Does history tell us anything?

I read this recently in Ruth Ben Ghiat’s book, Strongmen:

“The Cold War made Mobutu’s long rule and luxurious lifestyle possible. The age of decolonization marked a shift in the economic order, with the end of European empires bringing the removal of European state capital and the influx of new private and institutional investors. Mobutu’s pro-Western anti-Communism set him up to be a primary recipient of funds from Europeans and Americans who sought to contain the left and continue their influence in a postcolonial age. Over the years his champions and investors included his lobbyists Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, US ambassador to Zaire Sheldon B. Vance, and the family of French president Giscard d’Estaing. In the 1980s, the d’Estaings controlled construction-related businesses that accounted for almost a third of Zaire’s foreign debt. The IMF and the United States Export-Import Bank also lent Mobutu money, even after IMF banker Erwin Blumenthal warned in 1982 that they would likely never recoup their funds. By the time Mobutu was forced into exile in 1997, he had amassed a $5 billion fortune. Zaire lost $12 billion in capital flight and gained $14 billion in debt, with a 699.8 percent average annual rate of inflation and more than 70 percent of the population living in poverty on an average daily wage of $1.4.”

Is your mind connecting the dots? Depending on your personal perspective you may draw different conclusions to me as we now contemplate our present global crises.

Poverty and the associated pain of hunger, disease and shortened lives, seem to me to be linked to manipulations by those who have a psychopathic pleasure in perpetuating outcomes like the above.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat explains:

“Corruption is a process as well as a set of practices, and the word’s Latin and Old French origins imply a change of state due to decay. As implied by popular sayings like “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch,” corruption has always been associated with contamination and degradation, whether of physical objects (like fruit and computer files) or the soul. This notion of corruption captures the operation of strongman regimes. They turn the economy into an instrument of leader wealth creation, but also encourage changes in ethical and behavioral norms to make things that were illegal or immoral appear acceptable, whether election fraud, torture, or sexual assault.”

Democratic Republic of Congo was renamed Zaire by Mobutu. It has a long history of being rich in resources but exploited to this day. See

Africa: the suffering of DR Congo peoples

About borderslynn

Retired, living in the Scottish Borders after living most of my life in cities in England. I can now indulge my interest in all aspects of living close to nature in a wild landscape. I live on what was once the Iapetus Ocean which took millions of years to travel from the Southern Hemisphere to here in the Northern Hemisphere. That set me thinking and questioning and seeking answers. In 1998 I co-wrote Millennium Countdown (US)/ A Business Guide to the Year 2000 (UK) see
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