Abdul Razak Iddris is a research associate at The African Institution in Washington, D.C. He received his PhD in Political Science from Howard University. His areas of research are Pan-Africanism, American government and public policy, United States foreign policy toward Africa, and African Fractal Analysis.
A laborious search in the United States National Archives, the Library of Congress, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Library, the United States Department of State Library, Washington Metropolitan Area university libraries, and the Internet yielded a relatively small number of works on United States foreign policy toward Ghana and none that compares the policy instruments of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama towards the country. The available works comprise general treatises of United States policy instruments towards the country or look at certain aspects of Ghana within the context of West Africa. This paper provides a critical analysis of the available postulates on the topic. It is therefore imperative to say something about the Critical Analysis Approach before embarking on the analysis of the postulates for those readers who may not be familiar with the method.
The Critical Analysis Approach can be generally defined as a systematic method of engaging in a detailed examination of the elements or structure of an intellectual debate, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretations of the merits and faults of competing postulates on the issue. Nonetheless, as Richard Nordquist points out, "performing a critical analysis does not necessarily involve finding fault with a work. On the contrary, a thoughtful critical analysis may help us understand the interaction of the particular elements that contribute to a work's power and effectiveness" (2017:1).
Elisabetta LeJeune (2017) suggests some very essential questions that can guide a researcher in doing a systematic critical analysis. These questions have been paraphrased here as follows: (a) How are the competing arguments organized? What audiences are the proponents of the competing postulates targeting? What assumptions do the proponents have about the audiences? What kind of language and imagery do the competing proponents use?
Sheryl Gay Stolberg in her article titled "Bush Confronts Hard Questions in Ghana" (2008) gives a brief account of Bush's trip to Ghana and characterizes and equates him to Santa Claus: i.e. a benevolent leader from a distant land showering Ghanaians with American foreign aid and, as a result, generating smiles and warm welcomes wherever he went. Stolberg also points out that Bush was soon confronted with skepticism about American military policy and his AIDS initiative. President Bush was compelled to call a news conference to address the widespread suspicion that the United States planned to establish military bases in Ghana as it expanded its strategic role on the continent of Africa. With Ghanaian President John Kufuor by his side, Bush said at the news conference: "I know there's rumor in Ghana, all Bush is coming to do is to try to convince you to put a big military base here. That is baloney, as they say in Texas that's bull" (Stolberg, 2008). President Bush went on to add that it does not mean that the United States wouldn't develop some kind of office in Ghana and that the decision to launch any kind of military base hasn't been finalized (Stolberg, 2008).
Also, the editor of Dilemma X magazine (2012) states that Ghana's capital city named its new highway after US President George Walker Bush. The question the editor asks is if Obama's engagement in Ghana would merit naming a project after him. The author also discusses in depth how Bush has done great things for humankind, of which most Americans are unaware. Furthermore, the author asserts that many Americans do not know that Ghana, back in February of 2012, named one its capital city's express highways in honor of a Republican President George W. Bush for his contribution toward the establishment of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
Judy Yizhou in her article titled "Bush vs. Obama" (2012) argues that Obama, who has African heritage, took office as African people positively received an American President everywhere as a welcomed opportunity for change. African people were hopeful that one of their own, an African son, would do even more than his predecessor for the continent. According to Yizhou, this was, however, an unrealistic expectation, but one rooted in Obama's poetic oratory and lofty promises.
Additionally, Yizhou contends that in Obama's first trip to Ghana, which only lasted no more than 20 hours, he spoke about an increasingly interdependent world. Also...