PAMBAZUKA NEWS 181: 04 NOVEMBER 2004
A Weekly Electronic Forum For Social Justice In Africa
EDITORIAL COMMENT: George W. Bush’s re-election to the White House is bad for the world and bad for Africa. It’s not that the election of Democratic senator John Kerry would have resulted in a groundswell of change. But Bush took his country into a war that, as revealed by research conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and published this week in the Lancet, has resulted in the death of 100 000 Iraqi civilians – half of them women and children. Had the US electorate voted for Kerry, at least they would have sent a message to their leadership that bloodletting would not be tolerated in their name. Yes, Kerry might not have withdrawn from Iraq, but at least he would have been forced to think about the wisdom of an illegitimate foreign invasion if he knew that his second term in office was threatened.
As it is, Bush has a mandate from the US electorate to pursue a right wing agenda and the iron heel will now attempt to further stamp its authority on the world. For Africa, expect this agenda and the death of multilaterism to mean the securing of lucrative oil contracts even if it translates into supporting corrupt regimes, support for countries who back the ‘war on terrorism’ even while suppressing human rights domestically, the undermining of reproductive rights to the detriment of women’s rights and a fight against HIV/AIDS that has the best interests of the pharmaceutical industry at heart. Now that military intervention for ‘regime change’ has been legitimised as a political strategy with the collusion of Tony Blair (the chair of the ‘Commission on Africa’), Africa will not be immune to the use of that strategy, only this time to the applaud of the majority of US citizens.