Friday, January 1, 2010

The Bat That Roared

Remember the 50's movie, "The Mouse That Roared"? This cinematic (fictional) tale of a small nation who declares war on America so they can lose and get foreign aid is a classic. Today's paper has a story on the editiorial page by Joel Brinkley that is as amusing as the "mouse" movie. My husband scratched his head and doubted it's veracity but it checks out on Wikipedia if you can trust that source.

To paraphrase the article, there is an island nation, Nauru, that hails as the smallest republic in the world. It is a Pacific Island that had the highest per capita income in the world during part of the 20th century. The wealth came from strip mining fertilizer from the tiny 8.1 square mile country. The fertilizer came from centuries of bat guano buildup. When they exhausted the fertilizer, they ran out of $$$$$. The population had decades of easy living without work. Now they were among the poorest nations on earth. It's always good to diversify, isn't it?
Nauru became resourceful. They became bankers and money launderers. They sold diplomatic recognition to other countries. Their previous wealth may have come from bats--t, but they showed themselves to be crazy like a fox in the new endeavors. In 2008 sold diplomatic recognition to Georgia and Ossetia and were paid $50,000,000. Why didn't we think of that? Millions more were paid the coffers by Taiwan to recognize them. China countered with $130,000,000. to switch sides and disavow Taiwan. Nauru changed sides once more with more $$$ from Taiwan but China dropped out of the game.
Nauru is currently looking for another source of funds. I hope we keep our head low and our Air Force One home. I hope they don't declare war on the US. We don't need to do any more nation building for a while. Maybe we could send them our surplus H1N1 flu shots. No one seems to want them now.

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