In ten days time, the winner in US elections between incumbent Donald J. Trump and Democrat rival former vice president, Joe Biden, or ‘’Sleepy Joe’’ as Trump derisively calls him would have been known. Unfortunately because the US has for a very long time acted the world bogeyman due to its military, economic and internationalist might, many Africans have concluded that they cannot influence the dynamics in US.
As a result, African leaders and intellectuals have pathetically remained aloof or just blindly cheer the sides in the contest believing that whoever wins will cater for Africa’s interests, and so Africa has never been central in US discourse. Africans need to know that they have tools at their disposal to influence what goes on in America including elections to choose the president and Congress in the same way America influences ours.
Such tools include coming together and speaking with one consistent, sustained and effective voice on elimination of unfair trade and economic practices against Africa. It can also stop the political and military interferences, interventions, and theft of natural resources. Africa can use the academia, activist groups and media to expose US hypocrisy on core issues such as international security, trade, investments, human rights, rule of law and democracy so that America is no longer seen with trepidation.
In this election Africans should see Trump as a strategic advantage if not for any reason than the unpretentious public stand he has ably demonstrated as president. Among these is his crass view that Africa is a shithole and the US has little to do for its predicaments. His scorn for Africa provides a very good opportunity for African leaders to have a serious and deep reflection on which direction Africa should take. Africa needs five cycles on a Trump.
Trump has mostly left Africa alone to run its affairs without the usual orders, directives, interruptions and direct interferences to either change policies or governments to serve US desires. Trump has left Africans to do mischief if they wanted but which hasn’t been the case, and Africa is today much better governed than ever before.
As with Africa, Trump has left much of the world including South and Latin America, Asia, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea to themselves. Contrary to widely held view among the US establishment that Trump is unstable, he hasn’t started any new wars of regional or global scale. Iran, North Korea and Venezuela that had been on their immediate radar for destruction are safe at least for now. And because of Trump, Syria is rising from the ashes. He has largely been fighting his domestic opponents (Washington swamp) who also happen to drive the internationalist narratives.
Thirdly, even with traditional EU and NATO allies, Trump made it clear to them early in his presidency that the US would not shoulder much of their security burden and global hunting escapades to destroy other countries as they were used to. For scaling down the war rhetoric and rebuking NATO, Trump deserves re-election.
Consequently, EU and NATO members that had been punching above their light weights became focused on own survival. By divesting himself of EU and NATO baggage, these groups coiled their tails choosing mostly to leave African to walk its own journey. For the last four years, the diminished UK is too preoccupied with Brexit to have any energy to meddle elsewhere.
Elected in 2016, under the banner to Make America Great Again (MAGA), Trump adopted a non-conventional political style both at home and in foreign policy confounding the US establishment. In part driven by ignorance and keeping US resources to itself, Trump has successfully resisted the un-necessary meddling in Africa to dictate policy directions as past US presidents did on the urging of their domestic audiences.
In these policies and unrestrained public utterances Trump has been clearer, predictable, and more beneficial to the world generally, and Africa in particular. Even his self initiated trade dispute with China has helped to expose US vulnerabilities.
By the bullying of domestic opponents through expulsion from government or threats of jail, and casting doubt on US political processes, Trump has leveled with Africa and therefore made America unable to claim a higher moral or democratic ground. Many are finding it difficult to take lessons from the US, and indeed the US will find difficulty lecturing other people of common decency and democratic values. There is now not much difference between Trump’s perception of himself and political power from an African megalomaniac.
Trump also adopted the use of social media especially twitter to announce or set international agenda and drive conversations in the direction of his choice contrary to long established cavalier diplomatic norms clothed in deception, secrecy and mischief. Africans now don’t need guessing the briefs US diplomats make about their countries because Trump’s twitter feed is readily available.
On immigration, Trump’s restrictive policies are helping even distressed Africans and other aliens to appreciate that they are the ones to remain and build their countries instead of the false belief in America as a silver platter.
The writer, is the Government Spokesperson and head of Uganda Media Centre