President Barack Obama has failed to show good leadership when it comes to reducing the massive unemployment rates among African Americans, says Andrew Young, one of Martin Luther King’s closest deputies.
But the country’s first black president’s record as a whole stands up well to those of his predecessors, Young tells Newsmax.TV in a wide-ranging interview.
“He bailed out the banks and then he bailed out General Motors but really we have not done very much to stabilize the rights of the lower middle class and the poor,” said Young.
He said the richest one percent of the population controls more than 20 percent of the wealth.
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“Now if they are investing that back into America, then maybe it might help work for America. But that money is right now being put into gold and it’s being put into hedge funds that are not investing in America.
“The challenge is not just for government spending but the challenge is for the private sector to find ways to take on the problems of our economy."
When asked if Obama has made the economy worse with runaway spending, Young replied, “He has not made it any worse. He has not made it better fast enough.”
Young, who, in his long career after King’s death, became mayor of Atlanta, was elected to Congress three times and sat at the United Nations as President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador, said Obama will be judged fairly well by historians.
“If you’re judging him against Franklin Roosevelt, so far he’s a failure, but remember, Franklin Roosevelt had three terms and was elected to a fourth before we turned the American economy around.
“But if you are judging him against his predecessors, he’s true to course.”
Young defended Obama’s role in Libya, but said he would have preferred to have seen the country throw off the shackles of Moammar Gadhafi’s rule peacefully rather than with the violence that has been seen in recent weeks.
But he said, “I don’t put this on Obama largely, I put it largely on the French.”
Comparing the situation in Libya with the way Uganda rid itself of dictator Idi Amin during the Carter administration, he pointed out, “Amin was taken off the scene without much violence and he was allowed to disappear and die in anonymity, Uganda was not destroyed.”
He said Egypt too had managed to get rid of Hosni Mubarak without destroying the country. “Libya will have a hard time reconstructing its society and we’ll have trouble for years to come. Violence is not more efficient than non-violence.”
The fighting in Libya, Young said, will not make the Middle East a safer part of the world.
“That’s the reason I’ve always advocated a patient, non-violent approach.
“People will say that wouldn’t work with a man who was really eccentric, if not totally insane, but I don’t agree. We have been able in other places and in other times to work patiently without violence and get a result that is equivalent if not superior to the results of violent conflict.
“Whenever you have violence you destroy a lot of the society’s wealth and resources and history.”
He said that Carter has been much maligned by history, but there were notable successes that could be laid at his door, including the peaceful overthrow of race-based regimes in southern Africa, the transfer of the Panama Canal to Panama and the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt.
Of the last example, he said, “It took time and people didn’t think it would work but it lasted for almost 40 years.
“Non-violence requires a lot more patience but (it) is more productive for all the citizens of the society in question, and also it’s more productive for American interests. America’s interests are not just democratic, America’s interests are economic and we need trading partners.”
Libya, he said, was more repressive under Gadhafi than most other regimes, but negotiations, especially involving U.S. allies in the Middle East could have worked. “I doubt that we would have been any further behind than we are now,” he said.
“We saw in Jimmy Carter something of the influence of Martin Luther King in a non-violent approach to the world,” said Young.
“I don’t want us to forget that for four years, American soldiers didn’t kill anybody, and no American soldiers were killed in battle and we ended up with just about a balanced budget. I prefer that.
“Without that kind of stabilization of the planet, it would have been very hard for President Reagan to do what he did.”
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