The PJ Tatler

Should Obama Visit His Ancestral Homeland? Some Think Not

Like Politico, the most Obama-friendly outlet on the planet:

This week, Secretary of State John Kerry paid a welcome, quick and clandestine visit to troubled Somalia after a short, heavily protected stop in Kenya. But that doesn’t make President Obama’s plan to visit Kenya in July any less misconceived or dangerous. To uphold the dignity of his office, and for the good of Kenyans, President Obama should postpone until after he leaves the White House his very understandable desire to visit the homeland of his father.

Does President Obama really want to be forced, inevitably, to be the state guest of a country where the sitting president and vice-president, his hosts, have been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes connected with the violence and killings that followed Kenya’s 2007 election? The ICC has dropped its case against President Uhuru Kenyatta because its many original witnesses ended up refusing to testify after (presumably) being approached by persuasive representatives of Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto, whose ICC investigation continues. But does President Obama truly seek to shake their hands officially? How could he, and the United States, avoid being compromised diplomatically and our promotion of human rights globally sullied?

Ha ha ha ha ha! The man whose own literary agent peddled the story — no doubt at his own behest — that he was born in Kenya is going to worry about some little thing like African corruption at this point?

Kenya (as well as neighboring Tanzania and Uganda) is wildly corrupt. Accusations of graft and sleaze reach high into the upper echelons of the ruling parties in all three countries. Conferring the honor of President Obama’s office on such thoroughly questionable leaders would do little to strengthen our own role as a promoter of good governance and the rule of law. Would Kenyans and other Africans (not to mention Americans at home) not wonder at our policy inconsistencies?

A more plausible explanation is that Obama feels entirely at home in “wildly corrupt” places, where “accusations of graft and sleaze reach high into the upper echelons.” After all, he did start his political career in Chicago.