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Sunday, September 26, 2004

Bush in 2000: Africa isn't my priority

Curious about the newly humanitarian Bush administration's lack of concern about the ongoing genocide in Sudan? Take a look at this excerpt from the 2000 Presidential debates.

First, a bit of context. George W. Bush was asked why he supported U.S. intervention in the Balkans but not in Africa. In his response, Bush outlined his priorities: the Middle East, Europe, the Far East, and the Western Hemisphere. In other words, every continent except for Africa and Australia (Australia hasn't been a cause of many foreign policy crises).

This is the direct quotation:

"And Africa's important. And we've got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade. And there's some -- the vice president mentioned Nigeria. It's a fledgling democracy. We've got to work with Nigeria. It's an important continent.

But there's got to be priorities, and the Middle East is a priority for a lot of reasons, as is Europe. and the Far East and our own hemisphere. And those are my four top priorities should I be the president."

Need Bush's priorities spelled out any more clearly? Bush was asked whether he supported or opposed eight military interventions: Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf War, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo. The two interventions Bush opposed were Somalia and Haiti. Granted, these weren't the two most successful interventions in U.S. history (Somalia was a total disaster). But is it a coincidence the only two interventions Bush opposed were in countries populated largely by blacks? Are you bothered at all that Bush said the U.S. did the "right thing" when it didn't intervene to stop the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in Rwanda? Or do you too believe that for a humanitarian crisis to take place it must be in a country populated by large oil fields?

For the media to pick up on this story, Bush would have had to put it a bit more bluntly: black people are not my priority.


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