Trump vulgar comment shows 'dismissive' attitude toward Africa – Analysts
9 months ago, 16 Jan 15:18
New York US President Donald Trump's reported reference to Africa as a collection of “shithole” countries is consistent with his contemptuous treatment of the continent during his first year in office, US analysts suggest. Mr Trump's “dismissive” attitude became evident six months ago when he walked out of a gathering of world leaders just as they were beginning a discussion of partnership with Africa, notes Steve McDonald, a specialist in African affairs at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington. In a September address to African leaders gathered in New York, Mr Trump made mention of a country — “Nambia” — that does not exist. And that event marked the president's first significant public engagement with Africa since taking office on January 20, 2017. Mr Trump's recent vulgar comments, confirmed by some US lawmakers attending a White House meeting last Thursday, demonstrate that the president is a racist, Mr McDonald said. ANTI-BLACK BIGOTRY His anti-black bigotry was first highlighted in 1973, Mr McDonald recalled, when the US Justice Department sued Mr Trump and his father, the founder of the Trump New York real-estate empire, for systematically discriminating against African-Americans in housing leases. The Trump administration's disregard and disrespect could also be seen in its “poor response” to Kenya's elections-related political crisis, Mr McDonald added. “There could have been far more pressure on President Kenyatta to move expeditiously” toward resolving the political deadlock occasioned by the Supreme Court's nullification of the first presidential election in August, he suggested. The US “basically stood back and watched,” Mr McDonald said. KENYANS DISAPPOINTED Former US Ambassador to Kenya Mark Bellamy acknowledged that “many Kenyans were disappointed with the US and Western reaction to the flawed 2017 elections”. But there was no willingness on the part of the US and its allies to reprise their full-on political response to Kenya's breakdown following the 2007 elections, Mr Bellamy said. “Regrettably, this is a new international norm,” he commented. But the former ambassador, now a senior Africa advisor at a Washington think-tank, also observed that current ambassador, Robert Godec, and some of his diplomatic colleagues in Nairobi “worked effectively to ensure Kenya did not slide into large-scale violence”. Overall, the Trump administration's engagement with Africa in 2017 was “reactive and episodic,” Mr Bellamy said. NO US-AFRICA POLICY There is no coherent US policy toward Africa at present, he noted, in part because the administration “has not yet identified or put into office the personnel who would prepare and execute such a policy”. Several Washington-based Africa analysts pointed to a vacuum in Africa policymaking at the State Department that is expanding as senior officials retire or take jobs outside government out of dismay over Mr Trump's performance. Morale is said to have declined precipitously in response to budget cuts and White House indifference toward programmes focused on democracy and human rights in Africa. But US humanitarian aid and Africa-related health initiatives popular in Congress will likely continue, Mr Bellamy predicted. Similarly, he noted, “US military activities in Africa will ...
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