Friday, February 7, 2020

The Peace Corps 'Cuts and Runs'? Total Disinformational Codswallop

Image result for brane space, Peace CorpsImage result for brane space, Peace Corps
Me,  teaching General Science class in Barbados, in Peace Corps, ca. 1971. 

I often had my beefs with the Peace Corps while serving 4 years (1971-1975), e.g. that volunteers of the opposite sex could not live together.   But never ever have I accused the organization of "cutting and running",  even after I remained in my designated host country (Barbados) long after service.   So you can imagine my disbelief when I spotted 'the headline:

The Peace Corps Cuts and Runs - WSJ

In the Wall Street Journal (Jan. 23, p. A15), by Michael Meyer. According to Meyer:

"Amid fanfare at the White House, the U.S. and China signed an agreement pausing the trade war. The next day, the U.S. quietly terminated its Peace Corps program in China. The news didn’t merit a presidential tweet, or even a Peace Corps press release. An explanation is in order, because the program is one of the greatest diplomatic success stories in the history of both the Peace Corps and U.S.-China relations."

Actually, if Meyer -  who "taught teenagers in southwest China about the Bible and the stock market" (a weird combo) -   knew anything about the organization's perennial mission he'd know why.   That is,  the Peace Corps,  since the 'year dot' (when it was formed in 1963), has had the policy (especially in the realm of teaching)  that Volunteers vacated their positions when capable local  teachers became available.  In the Caribbean, where  all teaching volunteers have now left, it was understood the Corps  as a whole would pull out when enough of the island states had their own staffs fully implemented.    This was not "cutting and running" as Meyer claims, but a rational decision to assign precious volunteer resources to other areas where most needed.

Meyer subsequently takes issue with FLA Sen. Rick Scott who introduced the "Peace Corps Mission Accountability Act" which "would terminate operations in China and other 'hostile' countries"  Then noting Scott's reaction to the withdrawal, i.e.:

"I'm glad the Peace Corps has finally come to its senses and sees Communist China for what it is: the second largest economy in the world and an adversary of the United States."

But leaving out Scott's nationalist rhetoric the only aspect that impacts on this discussion is the fact of China's emergence as the "second largest economy in the world".  Hence, analogous to the case of the developed Caribbean nations (e.g. Barbados) the Peace Corps is simply no longer needed when there are millions of capable host country candidates to take up positions, in elementary school teaching, secondary schools, colleges or wherever.   So why all the crying or whining?

I suspect Meyer is simply chafing because he and his fellow Bible thumpers can no longer pump the population with their U.S. capitalist propaganda or  biblical fictions, fantasies. Indeed, it was one of the first warnings we received (along with no drugs (pot), no pregnancies) when we arrived in our host countries, that we absolutely could not discuss politics or religion.  Either might get you pulled up for censure before the then Eastern Caribbean local PC  Director, Dr. Marise Hadden.

Meyer writes near the end (ibid.):

"The Peace Corps isn't a perfect organization, and it shouldn't be shielded from criticism or change. But neither should the Peace Corps turn tail from China because two senators don't understand the mission there."

And what might that "mission" be, Mr. Meyer? Brainwashing the Chinese  students with Christian fairy tales? Or capitalist propaganda?  Whether you like it or not the pullout had nothing to do with Sens. Scott or Rubio but a long standing Peace Corps policy that when the locals attained a sufficient level of development - where it mattered - it would no longer be needed and would cease operations.  This would be a 'no brainer' especially for a nation that had become the world's 2nd largest economy.

The time now is for Meyer - and his biblical cohort of capitalist proselytizers -  to suck it up and move on.

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