- The Washington Times - Friday, July 11, 2003

The Guardian

Bush’s trip to Africa

LONDON — George Bush’s arrival in Africa this week is a historic one. His steps will be the first made by a sitting Republican president on African soil. For this act alone Mr. Bush deserves credit. Pitching up on Senegal’s Goree island, where Africans were held before being shipped as slaves to America, Mr. Bush cast himself as successor to President Clinton’s ambitious engagement with the continent. …

Mr. Bush’s optimistic view is of an Africa prepared to pull itself out of poverty. His refreshingly sunny assessments of Africa’s untapped potential are welcome. There is no doubt of the scale of the task presented by the globe’s second biggest continent. …

Mr. Bush’s answers have promised a lot but furnished little in the way of results. Not much has emerged from Mr. Bush’s Millennium Challenge Accounts, which would have seen developing countries compete against each other for $5 billion of new American aid, announced a year ago. The administration’s ambitious commitment to treating AIDS in Africa looks to be going the same way — with new cash not being made available quickly enough. …

Even worse has been the Republican administration’s constant siding with the pharmaceutical industry over the issue of cheap medicines for the developing world. … Mr. Bush has also not done enough to make America’s trade and aid policies fairer. … Too much U.S. cash is “tied” to the purchase of American goods and services. …

Svenska Dagbladet

Insisting on democracy

STOCKHOLM — The demands by U.S. President Bush for a certain level of democracy as a condition for economic aid should be copied by more countries.

The biggest contribution by the United States and the Western world would, however, be to open their domestic markets to African goods, instead of increasing aid. Bush has a chance to do that, but unfortunately these discussions will probably be overshadowed by the more acute crisis in Liberia.

Even from inside Liberia, there are appeals for a peacekeeping force from the United States. If an intervention is supported by the Liberian people, Bush should consider such a force. This would be an important effort for Africa’s cause.

The Star

Dealing with dictators

JOHANNESBURG — Charles Taylor, the leader of Liberia, should be arrested and brought before an international court to answer charges of war crimes committed against his people and his neighbors.

Since he seized power about a decade ago, Taylor has been a shining example of how not to run a country. … In fact, Liberia never experienced peace under his regime.

[Though] there is a case of genocide to be answered by Charles Taylor, the international community has opted to extend indemnity to Taylor in exchange for him stepping down as president. He will also be allowed to go into exile in Nigeria.

There may be an argument that this compromise encourages other aspirant dictators to continue to butcher their people, knowing that they will never be brought to justice. But the problem is that adopting such a hard-line stance against dictators such as Taylor is not always the best method to stop the fighting. …


Iraq situation worsens

OSLO — The situation in Iraq worsens from day to day for the American occupiers. Resistance is still limited, but is worrisome in its increase. It is urgent to reverse that trend. First, the Iraqis must be convinced that the United States does not plan long occupation, but is serious about popular rule, [serious about] return to Iraqi control and [serious about] its own withdrawal. …

Iraqis must quickly be brought into the running of their own country. Only then can the United States show its good intentions. …

A massive international effort is needed in Iraq. The United States asked for help, but the response has been low. … That should not surprise anyone who remembers how the United States defied all warnings and made all decisions itself.

The chances for getting needed help lie in the United Nations and in NATO. If that is to succeed, they have to be included in the process. …

Such a change would go against everything President Bush and his hawks stand for. But Bush also can’t afford to sink steadily deeper into an Iraq quagmire in the middle of the run-up to next year’s election. …

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