330 Comments

This would be an excellent time to reintroduce organic farming to Africa rather than commercial fertilizer. The Kochs and other big fertilizer companies are using ever stronger weed killers because weeds become immune to the mixtures. Rachel Carson was right. Let’s try to do better and not export killer technology.

Here is some helpful reading. https://www.greenamerica.org/toxic-problem-pesticides-and-fertilizers

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Several comments talk about the US's neglect of Africa - but Peace Corps has been active in Africa since it began in the 1960s. I spent three years in Burkina (Haute Volta at the time) in the 1970s as a PC volunteer. It makes me sad to see what has been happening there. Bravo to the Biden Administration for stepping up US involvement in Africa.

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I found the main part of your letter very heartening. I’m glad we are trying to strengthen relations with African countries—it’s one of those times (I hope) when our interests and theirs coincide. Your last paragraph, however, really frightens me. Trump gets worse and worse. He has done such damage to our country—really, to everything and everyone he touches—and the description of his rally is terrifying.

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Last night, Trump admitted his complicity in the insurrection and his guilt at inciting it. And the goobers loved it.

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It was so refreshing, Heather, to see only the last paragraph of March 26 LFAA concerned tfg and his rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday night. Your fantastic letter about Africa and the US’s growing relationship with a continent long neglected by the US was a mini-course in world history. I learned more about VP Harris and her African heritage. Please continue to enlighten us, your devoted readers. May you have a beautiful week.

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Thank you Heather.

I truly hope the lives, prospects and fortunes improve for ordinary Africans - and Asians, Latin and South Americans. Authoritarianism = human misery.

As to tfg...

“Waco has been a touchstone for violent attacks on the government. There, last night, Trump stood on stage with his hand over his heart while loudspeakers played not the national anthem but a song recorded by January 6 insurrectionists. Footage from the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol played on a screen behind him.”

Sorry, my anger makes it hard to say anything constructive.

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Putin's war in Ukraine has interrupted food supplies to Africa.

It seems to me that the first goal of economic development of the African continent, by Africans, should be food independence. Given the land, natural resources, and the people, Africa has more than it needs to feed itself and produce a surplus for export as well, without having to plow the Serengeti Plain.

Agricultural deveopment, not mineral extraction, should be the first priority of any foreign entity that truly wishes to help Africans.

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Mar 27·edited Mar 28

Personally, I am not overwhelmed by this latest American focus on Africa highlighted by Vice President Harris’s trip and Jill Biden’s visit to three African countries several weeks ago.

In 1954 I first visited Africa (Anglo-Egyptian Sudan) when there was only one country (Ethiopia) in Africa. In February, 1955 I was co-organizer of the first university conference on Africa.

From 1960-1966 in the Foreign Service I worked in/on Congo and was dealing with emerging countries in West and Central Africa. I experienced the initial American focus on Africa. G. Menon Williams (former Michigan governor) was the first Assistant Secretary for Africa and President Kennedy had a fits-and-starts involvement in Africa.

Africa was viewed within a Cold War lens. Initially there was considerable enthusiasm for Nigeria’s first president, Balewa, and Nkrumah in Ghana. Congo was the earliest political/military cockpit.

More and more African Western colonies became independent—there are now 54. Over the years I observed the post-colonial chaos as tribalism, corruption, and political authoritarianism were much more the practice than ‘democracy.’

In the 1970s portions of Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Somalia, and others) were Cold War hot spots. Under President Reagan Africa seemed ignored. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, I was unaware of Africa being a priority continent in Washington.

In recent years China has invested significant resources in some mineral-rich African countries. Driving hard bargains, they have already obtained control over one major African port in return for a defaulted African debt. Putin, through the Wagner Group, has mercenaries in the cat bird seat in at least three West African countries.

The United States has again become aware that Africa has a multitude of major natural resources. For numerous reasons these are difficult to mine and then ship out of Africa. Meanwhile ‘Africa’ has massive endemic problems, including over borrowing, systemic corruption, a vast gap between a Black elite and the great majority of the population, severe droughts, the impacts of covid and HIV, and generally mediocre governance.

There is still broad ‘anti-colonialist’ sentiment throughout much of Africa. The French and British are primary targets, while the United States, as the ‘principal Western power,’is often not considered trustworthy.

I believe that today ‘Africa’ (54 disparate countries) faces systemic problems and some hope for a better future. some African countries can benefit from a natural resource windfall. However, if the two largest African countries, Nigeria and South Africa, are bellwethers, I see scant reason for optimism.

Most African countries seek ‘positive neutrality’ [get goodies from both sides, without firm commitments to either]in the global conflict between the West and China/Russia. Regarding Putin and Ukraine, often they seek to be on the sidelines.

Back in the 1950s I was excited by the prospect of independence sweeping the African continent. Sixty-nine years later, this excitement is muted.

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The wacko in Waco: What a macabre scheme!

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Unfortunately, it takes a war in Ukraine for the rich world to take an interest in Africa. Thanks. Heather, for this informative letter.

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2 words for Trump Rally attendees: Facial Recognition.

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Mar 27·edited Mar 27

Thank you, Professor, for another report on the state of our Democracy and Democracy across the world. While tfg worked his crowd at a gathering in Waco, hand over his heart, his fake patriotism is a warning that his drama can still stir supporters to believe him a victim and the insurrection only a rally. Yet, we are hoping more and more Americans are turning away from his lies. Across the world in Africa According to a report from Chatham House that reviewed the polling, Africans “believe that the military should stay out of politics, that political parties should freely compete for power, that elections are an imperfect but essential tool for choosing their leaders, and that it is time for the old men who cling to power to step aside.” Old men, young men, it’s time for the USA to recognize threats to our Democracy. The Hartmann Report details the trumpian dangers to our country now. It’s critical we actively pay attention and work to preserve our Democracy. In his latest post: “It's now a certainty that the last legitimately elected Republican president who wasn’t a traitor to the United States was Dwight D. Eisenhower….. In aggregate, this should be the biggest story in the media.” https://open.substack.com/pub/thomhartmann/p/america-has-ignored-gop-crimes-to?r=ele1&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post

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Opposition leader Yair Lapid said the crisis was driving Israel to the brink.

“We’ve never been closer to falling apart. Our national security is at risk, our economy is crumbling, our foreign relations are at their lowest point ever, we don’t know what to say to our children about their future in this country,” Lapid said. “We have been taken hostage by a bunch of extremists with no brakes and no boundaries.” AP 3/26/2023

While Africa is looking more democratic, Israel is looking more like Iran. More like Hungary. More like Russia. And God forbid, more like Nazi Germany. However, Israel still has a passionate and vocal democratic population that is beginning to resist. They weren't that vocal when Israeli right wing oppression was exerted against Palestinians, which is a crisis of moral conviction. But they are seeing that when justice crumbles for one, it proceeds toward crumbling for all.

The US population must realize and recognize that this is happening to us too. Trump opened the flood gates holding back the sewer of right wing extremism that contaminates all of our drinking water.

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Mar 27·edited Mar 27

So Trumps is on stage with his hand over his heart while the insurrectionist theme song is being played? And behind him, footage of The U.S. Capitol being attacked ?

Anyway, I'm glad that U.S./Harris are meeting with Democratic Countries in Africa. "Pro Democracy " nations have a checkered past , to say the least, in their dealings with African Nations. When the Colonials pulled out of Africa, they left just enough management for exploitation and no meaningful help for the population. Russia and really China have stepped into the vacuum with support to build infrastructure. But this is at a cost. I put a lot of hope that Africa's leaders become more global in their thinking and curtail the corruption in their political dealings with outsiders. I'm certainly glad to hear that V.P. Harris is involved in this because frankly, she could use some high profile credits. The supremacists are going after her. Thank you for the info H.C.R.

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Trump's isolationism played right into the hands of Putin and Xi.

They must love him as a useful idiot.

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Forgive me for the extreme redundancy... Donald Trump is a hideous being.

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