Monday, June 20, 2005 at 12:48 PM

President Bush has actually done more for Africa than any other American President – including Clinton!

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Ever since President Bush launched his Millennium Challenge Account for African development (March 2002) and his $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS relief (January 2003), I’ve been arguing – to the consternation and apparent dismay of almost all who bothered to listen – that Bush has done more (and offers the best solutions) to help Africans than any other world leader in modern history. Yet, one would be hard-pressed to find any politician in America (who is not a Republican), Europe or Africa who has publicly acknowledged this revolutionary and salutary fact.

Well, since rock stars and actors have become the more credible statesmen of our time, perhaps their endorsement of my argument will inspire Bush’s die-hard critics to suspend their pathological hatred of him and show due regard for his leadership on aid to Africa.

Rock star and acclaimed humanitarian Sir Bob Geldof: President Bush is a bloody hero to Africa – no matter what ungrateful Africans, jealous Europeans or stupid Americans say!

In this respect, Live 8 organizer Sir Bob Geldof – perhaps the most recognized, informed and passionate campaigner for African relief and sustainable development – has been most adamant and complimentary of Bush’s efforts.

And, in an interview to be published in the 27 June 2005 issue of TIME magazine, Geldof echoes my frustrating attempts to disabuse critics of their ignorance and political biases concerning Bush’s support for Africa with the following remarks:

America doesn’t have a lack of empathy; they just don’t know the issues as well. Actually, today I had to defend the Bush Administration in France again. They refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American President for Africa. But it’s empirically so.

But this is not Geldof’s first public declaration of support for or defense of Bush’s policies on Africa. In fact, more than two years ago he joined a small chorus of AIDS activists who were beginning to comment on the stark differences in the amount of funds allocated by liberal President Clinton and Bush to fight AIDS. The lead vocalist in this regard was Melvin Foote, executive director of the nonpartisan constituency for Africa, who observed that “[Bush’s] $15 billion commitment is unparalleled….Clinton offered $300 million, parking-meter money, even though he knew it was a tremendous challenge.” And, in this context, Geldof harmonized his views as follows:

Clinton talked the talk and did diddly squat, whereas Bush doesn’t talk but does deliver….You’ll think I’m off my trolley when I say this, but the Bush administration is the most radical, in a positive sense, in the approach to Africa since Kennedy.

The President and the rock star Bono – The odd couple amongst famous missionaries for the African cause

Rock star Bono, perhaps the most visible member of this chorus, has been diplomatic though no less adamant in his acknowledgement of Bush’s leadership:

I believe the president is sincere in his convictions to put America up front in a way that hasn’t been done before on these issues….If the Millennium Challenge Account and the AIDS initiative go through, we have to be prepared to really stand up and applaud this president’s leadership because it is potentially life changing and life saving for millions of people.

But not to be drowned out by rock stars, actor and AIDS activist Richard Gere became an apostate within the ranks of Clinton’s Hollywood worshippers in 2003 when he stunned the audience at an AIDS benefit – at which Senator Hillary Clinton was guest of honor – by delivering this daring and now notorious line:

Senator Clinton, I’m sorry, your husband did nothing for AIDS for eight years.

Impolite, but relatively true!

Now, I can’t imagine anyone will ever accuse Geldof, Bono or Gere of being right-wing nuts or converts to Bush’s Forest Gump crusade to transform the world according to his notions of democracy. Therefore, where my assertions on this point have been summarily dismissed, perhaps their praise of Bush will help his detractors appreciate the importance of being earnest when it comes to recognizing those who are truly helping the poor.

After all, oppressed and starving Africans couldn’t care any less how anyone feels about Bush’s war in Iraq or his apparent lack of concern about global warming. Moreover, the only thing that should matter to anyone concerned about their plight is that Bush is providing the most aid whilst insisting that African rulers treat their people humanely and stop hording national resources for their personal use.

Finally, it is understandable that the imperious French would be averse to the utterance of anything positive about Bush’s leadership – especially on matters involving the African continent where they retain delusions of colonial noblesse oblige. But it is incomprehensible that so many African leaders and their political enablers in America (from carping liberal politicians to conscientious academics like Jeffery Sachs) seem as impervious as the French are to Bush’s unprecedented generosity (and compassion).

But perhaps Geldof’s endorsement will help them see that their visceral political prejudices are blinding them to (and making them resentful of) the moral and political authority Bush has earned when it comes to global strategies to cure Africa’s ills and make poverty history. And, this recognition is especially critical when one considers the improbability of European leaders following through on their grand G8 Plan for Africa (a $55 billion package) when they can’t even agree on a budget to fund the operations of the EU.

Therefore, even though liberals clearly begrudge the fact that Bush is not only Africa’s most generous patron but also its most reliable supporter, it behooves them to put up or shut up and just give the man his due!

Comments

  1. Anonymous June 20, 2005 at 1:38 pm

    i could not agree more. i’ve been saying the same thing myself only i did not have the facts to support it when i was challenged. people just cant believe this is true. thanks ipinions

  2. Anonymous June 20, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks for the Eye Opener. In a country where being partisan is like baseball and apple pie, it takes some effort and desire to step out of the dark.

    Rage in NJ

  3. Anonymous June 20, 2005 at 7:14 pm

    Are you kidding me. Bush can barely complete a full sentence. He’s an anti-gay, anti-black and anti-woman Texas cowboy who is only pretending to help Africans as a political ploy to take attention away from Iraq. He don’t hold a candle to President Clinton.

  4. Anonymous June 24, 2005 at 10:21 am

    Another feel good charity for the television generation.

    For a more informed comment see:

    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/06/21/bards-of-the-powerful-/

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