4 June 2017

Africa: Around Our Tumultuous World in a Week and a Thousand Words

Photo: U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
U.S. President Trump speaking with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly (file photo).

With a president of The Donald ' s stature and standing in the world, the US of A has no shortage of exciting news. This time Trump has taken on the rest of the world by withdrawing from a deal that took flesh and blood to negotiate.

President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement. At is the use of getting out of a voluntary deal anyway? He declared he was not president of Paris but Pittsburgh. You don't say. At the rate he is going, he will become the president of withdrawals.

He withdrew from NAFTA and TPP. I wonder why he has not withdrawn from the NATO he called obsolete. And now the Paris agreement? What did the pope tell him? Anyway, reaction for this agreement interrupts has been swift and expected from Democrats and fellow Republican law makers.

Even CEOs of several top American companies such as General Electric, Tesla, Disney and Goldman Sachs have come out publicly to voice their disagreement. Which in itself is unusual. For many, climate change is real and the participation of USA in protecting the environment essential.

America is a major polluter. If there was a figment of doubt in the minds of world leaders on the reliability of America as a leader on the world stage under its new management team, the withdrawal from the Paris accord would have supplied the last nail in the proverbial coffin.

It is clear, under president Trump, the USA has ceased to be a team player. The nation has gone rogue. The best quip for this latest solo act was supplied by the newly anointed president of France.

To paraphrase Macron, the world will make the environment great again (without the USA). Theresa May warned Trump against withdrawing from the climate agreement, but does he listen? I wish she can tell him, 'Don, you are fired from the special trans-Atlantic relationship with Britain.' Britain is a few days from holding another general election. I wonder how the country pays for its frequent national polls.

The prime minister triggered an early general election, ostensibly to cement the power of the Torry government. However, this election may well become a referendum on the leadership of the incumbent prime minister.

The previous referendum on Britain's presence in the union of Europeans ended up costing her predecessor his job. Any lessons learned? The former prime minister of Italy learned the hard way, that a referendum can become a doubleedged sword that punctures the remaining liferaft of a sinking political ship. May madam Theresa fare better than Matteo Renzi. But in politics anything is possible these days. Voters have become very fickle.

With or without lessons learned, Britain is going through some tough times. Brexit or no, Britons need the rest of Europe to fight terrorism. And things have not been good of late, what with the Manchester bombing while an American superstar was on stage doing a concert.

Has the Brexit decision brought back funds to pay for better health care in the national health facilities? Life goes on in Britain. Which way Scotland and Ireland? Will they play ball? The world continues to witness mayhem in Afghanistan. This week, another suicide bombing in Kabul.

This time inside the heavily protected diplomatic zone, injuring some 400 people, destroying 50 vehicles and leaving a huge crater at the site. That is like 15 of our daladalas, full of passengers.

How and where does one begin to medically treat so many people? When I lived in Kabul it was not this bad. Recently I watched an Aljazeera TV documentary in which Afghan rebel commanders in Eastern Afghanistan claimed their support comes from Syria and their target is Putin, Assad and Trump.

Meanwhile, Putin was being interviewed by Megan Kelly, the TV anchor who had a rather colourful altercation with candidate Trump. The President was super cool, answering questions easily without showing any irritation, a contrast with his American counterpart.

One thing Putin said that I found very fascinating. He was asked about the Russian ambassador in USA meeting with top aides of DJT. He wondered what the fuss in Washington was about? Isn't the role of ambassadors to work and meet with officials in respective countries?

This is why they are there, not to sit around doing nothing. That got me thinking. Why have some Americans been making a huge deal out of American officials meeting with the Russian ambassador in 2016?

He is supposed to meet regularly with officials of USA where he is assigned to serve a tour of duty. How does an ambassador promote the interests of his country if he just sits in his office day in, day out and only attends cocktail parties?

An ambassador must work hard to promote bilateral trade and investment. Don't American ambassadors meet with government officials in countries where they serve? They must lobby for trade deals, favourable investment terms for their companies and individuals. Unless Russians are forbidden from doing this in America. In which case Russia would firmly reciprocate. Ambassadors do lobby presidents and ministers.

It is their job. It is up to the one being lobbied to decide how to respond for the good of the motherland. In the Philippines, a lone gunman caused untold grief in the capital Manila when he opened fire in a casino and then set fire to gambling tables. Up to 35 bodies have been recovered at the resort.

The attacker then set himself on fire. Was he a robber or terrorist? What is going on in South America? Protests against the government have been going on there since the time of president Dilma Rousseff in 2016. After her impeachment you would think things would quieten down.

Wapi! It is June 2017 and the same or different protesters have occupied buildings to pressure current president Michel Temer to resign. How many people have been injured or killed? And how much property has been damaged or destroyed in a year of civil strife?

Who is benefiting? In Venezuela, protests and riots against the government of Nicolas Maduro continue unabated despite dozens of people being killed.

Street battles between police and protesters have continued daily since April. Will there be any winners? I beg to leave Libya, Syria, Yemen and Turkey out of this firing line. What is coming to this world of ours? This world needs a miracle. Quickly.


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