The image of China in the Western press is less the dragon of the Celestial Kingdom than J.R.R Tolkien’s Smaug, a beast of enormous strength and cunning, ravaging oil markets in Africa, copper ore in South America, and uranium deposits in Australia. “The world begins to feel the dragon’s breath on its back,” intones the Financial Times.
Rebecca Lolosoli radiates a quiet authority beneath layers of elaborate beadwork that cover her forehead, neck, chest, and wrists. She smiles readily while addressing an audience of U.S. college students, though to them, her topic is a metaphor for hopelessness. Rebecca is talking about AIDS in Africa, specifically among women in her indigenous, Samburu village of Umoja, Kenya. “For years, people were dying and we did not know why,” she recalls. “Now we know that AIDS can be avoided, but only by making great changes in our lives.”
One of the most tragically irresponsible decisions of the Bush administration in the critical hours following Hurricane Katrina was its refusal to accept offers by the government of Cuba to immediately dispatch more than 1500 medical doctors with 37 tons of medical supplies to the devastated areas along the Gulf coast.
There are some people in the world’s wealthy countries who forecast that 2005 will be a decisive year for Africa.
If the "war on terror" is beginning to look increasingly like the cold war, then President George W. Bush’s fiscal year (FY) 2005 foreign-aid request will not change that impression.