Just last month (December, 2022), the US hosted a summit with African nations, the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. This was the second one since 2014.
Four countries—Guinea, Sudan, Mali and Burkina Faso (all Muslim-majority nations)—were not allowed to attend “because coups in those nations led to unconstitutional changes in power.”
It doesn’t take long to figure out how nonsensical this is. As US News pointed out, Zimbabwe was invited despite the fact they’ve had plenty of questionable power grabs in their history. Eritrea was also not invited because the US “does not have full diplomatic relations with the country.”
Biden made the following statement during a speech at the summit:
“As we engage with your countries, the United States will always lead with our values. Support for democracy, respect for the rule of law, commitment to human rights, responsible government — all are part of our DNA.
That doesn’t mean we always get everything right. We surely don’t. And the work of democracy is never finished or never guaranteed. It’s about consistent and constant self-improvement.
But that’s why democracy is the best tool we have to address the wide range of challenges we all face, and that belief is shared by Africans and Americans alike.”
Is the desire for democracy really shared by Africans and Americans alike though?
Abraham Kuol Nyuon, an academic and “political analyst and associate professor of political science at the University of Juba in South Sudan,” had this to say:
“‘I do strongly believe that the United States is still seen as a superpower from the African perspective, but most African leaders do not want to align with its promotion of democracy.’…‘They need the support of America but not the system of America.’”
It seems like maybe Biden should ask around a little more.
Even in Abraham Kuol Nyuon’s home country of South Sudan, the meddling of the US has created problems:
“But, as with the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, analysts say South Sudan is yet another example of US foreign policy over-reach. ‘US efforts in South Sudan seemed like a final spasm of naive American nation-building, which has all collapsed in epic fashion,’ says Alan Boswell, the South Sudan expert at Crisis Group, a think tank.
‘Most of that is born out of failure of leadership, failing to become the nation state that people aspired to – a state where institutions, not individuals, rule,’ he adds.”
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Hissène Habré: America’s Brutal Puppet in Chad
Another fairly recent example of the US meddling in Africa is the US/CIA support for the ruthless Chadian dictator, Hissène Habré (or Husayn Habri, حسين حبري), who was propped up by the oh-so-loved-at-home, killer-of-innocents-abroad, Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s support of Habré predates even his meddling in Nicaragua.
Reagan used Habré as a means to counter Gaddafi, funneling arms to him and helping him rise to power. Reed Brody, the lawyer who was crucial in catching and trying Habré, explains this move of the US as follows:
“And then the U.S. and France supported Habré throughout his eight years as a bulwark against Gaddafi, the same way, frankly, that the U.S. and France and the West are supporting the current dictatorship of Chad as an island of stability in a region now dominated by ISIS and by jihadists and with a lot of instability in Sudan, in northern Nigeria, in Cameroon.”
I think what he left out is that all of this instability is also, in part, due to US meddling and their War on Terror®.
You can get a sense of the level of US involvement here, again from Brody:
“The documents of these political police…provide the names of 1,208 people who died in detention, of almost 12,000 prisoners of the DDS [Habré’s secret police, the Documentation and Security Directorate]. The U.S., we know, trained some of those DDS officials—not in torture, as far as we know, but many of them came to the United States for counterinsurgency, for—in particular, for bomb diffusion and for antiterrorism. We know that the head of the DDS, at his own trial in N’Djamena last year, testified…that he was constantly accompanied by a CIA agent who was advising him. Names of the U.S. agents who are mentioned by the Chadians…are names of people who are listed in the State Department registry as people who worked at the U.S. Embassy. So there was a connection between the United States and Hissène Habré’s political police.”
What to make of this level of involvement in Africa by the US?
And what to make of the fact that so many of these violent crimes are forgotten, along with those who help make them possible?
It’s pretty tiring at this point, for all of us, as we can pretty much see that it’s all merely variations on a regular theme. Along with the standard geopolitics is the all-too-familiar perspective from which much of the world (the West in particular) views Africa: a place for resources; a place to be controlled.
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Alongside ‘security,’ the usual geopolitics are taking place in this conference—the US wants to counterbalance China’s increasing presence on the continent; fight against Russia’s paramilitary Wagner Group; and of course, increase their own economic partnerships. No shockers there.
It has also been reported that:
“White House officials said they plan to confront thorny issues, like African nations’ reluctance to condemn Russia over its February invasion of Ukraine.”
Here we go again. While this is nothing too surprising by now, it is still as annoying as it is laughable. If that’s what they want, then African nations should demand that America condemns their own invasion of Iraq and that Ukraine should also condemn its participation in Iraq. African nations should also ask the US to condemn its predatory use of the War on Terror® in Africa. And that’s probably just the starting point.
Earlier this year, congressmen had already introduced the “Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act” which is meant to function as a way to punish African nations who rely on Russian support within Africa. With this act, the government would give more attention to “monitor[ing] and report[ing] on Russian political influence and disinformation operations and the activities of Russian, Russia-connected, or Russian-funded private military contractors in Africa.”
The congressman who sponsored this bill (which passed the House) said that it was “a demonstration of how Putin’s war in Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s corrupt and illicit activities in Africa to fund that war and other exploits, have worked to unify Congress and the international community.”
What a joke. It’s not like the US has no blood on its hands.
No matter how sweet the talk, or how fear-packed the message about the Russians is, let’s never, ever forget that programs like the War on Terror® keep Africa at the mercy of the US and its European satellites. And while the older days of colonialism were dominated more by Europe than the US, let’s not forget that the US helped to perpetuate the colonial, master-slave relations between the poorer countries and the richer ones, especially since World War II ended and up until now.
Why would they want the system of the US anyway? Especially now, when they can see that the US system is crumbling, partially due to the nature of allowing the will (read: base desires) of the majority to rule and, to a greater extent, due to the fact that it relies so heavily on global dominance, through forced subservience and exploitation, in order to remain strong.
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Democracy is monarchy with extra steps. Average Joe doesn’t make any difference, the candidates all comes from established parties/castes. They go to the same schools. They are all liberals made of the same stuff, fighting for power.
In the West, since the cold war, there are no wars of ideologies.
Christianity is dying and even the Christians themselves are liberals to the core.
Communism is just an economic model, not a complete solution.
Monarchy or not, no meaningful difference.