Quietly, almost unnoticed in America save for the occasion commercial about Darfur, Africa is slipping away. Despite Dumbya's assertions that Africa wll live "in liberty, peace, and growing prosperity," it doesn't look promising:
By my count, that's three wars (four if you count the nascent violence in Sierra Leone), economies in shambles in the DR Congo, Nigeria, and Somalia, and the prince who might ride in and save the continent is...Muammar Ghaddafi?!?!?!?!?
Heck of a job, Bushie!
In fairness, Ghaddafi, when oil prices have been firm, has been generous to his African neighbors and now that oil is reaching record prices, I'm sure he sees an opportunity to engage in a little economic hegemony of his own.
The Bush administration was so desperate for any good news in the wake of September 11 and the bungled Iraq invasion that it embraced Ghaddafi's offer to surrender his weapons programs to inspectors, a move he had originally committed to under the Clinton administration, which rightly laughed at the offer. Ghaddafi? WMDs?
Ghaddafi had a strategy, of course: Al Qaeda would eventually target Libya and Ghaddafi himself, so by ingratiating with the US, he could ask for military assistance. And of course, the Bushies were forced to embrace it, even if it made but a ripple in the news.
And it turned out that Ghaddafi did have a (very) small scale weapons program going on, mostly chemical and biological, but an embryonic attempt to develop nukes was in the works. Whether he would have seriously pursued these, or if this all was an elaborate shell game to try to wring some concessions from the West in terms of sanctions, we may never know. He did, however, get the concessions. But not the lifting of sanctions, since he had threatened to kill anyone who wanted regime change, shortly after the US offered to lift the sanctions for basically, errrr, just that.
Ghaddafi had tried to unify OPEC and the Arab world behind him, and failed (and then oil tanked). He'd have more success in Africa, to be sure.
Add to Africa's manmade struggles the growing environmental crises: extreme drought in Darfur and Nigeria caused by global warming, as well as flooding in DR Congo...put it this way: when the good news of an entire continent can be summed up with a story about a rugby team defeating an English side in a preliminary tournament game, you have a deeply troubled continent.