Four articles worth a gander

A blogger for Reuters says “don’t give money to Haiti“. Seems shocking, but actually, the post itself is quite reasonable. He says that instead of giving money to say MSF’s Haiti project, donate to MSF. This is because these organisations are already getting enough donations to make a difference in Haiti, but won’t be able to move the excess to other worthy projects throughout the world. It’s an interesting perspective.

President Obama has written the cover story for next week’s Newsweek. He sets out why America must help Haiti, and also adds an interesting coda to the Obama doctrine he first set out when he won a Nobel prize. “But above all, we act for a very simple reason: in times of tragedy, the United States of America steps forward and helps. That is who we are. That is what we do.”

Nick Clegg wrote for the FT on Friday trying to reassure financial markets that, in the event of a hung parliament, the Liberal Democrats wouldn’t do anything to risk Britain’s financial reputation. What’s interesting is that he defines his plans more by what they aren’t: Labour and Tory plans, rather than putting forwards his own positive agenda first. If you contrast this with Charles Kennedy – who was the most successful Liberal leader since Lloyd George – you can see that Kennedy put forwards a radical agenda of his own, rather than seeking to constantly be in the middle of the other two parties. Clegg constantly summarises his agenda as that of “fairness”, a bland buzzword that’ll most likely be ignored.

Whilst there’s seemingly no escape from the man, Rory Stewart has written in the New York Review of Books backing Obama’s Afghanistan strategy. It’s excellent, as would befit an independent-minded expert on Afghanistan. This is his strength, but over the last few weeks there’s been a whole host of pieces trying to focus on his personal life or tedious stunts such as walking across his constituency. It’s good for him, for now, as it raises his profile but the more prominent he becomes, the more of a potential problem he becomes for the Conservative leadership. Perhaps many of the media are building him up merely to cause trouble, his criticism of previous Afghan strategy riled General Sir David Richards for one. He has the opportunity to become an irritating “character” but his ability means that he should be seen as an important commentator (at least for now).

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