From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Feb 25 2009 - 08:30:20 EST
Analyst Says Current Economic Crisis Could Impact Future U.S. Assistance to
By James Butty
25 February 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday night made his first speech to a joint
session of Congress, acknowledging difficult and uncertain economic times
but promising the United States will rebuild and be stronger than ever. Mr.
Obama, who has been president for a month, called on Americans to pull
together to confront challenges and take responsibility for the country's
Ron Walters, professor in government and politics at the University of
Maryland told VOA the current U.S. economic slowdown is likely to have some
impact on future U.S. economic assistance to Africa under the Obama
"I think it's bound to have a slowing effect on the rate at which the United
States is able to continue its commitment not only to Africa but everywhere
else around the world where international commitments are. I think what we
see is the global problem of retrenchment. And when that happens, countries
tend to cut some of their international commitments. How much of an impact,
it can't be said right now because we don't know how quickly the economy is
going to recover. So we're in an atmosphere of uncertainty, and it's
difficult to predict with any degree of confidence of what is going to
happen to economic assistance program right now," he said.
Walters said while Africans have every right to expect some help from the
Obama administration, it would all depend on the condition of the U.S.
"A lot of that as I said is depending upon the revival economy. Most
economists are saying it's going to take at least two years before at least
the United States begins to get handle on this. Can the countries that are
needy last two years in a sunken economic situation? We don't know," Walters
On the crisis in Sudan, a number of high profile individuals, including
members of Congress and mostly recently actor George Clooney have called on
President Obama to appoint a full time envoy on the crisis in Darfur.
Walters said President Obama will most likely appoint an envoy on the crisis
"The president has taken a position on Darfur that the United States should
be concerned about intervening in any place where we have a genuine
humanitarian crisis. It is a position that (Vice President) Joe Biden just
today on the Darfur question. He has been very strong on wanting United
States to have a military intervention. It's been called defensive
intervention because it would be designed to stop the massacres, to bring
some stability to the situation," he said.
On the other hand Walters said the threats by the Khartoum government in
case the International Criminal Court issues any arrest warrants against
President Bashir should give the United States reason to think before taking
any military action in Sudan.
"On the other hand, al-Bashir has given has given some evidence that he is
ready to fight to stop the United Nations and other forces who might want to
come in perform that role. So this is a very delicate situation, and it
remains to be seeing whether or not the United States will in fact commit
itself to military intervention in Darfur," Walters said.
Walters said President can press African leaders to entrenched broader
democracy in Africa without jeopardizing U.S. interests by starting with
places like Sudan, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe where there are
problems but where the United States has maintained a health relationship
and influence to change the situation.
----[This List to be used for Eritrea Related News Only]----