Oct. 23 (GIN) -With election fever moving into high gear, a final “foreign policy” debate between the Republican and Democratic candidates brought out their policy prescriptions for Asia, Iran, Russia and the Middle East. Sub-Saharan Africa, inexplicably, was bumped from the guest list.
Despite Pres. Obama’s wide popularity in Africa, almost nothing was said about the evolving relationship between the two giant powers – U.S. and the countries of the sub-Sahara – including trade agreements, corporate investments, security issues, and expanding military cooperation.
Mali was mentioned for a hot second by Republican hopeful Mitt Romney where this year soldiers trained in the U.S. pulled off a coup and ousted the President. This opened the way for a takeover by the indigenous Tuareg people in the North who were soon sidelined by a fundamentalist group that desecrated ancient tombs and installed “sharia” justice.
Also off the radar screen was a low intensity war against the Al-Shabaab Islamist group that has taken a toll on our allies Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia and sends refugees to our shores. U.S. advisors, private security firms, and substantial U.S. aid pour into the region, with debatable success.
Finally, neither the environmental crisis producing deadly drought, the uprisings by a restive labor force, no longer content to be paid a substandard wage, nor the unsustainable gap between the rich and the poor made it to the evening’s agenda.
Meanwhile, a Nigerian blogger on Lagosbooksclub wrote: “many Nigerians like me sort of liked the phrase NIGERIA FOR OBAMA,” but he confessed to being less impressed today. “Yes we have always liked democratic presidential candidates more …but for what reason?… On the other hand we also know that the republican candidate would have probably described 97% of Nigerians as victimized tax dodgers too.”
The blogger’s one hope? A Clinton run for 2016!