Prosper Africa: new slogan, old ideas
By Dan Mwafangeyo
ON December 13, 2018, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton gave a speech in the conservative Heritage Foundation about the Trump administration’s new “Africa strategy,” based on Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy doctrine.
In Bolton’s world, the predatory powers in Africa were not the European powers that raided the continent for black bodies to create the wealth of Europe and then craved up a weakened and devastated Africa among those same powers in 1884. It wasn’t the U.S. that murdered African leaders, overthrew African states and imposed brutal neo-colonial leaders. No, the real threat to African states were the “predatory” Chinese and, for whatever reasons he threw in the Russians, that, according to Bolton “stunt economic growth in Africa and…threaten financial independence of African nations.”
Therefore, in typical colonialist arrogance in which Bolton’s analysis represents objective truth, he states that African states have a choice. Either surrender to Chinese and Russia interests, or align themselves with the U.S. to secure “foreign aid” and avoid subversion from the U.S.!
Of course, there is a different position, a reading of African history from the point of view of the Africans. From that perspective, it was the predatory practices of European and U.S. imperialist policies that reduced Africa to its present situation as the richest continent on the planet in terms of natural resources, land and people – to a balkanized continent of 55 nations, economically disarticulated, politically fragmented and still suffering the cultural effects of alien colonial cultural imposition.
Bolton and the racist policy-makers in Washington don’t want to see African nations with any space to act independently of the dependence imposes on them by predatory trade regimes, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund debt peonage.
While China provides investment in African infrastructure and production capacities, the U.S. offers Africa militarism and subversion from Libya to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In practice, the Trump administration’s Africa strategy implies militarization of U.S. activities in Africa to undermine Chinese economic contribution, which has effectively supported modernization and growth in the continent.
Bolton didn’t mention in his statement that U.S. strategy for Africa which centres military recolonization would be a continuation of the U.S. policies of the last few decades and in particularly during the Obama administration that saw the expansion of the U.S. military presence by 1,900 %.
It is clear that the Trump “strategy” offers nothing substantially different. The policy continues to be more guns, more bases and more subversion.
The destruction of Libya that resulted in the enhanced military capacities of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, military and political support for President Kagame of Rwanda, President Museveni of Uganda and expansion of AFRICOM reflects the murderous continuity of U.S. African policy.
Bolton claims that in order to assist with African economic development Washington is “developing a new initiative called “Prosper Africa,” which will support U.S. investment across the continent, grow Africa’s middle class, and improve the overall business climate in the region”.
This approach is not in any way a departure from the Bush-Obama “African Growth and Opportunity Act”, which made similar claims and focused on an extractive trade policies to exploit African natural resources and served as basis of continued conflict over those resources in nations like the DRC where more than six million Africans have died in resource based conflicts.
Bolton’s claim that it is Russia and China that “stunt economic growth in Africa, and “threaten financial independence of African nations, “represents another example of either cynicism or the psychopathology of the white supremacist colonialist mind that renders it unable to cognitively apprehend objective reality.
Therefore, Bolton’s speech and Trump administration policy was not so much a new strategy but a cruder reaffirmation of a political stance on Africa that has always put U.S. interests first, absent the flowery language and liberal pretentions of Obama’s Cairo speech earlier in his administration. From Obama’s “exceptional nation” to Trumps’ “Make American Great Again,” it has always been about putting the interest of U.S. imperialism first.
It is absolutely clear that the U.S. and Europe has nothing to offer for the new world that must be built. In fact, when Europe and the U.S. are reduced in power and influence globally, it will be one of the most important events for collective humanity in the last thousand years.
We say to Bolton, Trump and other neoliberal democrats – U.S. and Europe out of Africa, shut down AFRICOM, Africa for Africans at home and abroad!