Clinton wants American taxpayers to fund UN intervention in central Africagreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Clinton Urges Congress to Back Congo Force
Reuters Photo WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Insisting that ``Africa does matter to the United States,'' President Clinton urged Congress to help pay for a U.N.-led peace-monitoring mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
``We have learned the hard way in the United States over decades and decades that the costliest peace is far cheaper than the cheapest war,'' he said.
In a speech to the opening session of the five-day National Summit on Africa in Washington, Clinton also appealed to Africans to change behavior patterns to bring down high levels of infection of the AIDS virus.
The president, whose trip to Africa two years ago brought high hopes of greater U.S. involvement there, renewed his appeal for Congress to approve an African trade bill.
Clinton later met privately with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi. The United States has had strained relations with Kenya over its commitment to democracy and human rights.
Clinton was welcomed to the summit in a traditional African way: three men in long striped robes with drums strapped across their chests paraded through the auditorium, pounding the drums with their hands.
Congo War Threatens Stability
Congo is the scene of 17-month war that has drawn in at least six other African states and threatens the whole region's stability. U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Richard Holbrooke, has said the war threatens a ``resurgence of genocide and mass killing in Central Africa.''
Clinton tried to persuade a reluctant U.S. Congress to help pay for a 5,500-member U.N. cease-fire monitoring mission in Congo.
``We need to think hard about what's at stake here,'' Clinton said. ``African countries have taken the lead, not just the countries directly affected either. They are not asking us to solve their problems or to deploy our military.
``All they have asked is that we support their own efforts to build peace and to make it last. We in the United States should be willing to do this,'' he said.
The United Nations has stopped short of recommending a full-fledged peacekeeping force and instead proposed a protection force for 500 unarmed military observers.
Clinton has asked Congress to pay about $42 million of the estimated $160 million cost of the mission.
Main Message Africa Matters
Clinton said his main message was ``Africa does matter to the United States,'' and Washington should help a continent where many people ``live on the bare edge of survival.''
He urged Congress to resolve its differences over an Africa trade bill and send it to him for signing by next month.
Approved overwhelmingly by the Senate in November 1999, the legislation would grant more than 70 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Central America greater duty-free access to U.S. markets.
It was bogged down in 1999 in a dispute between the House of Representatives and the Senate over textile imports and broader budget issues.
``Contact anyone you know in the United States Congress and ask them to do this. This is a job that needs to be done,'' Clinton told his audience, which included Salim Salim, secretary general of the Organization of African Unity, and other African leaders.
On AIDS, Clinton diverted from his prepared text and said he realized there are ``cultural and religious factors'' that made it hard to tackle the spread of the disease with preventive methods.
``We have to change behaviors, attitudes. And it has to be done in an organized, disciplined, systematic way. And you can do more in less time for less money in a preventive way to give the children of Africa their lives back,'' he said.
-- Rick (email@example.com), February 17, 2000
Wonder if he remembers what happened in Somalia. We sure were effective there.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 17, 2000.
Yet another blatant attempt to garner votes for his wife in the NY Senate election...first the Puerto Rican prison release--now a move to encourage "people of color" to vote for her/them. The 'man' has no shame. And always done with our taxpayer money. What else could one expect from those who have lived at the public trough all their lives?
-- ThisCrap (MakesOne@Sick.com), February 17, 2000.
The AIDS problem in Africa is indeed a real tragedy. However, the UN is unlikely to be very effective in changing centuries old sexual practices (promiscuity, polygamy) in countries where the governments don't want the change, and indeed, are unwilling to allow the problem to be discussed. Consider just one aspect of the current situation:
10 million orphans..That overwhelms social services, overwhelms family structures (which are collapsing due to AIDS). But our current administration (and the UN!) are not the right people to jump in and "fix" things...
-- Mad Monk (email@example.com), February 17, 2000.
Slippery slope. I smell "peacekeepers" coming. Clinton was lucky to get out of the Balkans with minimal loss of American life. He better not press his luck in central Africa. BTW, who was President during Somalia--Bush or Clinton?
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 17, 2000.
So why the hell doesn't he do something about paying what the US owes in dues to the UN?? How can the US keep claiming to be the peacekeepers to the world? They don't pay their dues and they want no Americans on the ground. THAT is peacekeeping?
-- Kath (email@example.com), February 17, 2000.
I vote that Chelsea goes on the first planeload. I wonder if that would change his attitude.
-- haha (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 17, 2000.
"So why the hell doesn't he do something about paying what the US owes in dues to the UN?? How can the US keep claiming to be the peacekeepers to the world? They don't pay their dues and they want no Americans on the ground. THAT is peacekeeping?"
-- Kath (email@example.com), February 17, 2000. Kath...
.....Perhaps you should research this issue a bit further before offering comment. The U.S. does NOT owe back dues as has been claimed. The UN was to pay for the "peacekeeping", (read warmaking), but have yet to do so. The true tally is in our favor to the tune of six billion owed the US taxpayer. The spineless members of our Congress have been kowtowed into silence and relinquishing the extorted amount of YOUR dollars to the criminals in the international community.
.....Perhaps you'd care to discuss where they get the authority to do any of the things they do in the sovereign countries they purport to be assisting. Better still, research the happenings in Katanga back in the sixties, then come back and tell me what you think of this "wonderful" organization.
-- Patrick (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 17, 2000.
Maybe I misread your posting. If I did, ignore this post. If not, then why in the *ell don't you get your a** over to Kosovo if you think the peacekeeping is so wonderful. Last I saw peacekeepers were getting shot at. Don't be brave with some else' blood. Be brave with your own.
-- haha (email@example.com), February 17, 2000.
So what is the U.S.' vested interest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that is worth having our 18 year olds go die for? Does Klinton have an answer for that?
-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), February 17, 2000.
What is the basis for the love affair with Africa? We've had a heavy population influx since the early '90's. Our US Afro Americans remain unemployed while foreign nationals fill government positions. Sorry, but I have a problem with US citizens being passed over for teaching and law enforcement positions while individuals from other countries are being granted work visas. I've been looking at this pretty carefully. They say that US Afro Americans comprise about two thirds of the Texas prison population. An increasing number of foreign nationals are filling prison and parole positions. I don't buy the line that those are undesirable jobs to the US population.If that's os, why were we trying to fill them with the welfare recipients? Do persons from foreign cultures provide more stringent controls? Are they more amenable to control themselves? Are there opportunities for economic gain in illegal transactions such as purloined identity documents that would be facilitated when a foreign national is in control? Some weird things happen to identification documents in TDCJ and the private prisons.What about links with the homeland? Leaks back home in IT settings? Just wondering. We're kinda strange down here anyway. Chalk it all up to New World Order.
-- another government hack (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 17, 2000.
Why can't we follow the prime directive of the USS Enterprise? - Do not interfere - Sometimes, I think, it is better to let the civil wars and small regional fires of other areas of the planet to just go their respective courses without interference - Consider, whoever emerges will be the stronger and will need to do business with the rest of the planet to reconstruct - That's my take
-- Bob (email@example.com), February 18, 2000.