On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama cautioned the America public about the foreign policy plan Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wish to implement:
“My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to…a Cold War mind warp.”
Here, the president refers to a foreign policy initiative so deeply entrenched in the conservative values of the Ronald Reagan era, it may as well be implemented by the late president’s hologram.
And though the Romney-Ryan campaign promises a resurgence in the United States’ global dominance that would result in “an American century,” the promise of this exceptionalism would negatively impact the African diaspora.
Like his hero (President Reagan), whose policies crippled Black America, sponsored invasions in Latin America and the Caribbean, and embraced apartheid South Africa, candidate Romney’s vision for the U.S. leading the world would have the Africans in the Diaspora following in woeful submission.
The following are six reasons why Governor Mitt Romney and Representative Paul Ryan are a harmful choice for Blacks globally:
1) Repeal of the Dodd-Frank Act: The Dodd-Frank Act is the financial reform bill that passed in 2010 in the wake of the sub-prime loan mortgage crisis to protect consumers from aggressive lending. The bill having benefited victims of predatory lending (many who are Black), is under attack by Mitt Romney and the pro-business GOP who demand its repeal.
However, the Dodd-Frank Act does not only protect from aggressive lenders, Section 1052 requires companies to disclose the purchase of conflict minerals such as gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten. These precious metals required for commonly used electronics financed the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo making it the deadliest global conflict since World War II.
Although the Second Congo War formally ended in 2003 with 5.5 million lives taken, 2.5 million refugees remain along with a culture of violence so pervasive that 48 women are raped every hour.
2) Competition with China= Battleground Africa: Though the African continent is notably absent from the foreign policy section of Mitt Romney’s website, that is not to say its impact on the African continent would not be felt. In fact, he and his vice presidential candidate’s reveal their position on Africa through their stance on China.
“The key question for American policymakers is whether we are competing with China for leadership of the international system or against them over the fundamental nature of that system,” Paul Ryan stated in a recent address to the Alexander Hamilton Society.
The ideological war with China Ryan alludes to is reminiscent of the U.S. and Soviet Union’s past clashes, but also suggests the U.S. must out-compete the Asian financial powerhouse that invests heavily in Africa.
3) The Campaign for Economic Opportunity in Latin America (CEOLA): According to Romney’s foreign policy strategy, he plans to establish CEOLA in efforts to strengthen the economic relationship in the region to promote democracy and free trade.
The committee, in its description, reads as an updated version of Ronald Reagan’s Washington Consensus. Bringing together major financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and U.S. Treasury Department, the Washington Consensus was a body that spearheaded economic policies in Latin America increased investment and trade in the private sector.
However, the initiatives of the Washington Consensus that guided Latin American economies in the 1980s eventually led to devastating financial crises in the 1990s.
4) The War on Drugs: In the United States the War on Drugs created a system of mass incarceration of unparalleled by any other nation with African-Americans bearing the brunt of its severity.
Candidate Romney’s intention to build a unified Hemispheric Joint Task Force on Crime and Terrorism that would effectuate an ardent anti-drug platform would create an escalation of the United States’ already-bloated prison population.
Furthermore, the staunch anti-drug stance of the Romney-Ryan ticket remains sharply out of touch with Latin American and Caribbean nations, many of which have decriminalized drug use and are moving towards full drug legalization.
5) Reductions in Humanitarian and International Diplomacy Efforts: Finally, under the Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” plan (commonly referred to as the “Ryan budget”) adopted by Romney, the United States’ international affairs account would cut funding to the State Department and USAID by approximately $5 billion.
Yet, despite $6 trillion the Ryan budget proposes to cut in its first 10 years, there are no deductions in military spending.
The desire to not cut but increase the military could greatly impact the African diaspora and likely result in the increase of African-American soldiers who are perennially targeted for recruitment. But for Africa it means the potential expansion of deadly drone strikes prevalent in East Africa across the continent.
The dialogue Romney and Ryan wish to have with the African diaspora appears to be a one-sided conversation — one in which the United States talks and Black America, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa acquiesces.