Obama in Africa

On July 10, one very important descendant of black Africa will make a triumphant return to the motherland. But Barack Obama’s visit to Ghana, while heavy on symbolism, reveals the limits of his power: burdened by economic problems in America and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he can’t act boldly in Africa or make big promises.

BERKELEY – On July 10, one very important descendant of black Africa will make a triumphant return to the motherland.

Scholars speak of “the empire striking back,” referring to former colonized peoples, such as immigrants from Africa and India, settling in Europe and North America and then challenging norms of race and identity. In his first official trip to Africa, US President Barack Obama is striking back in a novel way. His visit to Ghana highlights the desirability of prominent people from the diaspora making a positive contribution to African affairs.

But Obama’s visit, while heavy on symbolism, reveals the limits of his power. Burdened by economic problems in America and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he can’t act boldly in Africa or make big promises.

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