By Kevin L. Martin
People often say there are two sides to every story and in the world of geopolitical events Africa is no different. But one must first take a look at the Presidencies of William J. Clinton and George W. Bush to understand this.
Take the presidency of William J. Clinton: He remains wildly popular with African Americans, seems to be concerned about the suffering of people worldwide and never misses the chance to appear with African Leaders like Nelson Mandela.
Then there is the Presidency of George W. Bush: He is mistrusted by (liberal) African Americans, seems standoffish about the suffering of people worldwide and is shunned by African Leaders like Nelson Mandela for his failure to work with the United Nation on key issues.
Yes -- I have given you what would be the standard comparison of the two men that the so-called mainstream press has portrayed. Those (African) Americans who have foolishly bought into this shallow conception have no business calling themselves African-Americans -- when "sellout" is a better term.
The left wing media and press are not concerned at all for the human suffering and civil war in Liberia. Their main concern is for the nine Democrat Candidates who are seeking the White House in 2004. Liberia offers them the chance to create a wedge issue and to once again portray George W. Bush as a racist and his recent trip to Africa as some type grand photo-op devoid of any real substance. The left wing press has gone to all the old Democrat players in seeking venomous commentary from the (Democrat) black leadership - - in quoting Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Elijah Cummings the Congressional Black Caucus and newcomer Susan Rice.
You see when it comes down to Africa -- it is George W. Bush that has done more for Africa than all the so-called black leaders combined.
Remember the debates that lead up to the 2000 General Election and how black Democrats promised us that "if George W. Bush was elected that Africa would be nowhere on his agenda?" This statement was coming from a group of blackened hypocrites, who 6 years earlier stood by and watched the wholesale slaughter of 800,000 of their brethren.
To understand my last statement, I must take you back nearly 10 years to the African Nation of Rwanda. For many months and years tribal hatred had been simmering between the Tutsis and Hutus.
On April 6th 1994, the downing of a government aircraft carrying Rwandan President Habyarimana became the catalyst for the worst ethnic strife since World War II.
United State Ambassador to the United Nation Madeline Albright and State Department Officials such as Anthony Lake, Christine Shelly and Mike McCurry could not even bring themselves to the point of letting the term "ethnic cleansing" pass their lips because of pressure from Clinton Officials.
Mr. Clinton's semi-intelligent approach towards ethnic cleansing and the general suffering of Africans was not limited to Rwanda, but extended to the Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Liberia and Mauritania. African Americans in the United States have for too long failed to understand their historical connection to Africa.
I wonder if Bill Clinton would enjoy the same amount of support in our community if his foreign policy record towards Africa was fully exposed?
Beyond the photo-op diplomacy with selected leaders from African Nations like Ghana and African Americans who craved political power (i.e. Jesse Jackson's appointment as special envoy to Africa in 1997) there is nothing of genuine substance in former president's Clinton's foreign policy towards Africa.
Bill Clinton's policy towards Africa should be labeled "racist and selective" since it was basically rooted in the purpose of political gain.
Remember this is the same President who went to war on the pretext of ethnic cleansing to save fair-skinned Muslims in the Eastern European Nation of Bosnia and the Serbian province Kosovo. Note the timing: Coming right after the Clinton's loss of the Democratic majority Congress (Bosnia) and during his Impeachment (Kosovo).
Bull Connor and Senator Robert Byrd could not have written a more self-serving foreign policy.
Now fast forward nearly 10 years: To the present, with George Bush in the White House and black Democrats and leaders demanding that he deploy US Troops to end the warfare in Liberia - - and the lack of US Troops taking part in Liberian Peacekeeping Operations would be considered "racist" by this crowd.
Funny -- when did Liberia become an issue for the Congressional Black (Democrat) Caucus and self-styled leaders like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Susan Rice?
But Bush took action. Charles Taylor has finally departed Liberia after 14 years in power (first a warlord and then its president).
May this nation finally find a long sought and fought for peace in the wake of his departure. Charles Taylor would not be in exile today if it were not for the efforts of Bush Officials working with West African Leaders to bring about the deployment of African Peacekeepers.
Since taking office Bush has given Africa Nations a seat at the table of world leaders seeking to combating AIDS, global terrorism, slavery and the economic development, despite his poor showing among African Americans Voters in 2000.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has made meeting with and listening to the concerns of African Leaders a priority that even former President Jimmy Carter lashed out at him for doing so and Rwanda steadfast support of our actions in Iraq.
The records of these two presidents are, plain and simply, Bill Clinton may indeed enjoy the title of the "first African American (Black) President," but it should be George W. Bush that enjoys the title of the first President to bring Africa into the 21st century.
Kevin L. Martin is an Advisor and Member of Project 21. He has served as the former Government and Political Affairs Director to the African American Republicans Leadership Council. He has appeared as a political commentator on FOX News. View a photo of Mr. Martin.
Posted by Douglas Oliver on August 13, 2003 at 12:40 PM