Bill Clinton’s triumphant return from Africa is a bad omen for the next two years. Temporarily liberated from the shackles of Paula Jones’s allegations, the President will now be free to rim the country exactly as the First Lady sees fit. During the President’s tour of Africa, we got a glimpse of what lies in store for us: a symbolic visit to a slave-trading emporium, symbolic embraces and handholding with retired terrorists like Nelson Mandela, a not-so-symbolic promise of hundreds of millions of American taxpayers’ dollars to improve education in Africa.

Most Americans figured out that the President’s denunciations of slavery had nothing to do with history or morality and everything to do with domestic polities. After betraying his blue-collar supporters on the trade issue, after Paula, Monica, and Kathleen unmasked his real interest in “women’s issues,” virtually the only secure block Clinton can count on are black voters. Since he cannot do anything tangible for them — more affirmative action, more welfare, more set-asides are temporarily out of the question —he expects to buy them off with tears and lamentations that will cost us no votes and him no taxes.

While some Americans professed to be shocked by Clinton’s public display of affection for Mr. Mandela, it was black South Africans who should have been shocked. Communist terrorist that he was (or is), Mandela has proved to be an effective national leader. The interest of our own beloved leader has never risen above broads and boodle, and some South Africans carried signs warning their fellow-citizens to lock up their daughters.

The master stroke of Clinton’s African adventure was the promise of $182 million in aid for education. Education is the liberal answer to everything. Education undermines religious superstition, liberates women and children, and inspires class envy. Even conservatives now think that education is the key to solving all problems: teach a kid a little arithmetic, have him memorize the Gettysburg Address, give him the habit of a regular schedule, and by the age of 16 he’ll be ready to clock in at the Ford factory in Kinshasa and spend his $200-a-month paycheck on Levis and Cokes.

We don’t even have to come up with the money ourselves. The bankers—those kindly international philanthropists—will be happy to lend the money. All they want are loan guarantees from the IMF and, ultimately, from the American taxpayer, and the master politician who has successfully sold his administration—inch by inch of White House bedrooms and minute by minute of presidential access time—has managed simultaneously to curry favor with international banks and poor black voters.

That is the nature of politics, of course, and if support for education in Africa could help those suffering nations, even some Republicans would be willing to bite the bullet. But will it? What foreign aid has done to African nations is a subject better left undiscussed. Unfortunately, Graham Hancock, in Lords of Poverty, has detailed disaster upon disaster of Western aid: it is the same old story of all government welfare programs—a history of boondoggles, ripoffs, and screw-ups. Above all, it is a story of countries like Somalia and Tanzania, whose economy and culture were devastated by the “help” given by the World Bank and the “development assistance” provided by European and North American businesses.

If colonization weren’t bad enough, the great colonial powers cut their losses and pulled out, leaving Third World countries to fend for themselves in a competitive world. Then to compound the crime, the Western powers strong armed these newly created nations into modernization schemes whose only real object is to provide international business with new markets and cheap labor.

Clinton’s next brilliant move is to complete the destruction of Africa by saddling its people with the American public education that every sane person over here would like to demolish. Twenty years from now, some naive neoconservative policy analyst will get his 15 minutes of fame pointing out the “unintended consequences” of the policies of this great man (a second Harry Truman). But we already have the advantage of hindsight, and we know that foreign aid to the Third World is a nasty scam. If Bill Clinton is not actually plotting the further ruin of the continent, he has no more concern for the welfare of its people than he has for the happiness of the women he invites into his office.