Editorial: USA @247: Feting a Global Giant and a Strategic traditional partner

ON TUESDAY, JULY 4, 2023, the United States of America will be celebrating its 247th independence anniversary as a sovereign nation having fought and granted a statehood from the British empire on July 4, 1776. However, the US mission in Liberia last Thursday organized a well befiting program attended by President George Manneh Weah at the head of an array of government officials as well as members of the diplomatic community, captains of industries, other distinguished personalities, among others to commemorate a day that meant so much for the American people, the global community and Liberia in particular in acknowledgment of the traditional and historic relationship between the two countries over the years.

WE ARE TOLD by history that when the founding fathers of the United States signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, they declared America’s independence in order to establish the first free society in the world. They pledged that each citizen would have the unalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” establishing the framework for their Constitution and Bill of Rights.

BUT AMERICANS DID not perfect those rights simply by declaring them; they fought and died to establish those rights for themselves and all who came after. Since then, America has attracted so many people the world over who went there looking to attain those liberties and the opportunities they present; to escape poverty or oppression and live their lives by those rights granted by their form of government.

SO HAVING REFLECTED on the ideals on which the country was founded and how it has positioned itself globally to speak for the sovereignty and rights of every country, promoted and upheld the value of human dignity, we want to join them in this worthy festive period and wish them many years of greatness than ever before.

NO DOUBT, LIBERIA’S foundation is rooted in the history of domestic politics of slavery and race in the United States of America as well as by US foreign policy interests to the extent that in 1816, a group of white Americans founded the American Colonization Society (ACS) to deal with the challenge of the growing number of free blacks in the United States by resettling them in Africa which resulted in the foundation of Liberia. Since then, both countries have worked together, most often on a common front to provide solutions to the many problems facing the world.

TOGETHER BOTH COUNTRIES have provided the foundation for global organizations such as the defunct League of Nations, the United Nations and during both the first and second world wars, stood side by side with the allied forces to confront the creeping dictators who were threat to world peace. Today, Liberia has stood by the United States of America to project ideas aimed at promoting world peace, security, freedom and prosperity.

SINCE THE RECOGNIZING Liberia’s independence in 1862, the United States of America remains our major strategic partner that has contributed in no small ways in the socio-economic development of the country through numerous pieces of assistance covering various sectors, be it education, health and sanitation, defense, agriculture, infrastructure as well as strengthening democratic governance in the country. These and many more impacted on the growth and development of the country.

CATALOGUING THE CONTRIBUTIONS of the United States of America to the growth, development and welfare of Liberia will not be complete if we ignore the role US played during our brutal civil war that nearly took the country into extinction and the advent of the deadly Ebola virus and the COVID-19 pandemic.

FOR ABOUT 14 years, Liberia was rocked by a fratricidal war that destroyed every fabric of our national lives and in the process sending the country backwards and has been very difficult for the country to fully recover. The Unites States worked with countries, especially the ECOWAS states to find a workable solution which led to the cessation of hostilities and the return to normalcy through a democratic election in 2005. Since then, the US has been in the forefront to consolidate on the gains of  peace and deepening the thrust of our nascent democracy.

LIBERIA HAS WITNESSED three electoral cycles since 2005 including a historic one in 2017 where for the first time in the history of the country we witnessed an opposition coalition defeating the ruling party in a keenly contested free , fair and competitive election. The   Fourth edition is set to take place on October 10, 2023 and efforts are being mounted to be hassle free. All these successes would not have been possible if the US had not played a major role in the process, for which Liberia remains very grateful.

AS MENTIONED EARLIER, the EBOLA virus and COVID-19 besides causing the loss of lives of many Liberians and other residents, seriously and negatively impacted the productive capacity of the country, aggravating untold hardship on the people and strangulating the economy. Again the US has been forthcoming to provide stimulus packages as well as technical support to the ailing economy so as to restore the productive base of the country.

DESPITE INITIAL SETBACKS, the economy is positively responding to the recovery process and there are signs of bouncing back to normalcy and if possible, beyond the stage it was when these deadly diseases struck.

THIS YEAR’S CELEBRATION is coinciding with the holding of a crucial general election which is important to the relative peace and the democracy we have been savoring. We are thrilled by the level of positive thoughts which came from the US outgoing Ambassador to Liberia, Michael McCarthy during the celebration last Thursday. Coming out from a diplomat who has been very vocal against corruption and other malpractices in governance is indeed a good sign that the future has hope for the country.

WE TAKE THESE assurances not to be fluke but genuine in the spirit of further building on the long bond of friendship and solidarity that has been existing for more than 150 years. We take pride in this relationship and once again congratulate the great people of the United States on this historic occasion of their national lives and hope that more mutual and rewarding benefits come to both end of this solidarity.

HAPPY 247TH ANNIVERSARY America, Long Live and prosperity.

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