Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials Regarding Bush’s Trip to Africa
Several newspapers have recently published editorials discussing their views regarding President Bush's trip to Africa this week. The following is a summary of some of the editorials:
Austin American-Statesman: Bush on his tour of Africa will promote his fight against poverty and AIDS, issues that could threaten the stability of a region whose "geographic and political significance to the United States" was brought to the fore in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an American-Statesman editorial says. Due to government corruption, providing aid to Africa is "risky and should not be given without strict accountability," the editorial says. Therefore, Bush and Congress must ensure that funds are used for their intended purposes and that they "follow through with promises for $3 billion in AIDS funding for the next year," the editorial concludes (Austin American-Statesman, 7/8).
Chicago Tribune: "Africa has enormous resources and enormous problems, [and] [i]t cannot hope to thrive when so many [of its] nations are wracked by war, despotic rule and stunning HIV/AIDS rates," a Tribune editorial says. Africans are "rightly ... skeptical" of Bush's promises of help in light of the "little [Africa has] to show" for a similar trip by former President Bill Clinton five years ago, the Tribune says. Bush should be "proud" of his commitment to Africa in his global AIDS bill but should be "wary of going to Africa and offering empty gift boxes," as the administration and Congress "are already scaling down the president's commitments for 2004," the editorial concludes (Chicago Tribune, 7/8).
Kansas City Star: Bush's $15 billion AIDS initiative and $10 billion Millennium Challenge Account "can bring about positive change" for the continent, a Star editorial says. "[E]ven while Bush is in Africa, Congress may whittle down the funding for each of these worthwhile programs," the editorial says. Although Bush can offer "political and economic support for the people of Africa, [h]e also should be prepared to listen to the voices of a continent often ignored in America's foreign policy debates," the Star concludes (Kansas City Star, 7/8).
Los Angeles Times: Bush's trip to Africa "shows just how much the president's perspective has changed" since his campaign during which he stated that Africa "doesn't fit into the national strategic interests, as far as I can see them," a Los Angeles Times editorial states. "Critics of the administration -- and wary Africans -- would be wrong to cynically dismiss the president's [AIDS initiative] as a ploy to win Africa's support for the war against terror," according to the Times. While the interest in showing the international community the nation's compassionate side is clearly present, "increasing aid to Africa is also a moral imperative," the editorial says. The campaign has both "strategic and humanitarian importance" and therefore deserves more funding than the $450 million Congress has allocated so far, the editorial concludes (Los Angeles Times, 7/8).
- San Francisco Chronicle: While Bush is "taking on a major challenge" in his visit to Africa this week, his AIDS initiative will be closely watched, as Congress may cut funding and "existing AIDS programs may be sidestepped by U.S. plans," a Chronicle editorial says. "[T]rouble spots to watch" include plans to use more costly patented antiretroviral drugs instead of generics, siphon off treatment funds to use for research and use sexual abstinence programs to replace family planning programs, according to the editorial. While these possibilities may be a concern, "they are no reason to oppose the president's intentions or his trip," the editorial concludes (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/8).