In Obama's State Of The Union, Africa Is A Place Of Terrorism, Hunger And Disease

In last night's State of the Union, Obama described Africa as a place of terrorism, hunger and disease. We can do better.

Obama in Kenya last year. Creative Commons photo courtesy of The White House
If you’re like me, you listened to Obama’s State of the Union speech last night entirely by accident, on the radio, while reheating leftover beans. I usually don’t have much patience for this kind of political theater, but Obama’s foreign policy section gave me shivers.

The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.

The disembodied roar of the crowd from my subwoofer as he said it, gave Obama’s words an extra edge. The great uniter has really perfected his tough-guy routine over the years.


Africa got three shout outs. First, as a space to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups, second as the place where “we,” the United States, militarily defeated Ebola and third, the place Americans are saving from the scourge of HIV and famine.

While most foreign policy wonks rightfully jumped on his description of Middle Eastern conflict as dating back millenia, African politics Twitter just seemed bummed. In a world of social media outrage and posturing, most people seemed authentically disappointed in Obama’s characterization of the continent:

 

 

 

Everyone, of course, except for The Times’ Nick Kristoff who seems to think the Ebola comment was accurate:

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