legislation to donations for such foundations shows that both the Washington Post and Senator Obama are way off the mark. First why question donations from the Middle East only, surely the British and European donors also appear on the list, indeed why not also question US donors too, after all they would have a greater vested interest to use donations for a political cause.

Most importantly, why would someone want to 'bribe or influence' a former President of the US? I can see it being an issue funding a presidential hopeful as being a major issue, (not that US special interest groups don't do that), but why would I pay say $10 million for a lovely library to a man who is no more in office, other than out of goodwill or friendship?

Secondly this is an old issue, as far as I see it dead and buried but brought up by Washington Post perhaps to support the Obama cause, consider the Post seems to like the Obama camp more than anyone else.

Thirdly, instead of celebrating such donations as a triumph of understanding and diplomacy its being looked down up either because the source of funding is not politically convenient or sounds sinister enough for respectable numbers to behave like weekend rags. Come on guys this was not like the Middle East funding some clandestine subversive group within America.

Fourthly, the Middle East donates alot of money to alot of causes, when you produce a daily cash flow of billions and need to only spend a fraction of that money, you do have alot of people lining up for donations. If reporters want to really do their homework then do mention the donations made elsewhere by these same Middle Eastern personalities. I know from personal experience, being an ex banker, that the late Sh Zayed of Abu Dhabi alone funded two major hospitals, one airport, a whole road network system in two towns, and a rural development program in Pakistan that ran into billions. Many will find fault with that, so if he then also gave say a million dollars to an EX presidents library big deal.

Finally, political motives could abound anywhere, the reality is that be fair, name all donors, and suggest the motives from all parties, and don't just bash the Middle East.

I marvel at the ability of the human mind to take something good and twist it into something sinister.

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