As President Obama makes his way to Africa with some forceful policy goals Reuters is asking if Obama is Africa’s savior. Umm, no. That would be George W. Bush. But given the five second attention spans that occupy the skulls of the Obama Media it is perhaps a good idea to examine some facts about the United States’ relationship with Africa in the 21st century.
There’s an old saying in political campaigns that those who give early make the real difference. The meaning is obvious: a politician’s real friends are the ones who show up first and give when outcomes and returns are not so certain. The same can be said for presidential legacies. Presidential history is replete with legacy building executives who, as their final days in office wound down, turned their attention to causes that didn’t previously yield the the immediate political dividends that the front page paid.
It takes an uncommon combination of political courage and foresight for a President to tackle early in his first term a foreign policy matter that doesn’t speak directly to the national security interests of the American people. Therein lies the significance, often buried among the noise of the Bush administration’s ubiquitous critics during the past eight years, of George Bush’s considerable efforts to aid Africa. And most notable were those offering the praise.
The Huffington Post claimed that George W. Bush’s enduring legacy may be Africa. Bob Geldof (the guy who told Barack Obama he was going to make him President long before anyone had heard of him) said this of Bush:
“There are no votes in helping the poor of Africa, but Bush did it anyway.”
…singing the praises of the American president for his announcement today that he would propose spending an additional $30 billion over five years to fight AIDS in Africa, doubling the U.S. commitment.