Happy Birthday

by E. Terfa Ula-Lisa Esq

When you are married like more than half the adults of the world are, and you live in this modern civilized society, you better remember two important dates: your spouse’s birthday, and, the wedding anniversary or else your days on the couch or the dog-house are just about to commence.

JULY FOURTH, marks the birthday of the United States of America. Whether you love or hate America, it is a great nation and currently, the only surviving Superpower in the world. The USA dominates the world in all spheres of influence inclusive of the economy, technology, wealth, cultural influence, military might and democracy.


Concerning DEMOCRACY, the USA on its own volition, has elected for itself the noble goal of promoting, exporting where necessary and building and sustaining democracy worldwide as a foreign policy objective. The less informed consider this goal arrogance. While they are entitled to their opinion, a little information on how the framers of these United States thought might help.

“I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence for the illumination of the ignorant, and the emancipation of the slavish part of mankind all over the earth.” – John Adams.

Persons of doubtful scholarship make all kinds of allusions to the Empire building ambitions of the Americans especially regarding Iraq. The regime-change option often trumpeted by the liberal press as un-American and the personal ambition of one man has been in existence from the time of the Founding Fathers. If it was good for America then, it is also good for the rest of the world. It was not George W. Bush that made the following statements.

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes … but when a long train of abuses and usurpations … evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” – Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence

Promoting Republican Democracy is very noble because, given the same opportunity and resources; many competing nations of the world would choose a different course of action as we have learnt from history. The devious plans of a one-time powerful empire led to a hotchpotch of nations like Nigeria, Rwanda, India, Palestine and Iraq to mention a few. The only way to trust governments is to distrust them by distributing the powers in a representative democracy the USA teaches.

“The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent [to perform best]. – Thomas Jefferson

As is usual with most new ventures, not all can catch the vision; therefore not all would be enthusiastic about the risk. It takes a leader to try what is new and sometimes risk being unpopular.

“I call you to witness that I was the first member of the Congress who ventured to come out in public, as I did in January 1776, in my Thoughts on Government … in favor of a government with three branches and an independent judiciary. This pamphlet, you know, was very unpopular. No man appeared in public to support it but yourself.” – John Adams

Mutual Aspiration

As with most successful marriages, there is always a spirit of selfless-(some may say selfish-) mutuality or “give and take “as we say in the Nigerian parlance. It has been the contention in diverse places that America woos Nigeria for the exclusive reason of seeking an alternate source of Energy (Oil & Gas) to complement supplies outside the Middle-East. While not commenting on that allegation, suffice to say that, countries, nations or Empires have always traded mutual self interest to reach treaties, accord or friendships, and even war is perceived as diplomacy by other means. In this era of the USA, there is no doubt that Nigeria needs a good friend. A rich friend is even better. But a generous and powerful friend is the best.

Targeted Foreign Policy

Negotiation, especially in diplomacy is about maneuvering the tight waters of diverse interests to gain a favorable position. While you want the best position to achieve your own objectives, you make sure the other party remains a partner instead of an adversary to achieve a “win-win situation”. Reading from government declarations, Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives have not changed much. Nigeria wants to remain a good Global Citizen, wants forgiveness/cancellation of debts and wants to be seen and perceived as the Big Brother to other African States. These are laudable and achievable goals. Nigeria can go at it alone in a haphazard manner the way it is being done, living from event to event, day to day; OR fully partner with the Big Brother it tries so hard to emulate in a marriage made in heaven.

In exchange for full partnership privileges, Nigeria can request for the following:
· Building of Democracy
· Help with building the broken infrastructure
· Help with Security
· Funding for Peacemaking
· Technological Development

Then Nigeria would enjoy the conjugal rights of being with the greatest.

Most deals are discussed at birthdays, marriages and funerals. The choice is yours Nigeria. Happy Birthday and God Bless the United States of America.

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