George Bush and Liberia

By Joseph Kweedy Solo

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
October 28, 2006


“ Charles Taylor needs to leave Liberia for the Liberian people to have peace and spare them blood share”. This was George Bush speaking before the former Liberian dictator, an international pariah and former warlord left Liberia for Nigeria in disgrace. Because of that one statement which came in the wake of the invasion of Iraq and the overthrown of Saddam Hussein, Liberians tend to have a special place in their hearts for George Bush. Of course, George Bush is the president of the United states and therefore the most powerful man in the world. And at the time Mr. Bush made the statement, Liberians were involved in a blood bath for political leadership and he was glowing in popularity and there was a perception out there in the international community that this was a no nonsense person who will not tolerate dictatorial leaders throughout the world. So then, it appears to many Liberians that if not for George Bush Liberians would have still been struggling under Charles Taylor dictatorship.

But before I get into the discussion of my main point here, let me throw out some hypotheticals to refresh our memories. Let assume that Charles Taylor was not a detested leader and a straight out despicable human being and there were no rebel movements on the ground trying to overthrow him and he was dearly loved by a majority of Liberians, what would George Bush have done if Taylor refused to leave? This is the scenario that Liberians need to think about. Was it possible for George Bush to send troops to Liberia, overthrow Charles Taylor and occupy Liberia? If that was the case, would the Liberians have been better off under American occupation during George Bush’ Administration? I am not going to answer that question. But Liberians need to look at Iraq and Afghanistan to answer the question.

I started thinking about this issue when I read about President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s pending visit to China and what the Chinese Government has already pledged to do to resuscitate a dying nation. They have promised assistance in every aspect of the Liberian government’s development efforts. They have promised assistance in agriculture, education and health care. And the most dramatic of all, they promise to assist to revitalize the University of Liberia’s Fendell Center. This is all before the president’s first visit to that country.

So what are we to make of this? The facts are clear. Just look at how many visits President Johnson-Sirleaf has made to the United States. What concrete assistance have Liberia gotten from the United States government? It’s all about rhetoric and symbolism. Except for private sympathizers like Oprah Winfrey and others, there has been no substantial assistance for Liberia from America. In the face of all that, the fact that the United States has not done anything in a concrete way to stabilize Liberia, especially in the economic sense, the U.S. Government of George Bush has terminated the status of Liberians as protected alien that was granted during the Liberian civil war. So before Liberians go forward to name bridges and their children in honor of George W. Bush, they need to understand certain things.

George Bush is a guy who talks tough but does not understand some of these issues people are dealing with and most importantly, does not follow-through. For God sake, those folks in the White House do not care about what is going on in Liberia. If you ask George Bush now, he probably could not tell you where Liberia is. I understand that the Halliburton Corporation is involve in Liberia right now doing whatever it is that it does best. This does not bold well for Liberia and Liberians. It is not working well in Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of nation-building and we can not expect it to work in Liberia. You know these countries have more strategic importance to the United States than Liberia is.

The major issue is that the Liberian president is doing the right thing by reaching out to other countries in terms of cooperation in the area of development. The late presidents Tolbert and Doe tried that approach and the rest is history. But Liberians need to know that America does not really have any commitment to Liberia. More especially the current administration in the White House has an agenda which is most devastating to the interests of Liberians and other underprivileged peoples throughout the World. So, the advice to president Johnson-Sirleaf is to reach out to any country and organization throughout the world which would put forward a concrete proposal to partnership with the Liberian government in terms of development. If ever Liberia could get any assistance from the United States for development, it is not going to come from George Bush and his administration. They only know how to destroy in order to satisfy their ideological callings but they do not know how to built. Ask Iraq and Afghanistan.

About the author: Joseph Kweedy Solo, holds a Masters degree in public policy and works as a consultant in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at: or
© 2006 by The Perspective

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