Sunday, 12 July 2009

Special Ambassador to Africa

I have been rather critical of Barack Obama. Not really a surprise, since I think he is the most over-rated politician since Tony Benn. Considering that I reckon Benn was wrong about everything he ever said on any political issue, with the possible exception of the Common Market, that is saying something.

Obama’s foreign policy has been especially poor. Not the greatest revelation to those of us who followed the US election; Palin having more relevant experience for foreign affairs was not just campaign rhetoric.

Obama failed to lend any support at all to protesters in Iran. He has come down on utterly the wrong side in the constitutional crisis in Honduras. In Russia he made an agreement that is arguably far more to the advantage of the Russians, who really can’t afford the nuclear weapons anyway, than it is to the USA. Of course the diplomatic faux pas he has made with the most steadfast ally the US has had for a hundred years need hardly be repeated. Even his own people seemed to think he had failed to “even fake an interest in foreign policy”.


However credit must go where it is due, lest accusations of an Obama equivalent to Bush derangement syndrome can be levelled. I was truly stunned, after the utter naivety Obama had previously shown in foreign affairs and with his left-wing viewpoint, to read about his speech in Ghana.

Africa needed to be told that it can no longer blame us. Africa has had far more from the West than South America or Southeast Asia ever received. Many parts of Africa started from a position of far greater potential than many of the nations in those areas that have come much further. Only when African leaders feel that they can no longer blame others, and rely on them for money and their own luxuries, will Africa start to recover, and eventually surpass the lifestyle under colonial rule.

As the story says, Obama’s white predecessors did not dare say some of these things. That is another consequence of the race industry that has harmed the race supposedly protected, in its historical home. That is frustrating, but is in the past. Obama can say these things, and it is to his great credit that he has.

I was quite surprised and impressed that Obama chose Ghana at all for his first port of call in Africa. Having a former colleague and friend who largely grew up there (although born in London) I have heard a little about Ghana. It is far more stable and far more democratic than most of Africa. It is far less poor than most parts of sub-Saharan Africa, largely due to the lack of corruption. Incidentally the Ghanaians seem to hate Nigerians, thinking them utterly corrupt, so try not to mistake the two unless you are trying to wind a Ghanaian up. So Obama not going to the economically far more important neighbour will make Ghana very happy.

Overall I think I have come up with a fantastic idea. Barack Obama should resign the Presidency and be appointed a Special Ambassador to Africa. He has an historic connection, quite close as his father was born there. He appears to understand what Africa needs, and with his family and his reputation he is able to say it where others felt they could not. Oh, and he has no clue how to run America, so should give that up as soon as he can.

[Update: slight amendment to links.]

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