As Secretary of State, Powell Could Help Drive Deeper U.S. Ties with Africa
If confirmed as secretary of state, Colin Powell may become the "driving force" behind the Bush administration's policies and attitudes toward AIDS in Africa, the Baltimore Sun reports. During a State Department briefing on Africa earlier this month, Powell "assured foreign policymakers that Africa would be part of the [Bush] administration's agenda." Powell paid special attention to the continent's HIV/AIDS epidemic, as more than 25 million Africans have become infected with the virus. While Powell has expressed interest in addressing AIDS in Africa, President-elect Bush has shown less enthusiasm. Early in his campaign, Bush stated, "While Africa may be important, it doesn't fit into the national strategic interests, as far as I can see them." While discussion of Africa was "glaringly" absent from Bush's foreign policy talks on the campaign trail, some analysts predict that the Bush administration will establish "businesslike" relations between the United States and African nations. In addition, Bush's "poor showing among black voters may encourage him to become more involved in issues of interest to them, including Africa," the Sun reports. As president, Clinton reclassified HIV/AIDS as a security issue, but some analysts "wonder" to what extent his administration "truly helped Africa." Simon Barber, a columnist with the South African newspaper Business Day, said of Africa's "grim" future, "It's hard to imagine how the Bush team could do worse" (Murphy, Baltimore Sun, 1/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.