Africa Should Remain a Priority During Bush Administration, Op-Ed Says
"If and when the United States shrinks in its responsibility and neglects [Africa], it will be committing a grave mistake -- not only against the interest of the African people, but against its own long-range interests," Seyoum Tesfaye, vice president of a transportation company, writes in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed. Tesfaye, a naturalized citizen from Africa, said, "I echo the lingering fear that under a new administration, Africa will be relegated to a footnote, a victim of selective isolationism." Tesfaye praises the work done under the Clinton administration, saying its "eight years of sustained engagement with Africa have set a good foundation for the Republican administration to build on." But Tesfaye warns that "[d]isengagement at this juncture will send the wrong signal to the people of Africa." Tesfaye fears that President Bush's campaign theme of "compassionate conservatism" will prove "more conservative than compassionate when it comes to Africa." The op-ed concludes, "As the sole superpower, the United States, through action and inaction, can make a profound difference in the lives of billions of people in the world without vacillating between suffocating paternalism and total abandonment" (Tesfaye, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/1).