By Raynard Jackson
Two years ago, President Obama instituted a policy towards Africa that most Americans are totally unaware of. The policy sent shock waves throughout the continent of Africa that are still reverberating to this day.
This policy was a direct affront to African sovereignty and very few voices in America stood up for African countries and their sovereignty. Yet, America doesn’t have the guts to replicate this policy in any other part of the world except Africa.
I have been travelling back and forth to Africa for decades and have learned that the only way to understand foreign policy is by travelling. Yes, I have a B.S. in accounting from Oral Roberts University and a M.A. in International Business from George Mason University, but my understanding of foreign policy came only with travel.
One must understand that foreign policy often times is not logical or even consistent. There can be two countries with similar issues, but we have different policies towards them based on our own national interests. Our policy towards Africa vis-a-vis the Middle East is a case in point.
On December 6, 2011, Obama had Hillary Clinton give a pro-homosexual rights speech. The speech took place in Geneva at the United Nation’s Human Rights Day conference. In that speech, Clinton said “gay rights are human rights.” Clinton basically codified homosexual rights as an official part of our foreign policy. Obama is the first president in U.S. history to make such a linkage.
In another unprecedented move, the Obama administration went on to direct U.S. government agencies to consider gay rights when making aid and asylum decisions. In October of 2011, USAID – the U.S. government agency providing economic and humanitarian assistance around the world – announced that it “strongly encourages” businesses contracted with USAID to go beyond non-discrimination protections, to prohibit job bias for LGBT employees and other workers.
Then British Prime Minister, David Cameron was even more direct, stating that the “UK would reduce some aid to countries that refuse to recognize gay rights.”
These not so subtle threats by both Clinton and Cameron were directed specifically at Africa. Culturally, Africa is one of the most conservative regions anywhere in the world and it absolutely do not support homosexual rights.
This is one area where I am very proud of Africa. It is not easy to stand up to super powers such as the U.S. and the U.K., but this issue goes to the core of Africa’s moral fiber and they refused to be bullied. Ghana, Uganda and Zimbabwe are just three of many of the African countries that took a very public stand against the imperial powers of the U.S. and the U.K.
Ugandan presidential adviser, John Nagenda told the BBC, “that fellow [Cameron] said the same thing. Now this woman [Clinton] is interfering. If the Americans think they can tell us what do, they can go to hell.” Touché!
The Obama administration has tried to lecture Africa countries because of their opposition to homosexuality, but will not say a word about the human rights violations going on in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Egypt just to name a few. The Middle East in particular is one of the most repressive regions of the world when it comes to women and homosexual rights. So, why lecture Africa while remaining silent on the Middle East? The answer is obvious: Because the Middle East is deemed to be more important to our national security interests than Africa,(though that balance is slowly changing.
As I stated, foreign policy is not always logical or consistent.
I find it amazing that the homosexual community wants us to change our views on homosexuality, but they are unwilling to change their views on heterosexuality. So, they believe in equality only when it is a one-way street.
It is no coincidence that Obama had Clinton give that speech 11months before the 2012 elections. It was a purely political and cynical move.
How can we continue lecture other countries about something that we’re unwilling to do in the U.S.? I am a fervent believer in conditionality when it comes to foreign affairs; but to interfere with the sovereign moral affairs of a country is a dangerous precedent.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @raynard1223.