1.President Barack Obama's visit - What's in for Africa?
2.Obama cracks the code to reach Islam
3.Excerpts from the press on Barack Obama's speech at Cairo University
4.Obama’s Egypt Tour: Its Historical Significance
Referred to many as the new John F. Kennedy, Barrack Obama inspires hope and change not only in the United States but also across the world. A Change the world desperately needs. Given the myriad problems the world is experiencing thanks to unpopular US foreign policies.
His nomination is not only historical (being the first African-American) but also of crucial importance for democracy. He was able to cross the racial divide, and mobilize millions of younger voters yearning for change from old US policies that have lost touch with reality. Once again, the world is in a position to see the US in different light, and Obama should be particularly proud for playing a key role.
Mr. Obama’s ascent is not only because of his youth and background but also because he promises a radical departure from policies of the Bush administration. The United States of America is currently among the worst poorly rated countries, akin to Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and the failed State of Somalia - the only difference being its global economic influence and superpower status which is quickly eroding thanks to the emergence of alternative superpowers like the combined Asian Tigers and the larger European Union.
Africa, a continent once dismissed by Mr. Bush as “not fitting into the U.S national strategic interests”, has not gained much under the Bush administration. His last 5 day tour of the continent was just that, a tour through a region that doesn’t mean much to America. This was made clear in an interview with Bob Geldof aboard Air Force One en route to Ghana, back in February when President Bush said that he believed America was in an ideological struggle with extremism, people who prey on the hopeless - a situation which breeds terrorism. "That's why this trip is a mission undertaken with the deepest sense of humanity, because those other folks will just use vulnerable people (Africa) for evil. Like in Iraq." Bush spoke of his mission to Africa.
Granted, some of Mr. Bush’s international policies especially those concerning Africa are appreciated despite their lopsided nature. For instance the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) largely touted as the best tool to nip the trade imbalance between the US and Africa. The dismantling of the Multi Fibre Agreement's world quota regime for textile and apparel trade in January 2005 reversed gains made due to increased competition from China and other developing countries outside Africa.
AGOA’s failure can be partly attributed to little African involvement in its preparation and the lack of understanding of why it was set up in the first place. Its design is meant to reward countries that do not engage in activities that undermine United States national security or its foreign policy interests and not international trade per se. If for example, America determines that an eligible sub-Saharan African country is not making continual progress in protecting American foreign policy, it will be stripped off its eligibility tag.
The US policies towards the Middle East a key player in OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) have pushed global oil prices to dangerously destructive levels forcing the non oil producing countries especially in Africa to bear the brunt. This among other forces has slowed down global economy. There is surge in the price of basic commodities such food which has led to worldwide protest and increased suffering among the world’s poor. It’s a long chain of destruction whose source is America. It has lost global respect and trust under the Bush administration and needs radical surgery which can only be done by fresh untainted hands. Whoever succeeds President Bush should not loose his bearing given the clear road map ahead.
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