United States deploys an African front against Russia and China

Petr Akopov

Washington is hosting the second US-Africa summit in history. Everyone needs Africa – both as a pantry of minerals, and as a promising and last fast-growing market for goods and services, and as a potential world factory. What Europeans need more than anyone else is a stable Africa, otherwise the flow of refugees and migrants from the neighboring continent, which already has twice the population of Europe (and is expected to exceed three times by the middle of the century), will become an increasing problem for the aging Old World.
Therefore, all serious powers are fighting for influence on Africa and the sympathy of Africans – the USA, Great Britain, the EU, China, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India, Japan, even Brazil and South Korea. Everyone offers African countries various goods, projects, investments, humanitarian aid and training – such an interest flatters African vanity, but at the same time has little effect on the state of affairs in the countries of the Black Continent.
Most of them are still highly unstable, poor (even those who have been rained on by petrodollars) and torn apart by internal contradictions (and some also by conflicts with neighbors). Who is to blame? Those who for centuries pumped out wealth from Africa, and then gave them independence along arbitrarily cut borders, and often purely formal? Yes, Europe’s fault is undeniable, no matter how much she resents the corruption and savagery of local elites now, these elites are largely trained and educated under European influence (and this is not only about training at the Sor-bonne or at the Sandhurst military academy), but the economies of independent countries themselves rema-ined under the control of the West. In recent decades, there are more and more not Western states, but gl-obal corporations (however, this was already the case during all kinds of East In-dia companies), but it didn’t change the point. Africa depended on the West, whose goal was to build a single global humanity. And the place of Africa in it was quite understandable – a supplier of resources, labor and a sales market.
In the 60-80s, the West was hindered by competition with the USSR: the country was seriously present in Africa and many co-untries of the Black Cont-inent were guided by Mos-cow. But then Russia left, evaporated, leaving only islands of influence associated with large arms contracts and partly oil production. But instead of Russia, since the 1990s, China has been rapidly increasing its influence, and as a result, a situation that is completely new for the West has developed by now, in which the question “who lost Africa?” will soon arise.
Yes, this was already discussed in the mid-70s, when Marxist partisans oriented towards Moscow came to power in the former Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique. But now there is neither the USSR nor the socialist camp, and in these countries capitalism, and Africa is still slipping out of the hands of the West. Who is guilty? In his opinion, all the same who, in general, does not allow the West to live on a global scale are China and Russia.
Therefore, at the summit in Washington, African leaders are frightened by the destabilizing influence of China and Russia, countering it with American plans to help Africa. A country that has a separate African command in the structure of its armed forces, military bases and the experience of numerous military interventions in the countries of the continent (including together with the Europeans), scares blacks with Russian and Chinese influence! Russia does not have a single base in Africa (negotiations are underway to build in Sudan), China has one in Djibouti, and recently our military advisers have been operating in a couple of countries in French Africa. That is, the scale of our military presence on the continent is incomparable with the Western one, but the threat of destabilization, of course, comes from the Russians and the Chinese.
The reason for American concern is that huge Chinese investments, as well as tying the trade of African countries to the Middle Kingdom, are dangerous in themselves, of course, but under Western control over local elites, they are quite reversible. Not everywhere (there are countries in which China’s position is very strong, durable and unshakable), but in a considerable number of countries. But Chinese investments and infrastructure projects in conjunction with Russian military-technical assistance, personnel training, military experts and economic projects are already an impenetrable wall. With which the West does not understand at all what to do, and what in West Africa, in Central, in East.
So we have to scare Africans with the fact that Russia “continues to impose cheap weapons” and deploys “mercenaries all over the continent”, China is preparing a debt loop for them, and in general Moscow and Beijing “are not always transparent in terms of what they are doing, and this creates problems which will eventually lead to destabilization, if not already.” Even half a century ago, such horror stories did not really affect Africans, although at that time Washington also focused on the “communist threat” to Africa, turning it into a battlefield with the USSR – many African countries understood that they needed cooperation with Moscow to strengthen their own independence. Now the situation has become even more difficult for the collective West: not only it has money and technology, it is not even so much it. African countries can take them not only from Moscow and Beijing (whose importance for them already exceeds not only American, but sometimes Western as a whole), but also from Turkey, India, Brazil or South Korea. And these countries – even those of them who are military ally of the United States, like the Turks and Koreans – are playing their own game in Africa, pursuing their own interests. Therefore, by diversifying their ties and playing on the contradictions between the great powers, Africans get the opportunity to conduct a truly independent policy and strengthen real sovereignty. pursue their own interests. Therefore, by diversifying their ties and playing on the contradictions between the great powers, Africans get the opportunity to conduct a truly independent policy and strengthen real sovereignty. pursue their own interests. Therefore, by diversifying their ties and playing on the contradictions between the great powers, Africans get the opportunity to conduct a truly independent policy and strengthen real sovereignty.
Yes, it is difficult for them, but the processes of both regional (at the level of individual parts of the continent) and all-African integration will still gain momentum. And the role and importance of Russia and China in this will only increase, because over the six decades of relations (if we take only Black Africa) with our countries, Africans have realized that the Russians and the Chinese are reliable partners interested in strengthening their states.
The West is retreating in Africa and that is why it is increasingly betting on the demonization of Moscow and Beijing. The recent remark of Josep Borrell is very indicative in this sense: the head of European diplomacy was indignant that “Russia shifts the blame, distorts reality and finds its audience in certain parts of the world”:
“I saw on TV these African young people on the streets of Bamako with posters: “Putin, thank you! You saved the Donbass and now you will save us!” It’s shocking! It can be assumed that these people don’t know where the Donbass is, maybe they don’t even know who Putin is. But they are mobilizing in the streets.”
Putin has already responded to Borrell, recalling that “there is practically no African country that would not have received our political, informational, economic, and sometimes military support” and “in Africa they know what Russia is, where Russia, in Africa, they know the role that Russia played in the course of liberation from colonialism.” But the process of real decolonization of Africa is far from over, and, unlike the West’s dream of a mythical “decolonization of Russia”, it has excellent prospects. Thanks to the same Russia, which has enough strength not only to resolve issues of its own security and restore its territorial unity.