Is Barack Obama ‘The Reluctant President’?

harry alfordWhether “The Reluctant President” title will stick to the legacy of Barack Hussein Obama will be determined in decades to come. The troubling aspect of his presidency thus far is his inability to take responsibility and seek the truth, no matter what it may be.

He never would be a subject character in President John F. Kennedy’s book “Profiles in Courage.”

He doesn’t step forward and take the path of resolve. Instead, he ignores our populace, is stubborn, and hides behind a press that miraculously protects his odd positions and decisions.

That support is seeming to wane as his term starts to end.  The scandals of the IRS, State Department, Veterans Administration and a host of others are starting to take its affect.

When this president makes a position, it is usually for the betterment of an opposing Muslim-led government, racial strife (not reconciliation) or sharply leaning towards a cowardice profile.  Crimea, Ukraine, the new Iraq, Kurds, Libya, Syria, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, on and on.

Not a leader
The United States is no longer a leader in the world. We have become failures to our friends and weaklings to our foes. The egregious government of Iran has proven us to be pushovers, and the Assad regime of Syria is showing us that his friends are braver (not stronger) than us.

If you don’t show up at the daily morning intelligence briefings like all other presidents would religiously do, you are going to make big public mistakes –like not knowing who ISIS is.

Obama publicly proclaimed ISIS to be a “jayvee team,” with nothing for us to worry about.  Meanwhile, they penetrated Iraq and parts of Syria like General Sherman ripping through the South during the Civil War.  Obama didn’t have a clue!  In our absence, Russia has stepped in as “the Avenger.” Where is the United States, Mr. President?

Here’s the big question for our first president of African lineage.  What have you done for the betterment of our Mother Africa? The Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (34 national organizations) has addressed that question in their recent newsletter dated October 28, 2015.

Africa ‘disappointed’
“On both programs (Africa Growth and Opportunity Act –AGOA – and Power Africa) the continent has been disappointed by President Obama’s scant focus to his father’s ancestral home, especially in comparison of former President Bush, whose effort to fight HIV/AIDS has made him a hero in Africa.  Or even former President Carter who pushed to tackle a horrible…guinea worm (disease), bringing down the cases from one million in 1989 to about 25,000 in recent times.”

“The AGOA program which was conceived by President Bill Clinton fourteen years ago, partly as a means to spur growth of domestic industries in Africa, particularly in the textile sector, has not happened to a significant degree.  Only modest gains in textile production has been noted in the years following implementation of AGOA in a few African countries, including Kenya.

‘Nothing to show’
“As it is, textiles and clothing account for only two percent of African exports to the U.S. On Power Africa, of the $7 billion that Obama set aside for the initiative, $5 billion fell under the auspices of the now-defunct Export-Import Bank, which guarantees loans to foreign companies buying U.S.-made products.  Just $132 million in transactions had been approved before the bank’s charter expired last month, and now it cannot approve new ones.

“The Export-Import Bank was an important part of that effort.  Yet on June 30, the bank lapsed for the first time in its 81-year history.  So now, Power Africa depends on Congress reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.  President Obama faces the challenge of matching the Africa legacy of his White House predecessors.  As of today his administration has nothing to show to Africa.”

Isn’t that so disappointing?  All we wanted was change.

Harry C. Alford is the co-founder and president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Contact him via


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