Apr. 1, 2014
by Farouk Martins Aresa
Africa fear remains the same: when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. President Obama handled Crimea better than his predecessors with economic sanctions against Russia. We just hope there will be no miscalculation when he is urged to arm Ukraine as they did in Libya and Syria. Many of the destabilizing factions that benefited were fanatics crossing borders and terrorizing Africans in neighboring countries such as malignant mercenaries arming Boko Haram.
Where are the protesters in Ukraine that almost plunged the world into another war? They have unfortunately left their Country more divided than when they started. Protesters that led destabilization of African countries into civil wars gained and achieved nothing, other than more hunger and anger? Most of them have turned into basket cases living on aids.
Once upon a time we thought the cold and civil war was over and resources would be devoted to solving poverty instead of terrorist wars around the world, especially in Africa with LEAKING resources. Here comes Ukraine, one of the former old Soviet Union staunchest allies seeking freedom to join NATO. Ukraine geography to Russia is more than distance, it is economic and strategic as Canada is to United States. It is like Cuban crisis if you replace Canada with Cuba.
As Africa ethnics, there are many relatives in the Eastern and other pockets of Ukraine that are pro-Russian. It may be too late to assure the Russians’ kin that Ukraine will not join NATO or EU; which was what the early protester demanded leading to the loss of Crimea. If it results into a civil war in Ukraine, Russia stands to gain from pieces of what is left like African amalgamation.
Africans have a great deal to learn from Obama in this Ukraine inter-ethnic crisis. Looking for “freedom”, some Ukrainians provoked a 1000 lbs gorilla and lost Crimea. In spite of assurances and sympathy they got worldwide, the protesters are wondering if they might have overplayed their hands a little. They forgot that Greece, Spain and Ireland in financial crisis are members of European Union too, and that all members of the Union are not economically equal.
Unlike Germans only divided by East and West, they are one ethnically. The sacrifice they made after reunion has long historical ethnic desire after the World War. Blood is thicker than water. Most of the new members of European Union provided surplus labor at the bottom no matter what their skills in their old countries. The shortage of jobs can only lead to resentment against new migrants taking jobs or driving down wages, the usual excuse for intolerance by their hosts.
No matter what sanction is inflicted on Russia, Crimea is more of a strategic importance relative to trade. So both sides may be acting past one another until reasonable heads see each side and realized which is more important. African war mongers must learn from Crimea protesters.
United States will not go to war over Crimea. All those Republicans itching for war by telling the President to arm Ukraine are playing to weary gallery. Ukraine is not Libya or Syria. There is so much sufferings in Libya and Syria, many of them are regretting the amount of anguish the civil wars have cost their population. Both were not beggar countries before their civil wars, which is what they are now. In Egypt, local solutions, to overthrow the “African” dictators may be better.
What worked in Egypt may not be Benin’s solution. There are always those waiting by the door letting the cloud clear before they launch into action in any civil war. Spontaneous overthrow of the status quo must be followed by highly organized thinkers. Unfortunately, in many cases hoodlums and opportunists take over the hard work, blood and sweat of the revolting masses.
Eyes are always on black leaders no matter where. When it comes to foreign affairs, Americans traditionally speak with one voice except for extreme radicals acting individually. Democrats or other parties open disapproval on foreign policy publicly is seen as unpatriotic and undermining the security of United States. These are the same Republicans calling the President of United States all kinds of names in the present crisis from Ukraine. They have nothing better to offer.
When Obama delayed drawing a red line in Iran, Republicans kept pushing him to. We saw how a foreign leader gave lecture at the United Nations on red line that must not be crossed by Iran. The action never came but reliance is always on the United States to use its power. Actually more chemicals were taken out of Syria through negotiations than by all previous U.S threats. An accomplishment none of the previous presidents achieved. Give this cool African his credit.
Bill Maher got it right: not even if Obama caught Bin Laden, gave him very stern warning and let him go! Contrary to convenient amnesia of Republicans, U.S is more respected worldwide today than when they invaded Iraq on pretext. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates under Baby Bush, Obama and respectable hawks asked Republicans to tone down rhetoric in international crisis. But at home, even if he gives Obamacare to all Americans, he will not be credited.
This is the African DNA we need as leader. As the first African American President, domestically, at no point have the Republicans hidden their disdain for Obama even at the expense of their Country. His party rightly faulted him for being too eager to compromise with Republican. They give nothing back. Russian Putin made Forbes Magazine most powerful man in the world and Fortune Magazine snubbed Obama out of the 50 greatest leaders. Which planet are they on?
Despite criticism, history will be kind to Obama and African managers must learn to keep focus on selfless goals not on war distraction. American people wanted Obama, not Romney because they are tired of both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been said many times that the greatest powers that ever ruled the world crumbled when they over extended their country’s resources into endless wars. Brains needed; not oil, gold and diamond natural attraction for war.