Roger L. Simon

Africa - Keep the Sequels for Hollywood

Nick Kristof’s column in the NYT begins with a surprise (to some):

Those who care about Africa tend to think that the appropriate attitude toward President Bush is a medley of fury and contempt.

But the fact is that Mr. Bush has done much more for Africa than Bill Clinton ever did, increasing the money actually spent for aid there by two-thirds so far, and setting in motion an eventual tripling of aid for Africa. Mr. Bush’s crowning achievement was ending one war in Sudan, between north and south. And while Mr. Bush has done shamefully little to stop Sudan’s other conflict – the genocide in Darfur – that’s more than Mr. Clinton’s response to genocide in Rwanda (which was to issue a magnificent apology afterward).

The columnist then goes on to detail differences (which he admits to being over-generalized) between liberal and conservative approaches to remedying the horrible African situation. My opinion is simplistic. Anything good is good. Well up to a point, because unsupervised giving has almost always resulted in increased revenue for dictators and thugs and less than nothing for those who need it. What we don’t want in Africa is Oil-for-Food Two. That’s why the image of Chirac and Schroeder trying to cure poverty at the G8 is something of an eye-roller.

And speaking of OFF, forget Clinton and Bush, Mr. Kristof. The one you should have bashed on Darfur and Rwanda was not the American president, but the UN Secretary General. You would think an African himself would have moved heaven and earth to prevent genocide on his own continent. Oh, never mind.