Wednesday's Drudge Report lede photo shows President Obama in the traditional toasting position, right hand raising glass high in friendship and cultural tribute to his guests. This gesture has existed from days of old when swords or daggers were concealed in the right hand or sleeve, ready if needed.
Tuesday night's guest list at the White House honored more than 50 African-nation dignitaries and their spouses. The U.S. Africa summit and the White House dinner has been wrought with media drama since it was announced the summit would go on despite concerns about the Ebola crisis the continent is currently undergoing.
Over at the Daily Mail link provided by Drudge, the full transcript of Obama's toast is available. The president is quoted as referencing his ancestral ties to the African continent, acknowledging his familial bond.
There were no daggers in Obama's sleeves nor the humanitarian warnings many hoped for in his salute. Obama proudly said, "I stand before you as the President of the United States and a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of a man from Africa."
CNN called the summit "historic," joining Obama in recognition that an opportunity to capitalize on the vast natural resources of Africa was at hand. If and when problems of African civil wars, poverty and disease are under control, then it will be easier and safer for the United States to counter China's current head-start investment in Africa. The pay-off is hoped to be big, the summit a "game-changer.
However, the drama behind the scene was fully covered by the Daily Mail and promoted on Drudge Report. Their headline reads: "Obama's Monster Ball: How the White House opened its doors to some of Africa’s most evil dictators and homophobes and turned blind eye to their human rights record"
The article highlighted the significance of the United States embrace of controversial leaders, never before welcomed to the White House. Within the content, the case was strongly made that among the guests were leaders with such appalling human rights records that it would be difficult to deny they qualified as dictators and despots, of the worst sort.
The records of too many of the African leaders could not live up to Obama's "focus on the ingredients of progress" of which he spoke in his tribute. Obama listed, "rule of law, open government, accountable and transparent institutions, strong civil societies, and respect for the universal human rights of all people."
Still, some have hope that the positives in the end will outweigh the negatives and lead the U.S. to a profitable economical partnership and alliance with Africa. They have stepped up to defend the reason why Obama was willing to be photographed with leaders whose records include undisputed acts of political oppression, homophobic outrages, and outright brutality.
Collectively, according to the Voice of America News, the 50 African leaders departed from Washington with a commitment of $37 billion, vaguely framed as investment in support of a peacekeeping plan. It is considered a strong commitment.
For comparison, one might consider from 2009 to now, the U.S. commitment has been approximately $892 million in the development of African peacekeeping. The largest portion of those funds was for U.S. training and equipping of "more than 250,000 troops and police for service in U.N. and AU peacekeeping operations."
Today, the Drudge Report has dropped the U.S. African story, but only a notch. The new Drudge Report banner is focused on a domestic issue, "Pot growers steal water in California drought."