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 future.
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 administration.
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.
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. economy.
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 said.
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.
said President Obama will most likely appoint an envoy on the crisis in Sudan.
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,"
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.
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.
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