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Friday, August 18, 2006

Development? Russia Couldn't Care Less!

The Center for Global Development has published its 2006 ranking of 21 of the world's most economically potent nations by "committment to development." CGD explains the ranking thusly: "Rich and poor countries are linked in many ways—by foreign aid, commerce, migration, the environment, and military affairs. The Commitment to Development Index (CDI) rates 21 rich countries on how much they help poor countries build prosperity, good government, and security. Each rich country gets scores in seven policy areas, which are averaged for an overall score."

Netherlands ranks at the top of the list. The U.S. ranks #13, and is #2 in terms of improvement from last year (Spain is the most improved country).

And Russia? Russia ranks #10 in the world by gross GDP as modified by the purchasing power parity formula, yet Russia doens't make the list of 21 countries studied by CGD at all.

There are only two possible reasons for Russia to make the list: Either the Russian economy is to puny to bear comparison to others on the list (like tiny Denmark, Netherlands and Ireland) or Russia's efforts towards development support are too puny be worthy of comparison.

As to economics, granted, "purchasing power" is fraudulent and, after removing that factor, Russia doesn't even rank in the world's top 60 in terms of per capita GDP. But still, Russia is on the G-8, isn't it? And its cash reserves are among the largest of any nation, aren't they? If so, shouldn't it have G-8 responsibilities to pursue development? And yet, for some reason, it doesn't. La Russophobe dares to wonder why.

As to development, it's clear that Russia couldn't care less about any other country than itself. For instance, "President" Putin willfully excluded discussion of African poverty from the G-8 agenda in St. Petersburg when he played host. Indeed, Russia may very well view any developmental aid given to any other country as a loss to Russia, which can easily be viewed as a third-world state. Basically, it's clear that Russia is seeking to have the benefits of G-8 membership without any of the responsibilities -- a classic Neo-Soviet move doomed to fail.

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