Clinton meets Africa’s first democratically elected female president

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Hillary Clinton, April 21, 2009 | TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images   Today Clinton met with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and the first democratically elected female president in Africa. (In the file photo above, the two meet in Washington on April 21.) Clinton and the U.S. government are fully backing Sirleaf in ...

582176_090813_ClintonSirleafJohnson2.jpg
582176_090813_ClintonSirleafJohnson2.jpg

 

Today Clinton met with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and the first democratically elected female president in Africa. (In the file photo above, the two meet in Washington on April 21.)

Clinton and the U.S. government are fully backing Sirleaf in her run for re-election in 2011. "We have looked at the entire record that President Sirleaf brings to office. … We are supportive, and will continue to be so, because we think that Liberia is on the right track as difficult as the path might be," Clinton said after her meeting with Sirleaf.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Hillary Clinton, April 21, 2009 | TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Hillary Clinton, April 21, 2009 | TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images
 

Today Clinton met with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia and the first democratically elected female president in Africa. (In the file photo above, the two meet in Washington on April 21.)

Clinton and the U.S. government are fully backing Sirleaf in her run for re-election in 2011. “We have looked at the entire record that President Sirleaf brings to office. … We are supportive, and will continue to be so, because we think that Liberia is on the right track as difficult as the path might be,” Clinton said after her meeting with Sirleaf.

Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission doesn’t want Sirleaf to run because she used to back former warlord and ex-President Charles Taylor, who’s on trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone.

Sirleaf apologized last month for supporting Taylor, saying she did so to remove former dictator Samuel Kanyon Doe. “Like thousands of other Liberians at home and abroad who did [support Taylor], I have always admitted my early support for Charles Taylor to challenge the brutality of a dictatorship,” Sirleaf said in July 28 radio address.

Given the U.S. practice of backing dictators in order to challenge the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it seems like Clinton would understand Sirleaf’s logic in once supporting a warlord.

Photo: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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