Africa Wins One

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[Africa: Editorial]


The United States’ plans to create AFRICOM, a so-called U.S. Africa command, collapsed in ruin today with the announcement that the Americans will maintain the base in Germany.

It’s a resounding victory for Africa, thanks primarily to South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki. He was vociferous in denouncing Washington’s plans. He had also urged other African leaders to reject American military designs on Africa.

After a visit to the White House in November, Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua also announced that he wouldn’t let the U.S. set up base in his country and also opposed opposition to having it in any West African country. That’s why Bush, now touring Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia, crossed out Nigeria from his itinerary.

African countries might have been dragged into America’s own foreign wars, leaders like Mbeki had argued. Moreover, the U.S. would’ve been in position to increase meddling in the affairs of African countries.

African leaders also argued that the U.S. plan was actually spurred by Washington’s alarm at the growing influence of China. Thousands of Chinese companies now operate in Africa, and trade and investment have increased several fold between China and African countries.

The U.S., fearful it can’t compete when it comes to inking deals, wanted to use military might to discourage China from cornering the market for fuel and minerals in Africa.

Sadly, Liberia was the only African country that defied the call to reject American militarism, and announced preparedness to host the U.S. base. Liberia, has been devastated by years of war. It’s desperate and its leaders believe the country has to ingratiate itself to the United States in order to receive economic assistance and sustenance.

Ironically, it’s precisely over-dependence on the United States, and its machinations that had partially been the cause of Liberia’s nightmare.

Currently, Ethiopia and Uganda are the U.S.’s primarily client states in Africa; Uganda and Ethiopia are fighting a proxy war in Somalia on behalf of the United States, committing crimes against humanity in the process. Yet, even these two U.S. puppet states could not have survived the public relations disaster, had they stationed the U.S. command.

This time Africa stood together as one and the continent won. This is one instance where African leaders buried their petty differences and acted like statesmen, for the well-being of the African continent.


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