Finding Common Ground With Lester

Lester Maddox, former Governor of Georgia
We were in the waiting room to meet the governor of Georgia. Amadou K, governor of the Fourth Region of Mali and my charge for his 30-day visit to the U.S., had been high maintenance, and insisted of meeting a U.S. official “of his same rank.”

The programmer in Washington, exasperated with K’s self inflation, got him a meeting with America’s most official racist at the time, Governor Lester Maddox. So there.

Continue reading Finding Common Ground With Lester

Small Enough to Succeed

IMG_9382May 28, one of these candidates will succeed Donald Kaberuka as African Development Bank president.  Kaberuka’s ten-year run got the African Development Bank (AfDB) up to $3.16 billion in loans and grants per annum to infrastructure projects on the Continent, pretty modest compared to the World Bank’s $15 billion. China puts in about the same $15 billion per annum in investments, which some would consider “real money.”

With Africa’s visible problems, it nevertheless churns on at six per cent growth as a whole, positioning it to move up the world scale in the near future as China’s growth slows. Continue reading Small Enough to Succeed

This Week in Africa, Good News and Bad

For democratic succession, Senegal had a good day Sunday as bitter-ender Abdoulaye Wade conceded election defeat, then even called his former protégé Macky Sall to congratulate him on his 65-35 per cent win. Long after he had outstayed his welcome, Wade was determined to plug along until the ballot boxes said otherwise. Not all countries are so fortunate.
Continue reading This Week in Africa, Good News and Bad

Christmas in Lunel

December 4, 2004, night flight Paris-Bamako. Malian journalists await for a week of training and encouragement to affirm, with an outsider, a free press in a country so poor it cannot even really falter. Sleep mask, ear stops, ambien, and I take my contrived sleep position so as to function for next day’s press sessions. Continue reading Christmas in Lunel

Looking into the Sun

The GWOT (Global War on Terror, R.I.P.) seemed to some as the last Good War. We recaptured some of our RPGs from the early 1980s, then sent in MRAPs, dodged IEDs, had TTXs at NDU and established FOBs in the field. Our ROE became liberalized, permitting us to engage with AQIM in the Sahel. TSCTP took notice. The DO across the river gave us some inroads and PsyOps evolved to MISO. And as Napoleon said, “an army travels on its MREs.” We had our share of PTSD in our AOR, but the MO was to rely on PRTs as guided and coordinated by JFCOM.

It was a good decade for acronyms. Continue reading Looking into the Sun