Under the Radar

Why Uprooting Corruption Is Necessary To Building The Haitian State

Photo Credit: Garry Pierre-Pierre

Photo Credit: Garry Pierre-Pierre

Max A. Joseph Jr.

One of the least understood, but at the same time most destructive components of the current global order is the multitude of organizations, all of them fully integrated into or beholden to the system, offering expert advice to the developing world. These organizations, which include the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the World Bank, and the innocuously-named NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations), represent a threat that must not be ignored as their flawed recommendations are geared toward propping up the global system rather than providing a practical solution to the deficiencies of the most vulnerable countries. Through highly structured schemes such as propagating alleged “universal values,” helping with building “civil societies,” and promoting a culture of dependency, these groups are essentially prepping up targeted countries for a hostile takeover by the international community.

Like dishonest preachers reminding their flocks that salvation is around the corner and all that’s needed is an unshakable faith in the infallibility of the Creator, these nation-builders have mastered the art of selling fallacies to trusting governments throughout the Third World. Their modus operandi revolves around advocating or mandating “structural reforms,” which would supposedly facilitate the infusion of foreign investments needed for development. Sound simple but in reality intricate and deceitful, because the targeted countries are practically trading actual resources (loss of revenues and jobs) for promises that invariably never materialized. As with the preachers’ analogy, it would be incumbent upon those governments to make things happen by enacting more mandated reforms that effectively bankrupt the state, making it irrelevant and incapable of providing the basic amenities for their citizens. Such development, or course, de-legitimizes the power of the state and paves the way for the cavalry (the NGOs) to come in and take over.

For the leaders of these targeted countries a rational approach to knowing who to listen to and what to stay away from has become the indispensable factor in overcoming the odds of finding a way out of this unsustainable situation. In impoverished Haiti, for example, one gets the impression that the country no longer belongs to Haitians and that an eviction notice ordering its inhabitants to some of the world’s most inhospitable places is not a farfetched proposition. Currently the irrelevancy of the Haitian state is such that these organizations routinely ignore the country’s representatives input when discussing the future of its citizens. The fact that we (Haitians) are dealing with entities with documented history of genocidal and industrial-scale extermination brings urgency to the situation. Would historians go along with the notion that Haiti was really a “threat to international peace and security” as determined by the United Nations Security Council on March 1st, 2004? I doubt this very much but the damage wrought by the invasion and occupation of the country on the account of this hypothesis, although not irreversible is nonetheless injurious to the country’s reputation.

At this juncture, complacency is definitely not an option. Future historians would likely brand this system “slavery with a human face,” for it rejects the repugnant aspects of slavery on moral grounds while institutionalizing the concept under the appearance of enforcing the “sanctity of international law.” Democracy, for example, is supposedly a universal ideal that must be accepted by everyone, regardless of its incompatibility to some cultures, because of its importance to maintaining the primacy of the system but not its attractiveness to the human character. Accordingly any move toward self-sustenance or self-governance by a targeted country is regarded as an existential threat to the system, requiring full-scale retaliatory measures meant to intimidate, ostracize, or discipline.

Though the system’s ability to re-invent itself allows it to endure and flourish for centuries, its staying power is by no means eternal. The flawed and destructive policy of nation-building that essentially legitimizes its paternalistic interventions in the Third World would not be possible without the vile actions of willing collaborators (typically corrupt politicians) bargaining their fate at the expense of their constituents. It is not a coincidence that corruption, an affliction loathed by practically everyone, is tolerated or encouraged by the system in targeted countries as leverage for blackmail or rationale for interventions. As a learned social behavior, corruption can be neutralized or preferably eradicated, provided the political will exist.

It is painful to most Haitians to see their beloved and storied country relegated to the unenviable status of “ward of the international community” and subjected to the worst punishments and humiliations the current global order has to offer, because of corruption. A zero tolerance toward systemic corruption in the Third World is the necessary step that could help countries avoid being taken over by the international community and its malevolent agencies. Notwithstanding its facilitation of the “de facto takeover policy”, corruption helps validate the narrative put forward by the international community, which likens its incursions to benevolence rather than straightforward cases of unchecked imperialism and white supremacy.

No nation can prosper by cutting aid to education, depriving itself of revenues needed to fund its constitutional and social obligations or lowering tariffs on imported goods it can ill-afford. Strangely the expert recommendations of the IMF and the World Bank have consistently suggested otherwise, leaving many to question the stated nature of these international organizations. We (Haitians) have an obligation to ourselves, our children and our ancestors to stop Haiti’s slide into oblivion because, in my opinion, the worst has yet to come.

May. 21, 2016

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