Last week President Obama made an official visit to Kenya & Ethiopia. The visit was the first by a sitting US president to Ethiopia. For the obvious reasons, Kenyans were much
more exited about his visit. Even here, thelarge American community also made his staymore welcoming. His speech at the AU was frequently cheered, mostly by those who hail from the United States of America. Amongst the returning diaspora, the Ethio-Americans are quite the standouts, in more ways than one. Their number is also growing dotting the urban landscape throughout the country.
During his stay in Ethiopia, President Obama endorsed the country’s political governance as democracy in the making and other human right issues as work in progress. It seems the US has laxed its position in favor of the status quo, noticeably disconcerting opposition groups, including the ones based abroad, mostly in the US itself. See the articles on page 30. Be that as it may, we have decided to pose few questions to the President of the USA, of course post-visitum! Here is the first question on US African policy. Mr. President, AFRICOM has become the driving force and mainstay of US African policy, despite interspersed economic initiatives, like the GES (Global Entrepreneurship Summit), AGOA, etc. By and large, various western economic initiatives have not brought meaningful transformation to the countries and peoples of Africa. This contrasts with the thorough going developmental projects that anchor Chinese policy towards our continent. Mr. President, what is your message to ordinary Africans puzzled and resigned to this obvious policy distinction? See Mwenda’s article next column.
Question no 2) Mr. President, polarized existence is the norm in various societies of Africa. Misguided policies propagated by the thoroughly corrupt polity and its methodical criminal accumulation continues to destabilize lives, (social or otherwise) on the continent. Moreover, as the traditional mode of global accumulation shows signs of exhaustion, the situation is threatening to exasperate our predicament. The sought after economic nirvana might fall short of expectation. Looking at current scenarios in Southern and Eastern Europe, one cannot help but ask; What chance has Africa got in the prevailing system when core countries find themselves in troubling dilemmas? The Boka Haram, and the Al- Shabab of this world get impetus from this unsustainable and lopsided economic & social arrangement that currently obtains globally. Mr. President, what can the US, as a leader of the prevailing world orderor hegemon do to ameliorate the current destabilizing polarization? See Durden’s article on page 31.
Question no 3). Mr. President, even though instabilities are not new to our continent, we are currently witnessing increased violence in countries where non-renewable resources are of the essence; Libya, Mali, Niger (uranium), South Sudan, etc. are only recent addition to the genre of resource war. The prevailing template of a militarized solution by the powerful seems to worsen the situation even further. In this regard, we can mention the case of Libya, to say nothing about South Sudan. Mr. President, what can the US do to help such countries emerge from the current quagmire they were systemically ledor seemingly pushed into? See Baroud’s article on page 31.
Question no 4) Mr. President, the most daunting challenge humanity faces today is not global economic depressionnor even lasting peace between nations. It is the ferocity of biosphere collapse, including climate change. This change has started to robustly undermine human and other life forms on the planet. In this regard the contribution of the modern world system (human caused) is astounding! At the same time, there has been a clear absence of leadership amongst the politicos and the states they oversee, to say nothing about the market’s intransigence. Failure to immediately implement a meaningfully effective far-reaching policy across the globe will only assure disaster and not only in the long run. Mr. President, given the gravity of the matter; if global political leaders fail to deliver in Paris, (again and as usual) what measures do you think collective humanity should take to fight climate change and secure the future for posterity? Can you, as a person and as a father, not necessarily as a political leader overseeing the global order, be inclined to favor global civil disobedience (peaceful) organized to stop the destructive operations of the existing world order?
As soon as we receive President Obama’s reply we will promptly print it. Until then, sit tight and enjoy the chaos that global life has become. As the young radical philosopher wrote from his prison cell, in the gloomy days of Fascist Italy: “The old is dying, the new struggles to be born, and in the interregnum there are many morbid symptoms.” Antonio Gramsci.