To my colleagues and friends in Africa:
We’re very, very sorry.
Trump’s denigrating, vulgar remarks yesterday do not reflect the vast majority of us Americans. We apologize for them and we’re horribly, unthinkably ashamed. Unfortunately a small very radical minority currently controls America. So, unfortunately, at this moment in time those remarks do represent “America” and it makes most of us Americans sick to the stomach. Ashamed isn’t a strong enough word.
Most Americans feel as aggrieved as you must.
Diplomacy with North Korea, now Pakistan and other Middle East actors has arguably always been more important for the U.S. than diplomacy with Africa. My better knowledge is with the diplomacy of Africa, and what I saw happening over the course of 2017 remains terrifying.
There’s no reason to suppose it’s much different in other parts of the world. The #1 story in Africa for 2017 is the wreck of U.S. diplomacy in Africa.
The Mideast has not exploded because of Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, but the effect on the U.S. is substantial and getting worse.
In response to our UN Ambassador’s childish threat that she’ll be “taking names” when the UN General Assembly votes on the resolution she vetoed last week, many African countries responded quickly but much more maturely. Their actions reflect not just how much of the world discounts the U.S., but how they now see us as the evil power in the world.
Anything happen this year?
Sorry. Perhaps a poor attempt for just a bit of relief. End-of-the-year analyses are coming out. I sit in a little world of Africa news and things, but I expect all the little worlds feel the same thing I do: the universe is tanking. Now if you’re sitting at a big desk on Wall Street you see it otherwise, because the rich world is doing just fine. But time’s have changed. The world is starting to move as one, and how Africa or Taipei or the Ukraine or Latvia goes, so eventually does the whole world, even eventually the rich.
Here’s the thing: we should all be upset with USFW’s reversing a ban on importing elephant tusks, but it’s not quite the story you think. As described below I could see a Hillary administration doing the same thing.
What Ryan Zinke did (please let’s stop pinning everything on the moron Donald Trump who doesn’t even know the difference between African and Indian elephants) will definitely set back wildlife conservation in Africa, but in the panoply of so many other anti-conservation actions in the last few years, it’s minor. It’s the panoply which is major, which makes every minor move that much worse.
You need to focus on the facts. Stick with me.
The new Trump Travel ban is not as sweeping or as legally flawed as his previous, but it does nothing to increase security. Yet it has two major impacts impulsive Trump acting on his own was unable to accomplish:
Stops many refugees from entering America. Throws red meat to a deplorable base of supporters.
More and more fireworks followed the sunsets around the world until the Trump administration corrected the misspelling or conflation or whatever, and Nambia ceased to exist in the official record. It was the briefest country ever to exist on earth.
It’s not uncommon for Americans to conflate multiple African countries. It is quite uncommon that conflation makes it onto a prepared document. It’s unheard of these are then actually delivered by a Head of State.
Does it matter?
The presidents of Tanzania and the United States are blood brothers in their defiance of law. I don’t think Tanzania and the U.S. are organically connected politically, but clearly both are being effected by social waves of discontent in the same way.
In both Tanzania and the U.S., two so different societies half-way round the world from one another, both leaders came to power democratically with support from people who now think it’s fine to undermine democracy.
There are 65 world treaties governing such things as conduct in war, rights of the child and trade of endangered species (CITES). The first was in 1865 (governing the breakthrough telegraph) and the latest in 2006 (governing the rights of the disabled).
Getting the whole wide world to agree on something isn’t easy. It represents man’s greatest achievement: These treaties define mankind. Friday, one man in South Africa will defy one of these treaties with the blessings of a misguided South African court.
If you can’t believe the Dalai Lama, who can you believe?
This past weekend the “chosen leader” of Tibet canceled a very important visit to Botswana, a country that is increasingly trying to become relevant on the world stage relative to its increasing wealth from diamonds and rare earths. He lied about why he canceled.
Last night Trump took a “fun trip” to a “ a dystopian land of terror… a city so, so, so out of control, so dangerous.” “France is no longer France,” Trump recently pronounced.
It’s hard to believe that someone who confuses WWI with WWII and can’t even name the advisories of either one is joining the centennial celebrations of WWI. What’s behind this meeting?
The neo-cons controlling Trump. Africa is the reason for this meeting. Let me explain.
A Kenyan diplomat told Foreign Policy this week that Trump’s budget “will leave a big hole in terms of the aid people are getting.” The magazine summed it up in their headline, “Trump’s America First Puts Africa Last.”
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said Trump’s skinny budget is “dead on arrival.” But each day this week we’re learning more of the details of that skinny budget, and each detail is more devastating than the last.
Courts may have socked him, Congress may have dumped him, but the Trump administration is hardly down and out. This week it signaled its intention to blow up the fragile peace in one of the most beautiful and precious areas of the world, the eastern Congo.
Friday, the UN’s peacekeeping mandate in The Congo expires, and the Trump administration has signaled it has no intention of continuing it at is.
If there’s anything at all good in Trump’s “skinny” budget it’s that Americans might start paying attention to the sweeping power of their government. The draconian cuts will indeed effect each and every American but the budget will also lay waste much of the rest of the world.
That’s quite uncomfortable to most Americans who either don’t know or don’t care how they effect the rest of the world. A Kenyan analysis shows how the Trump budget will devastate the continent, exponentially increase suffering and death and likely lead to war. Kenyan analysis shows that the Trump budget will lay waste the continent, exponentially increase suffering and death and likely lead to war.
When the cats away the mice will play. In this case the mice are multiple emerging nations like Myanmar, or Zimbabwe and Cameroon in Africa, countries with a record of citizen abuse but which have no strategic interest to world powers. The cat is the west, Britain and the U.S. mostly.
Since Brexit followed by Trump, these abusive countries have become more so. They’re being left “to their own devices,” devil-be-damned. Cameroon is the best example.