Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Is President (elect) Donald Trump Good for South Sudan?

There is this general feeling in South Sudan that the Republican Party is the party whose policies are good for South Sudan. This is not a general, historical trend of course. It's merely a feeling of, perhaps, desperation. The only Republican president, who had a significant influence in the materialization of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which saw South Sudan becoming an independent state, was George W. Bush. But Bush's influence was merely an accident of history given the fact that Clinton had already started to assist SPLA given the importance of Sudan in war on terror after Osama Bin Laden lived in Khartoum for a while. Late Dr. Hassan El Turabi had made Khartoum a center of Islamic fundamentalism.

Until the late 1990s, when global terrorism focused the spotlight on Sudan, the western world didn't care much about the South Sudanese problems. With Osama resident in Sudan under the auspices of National Islamic Front (NIF), an Islamic fundamentalist movement, Khartoum entered into the bad side of the American foreign policy. With the increasing bombing of churches in  the late 1990s and the branding of Sudan as one of the sponsors of 'international terrorism', Sudan was booked.

As a result, President Bill Clinton issued an Executive Order in February of 1997 that severed economic ties between US and Sudan. That new reality was exploited by SPLA and Dr. John Garang, who presented themselves as an alternative to Khartoum. They were supposedly a partner America could work with. Besides, Garang unleashed his propaganda machinery by exploiting the persecution of Christians in Sudan. No doubt, this helped rally the Christian fundamentalists in America by reflecting the war in Sudan as the persecution of 'Christian brothers and sisters' by Muslims. These polico-religious Christian rallies would later become instrumental during Bush's administration. Bush, a pious Christian, would eat up SPLA propaganda.

However, history Junkies know that Roland Reagan and George H. Bush (both republicans) didn't do anything for South Sudan. In fact, Reagan supported President Nimeri against SPLA. While the historical place President Bush (junior) played in the peace process in South Sudan is undeniable, there is no ground to conclude that republicans are the ones better suited to solve the problems in South Sudan. CPA was rather successfully signed because of the strength of the relationship and the in-depth understanding of the national problems by the principal negotiators. So there's nothing that suggests, besides Bush's incidental help, that Republicans are good for South Sudan.



So why do some South Sudanese think that the newly elected President, Donald Trump, is good news for South Sudan? It’s hard to understand! I don’t know how the just-shoot-them war philosophy Trump has been singing can help end the South Sudanese war?

To conclude that a group of people is good given the historical accident of one leader or administration, is naiveté of the first order. I admit, Trump might be good for South Sudan given the fact that we don’t know any of his policies yet; however, given the isolationist and protectionist tendencies of President (elect) Trump, it's highly unlikely that South Sudan would be one of his top priorities. Trump's focus is America, America and America! Any significant countries Trump would deal with are states that have significant socioeconomic and sociopolitical benefits to America.

It's even important to note that Trump has no clear policies in any of his promises leave alone any foreign policy agenda. Isolationism dictates not being involved in wars. There's nothing in his policies (if he has any), which indicates a positive shift in American policies towards South Sudan.

Trump isn't a career politician so it'll take time for him to know the workings of both the American governance system and the operation of the foreign policy. There are a number of things he has to learn before he fixes his priorities regarding foreign policy. It'll be years before Trump thinks about states like South Sudan. Given the racist nature of Trump's win, fixing South Sudan will the least of Trump issues.  His nationalist leaning and the fervor with which his supporters took issue with American diversity and global outlook, will be an impediment to Trump foreign policy in Africa.

While it's possible that Washington's relations with Juba might change, any euphoric celebration of Trump's victory is misplaced. I’m still open, however, to the idea that I could be wrong, however remote.

ON CULTURAL IDENTITY & BELONGING

Dear Melbournians, the South Sudanese people to be precise. Do you think we have seen it all? Do you think we have seen that: I mean in the aftermath of yesteryears, in regard to our culture and the notions around identity and belonging? Do you think we have seen the true reaping of what we sowed years ago? Do you really think so? After all, did we really sow anything like seeds and that there’s something to be reaped? Did we really live it out well to be seen today?

I am sorry to have bothered you, my potential readers, with questions regarding our social, economic, and political location in our host society: Australia. I think we have not seen it all and as a whole: The idea that people are bound by certain values and beliefs of significance to them. This requires cooperation and role-specific obligations on the roles of every man and woman across a given people and their society.

TOLERANCE & INCLUSION


While it is possible for us to racially discriminate or judge people we know, the chances of judging people we know diminish significantly the more we know them. An easy example of the importance of understanding others is the attitude people develop when they want to harm others or when they want to deny them something valuable. Essentially, before you fight someone, you insult them. Insults are attempts at diminishing the value of people, an attempt at estranging them, as Toni Morrison argued in The Origin of Others. It is easy to discriminate against strangers or make others strangers or dehumanized in order to discriminate against them.

Transformational Leadership, Inclusive Institutions and Service Provision

Leadership, given what is happening now in South Sudan, and generally in Africa, fascinates me. And it fascinates me not in a good way but because of the sociopolitical and socioeconomic ills facing the African continent and most of the so-called 'Third World.' To me, South Sudan, now, is a classic case.

Rebellion by disaffected politico-military leaders and repression by the government of South Sudan in Juba have stunted institutional development and leadership growth. This has made service provision almost irrelevant as political survival has taken primacy and supremacy. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

‘Black’ as an Identity Oversimplification and Mockery

Black as a universalized cultural identity of the African Person (AP)* is a residual effect of slave and colonial mentality; a racial/race paradigm. It is a malady I call, conservatively speaking, stuck-in-the-past syndrome of color constraints. Black could be an on-the-street ‘social identifier’ of race figures not a meaningful phenomenon of deep cultural identification on a universal scale.