In an article written by a Washington Post blogger and later briefly analyzed and linked to on the Foreign Policy website, the new Africa Command, which has been created to supposedly focus on the globe’s most neglected region, approved by Donald Rumsfeld, will be operational within two months. Some say this mark an important change in US policy more focused on preventative measures rather than Cold War posturing. Currently there are five commands, three of those split the African region. It has been suggested that the creation of the Africa Command will allow a single organization for agencies like the State Department and CIA. Now stop, the State Dept. and CIA? The last time US military was based in Africa was during World War II. More recently the CIA has been involved on the continent throughout the Cold War and, I am fairly certain, currently. Through the US government the CIA did some ‘wonderful’ work: propping up numerous “democratic” dictators (Milton Obote and Idi Amin in Uganda) and assassinating a true democratic leader, Lumumba in Zaire (DRC), and setting another dictator, Mobutu. These are just a few examples of the track record of the US military and CIA on the African continent, not to mention the misguided attempts in Somalia and the fearful neglect of the Rwandan genocide. The US military has many links to rebel movements and the put-down of rebel movements in roughly six African countries since 1990.
The Washington Post blogger, William Arkin, is quoted in the Foreign Policy blog that he does not believe the new Africa Command will be a positive for the continent. The FP piece then asks: “Why?” The obvious answer to that question is just look at what the US government has done or attempted to do in Africa. With the US’s current actions and their ‘putting Africa on the back burner’ (or maybe its not even on the stovetop) I really do not think much has changed. A new command to place the US military and CIA present on the continent cannot be a positive change in policy. The US has provided military support to Sahel countries with known oil resources such as Chad and Ethiopia, but not Sudan. The US military is afraid of actual action on the African continent since the 1993 Somalia mission. A genocide is by far too much for the current administration to handle. Bush on genocide, “Not on my watch.” Try opening your eyes.
Interesting to take note of is China’s Africa Policy released last year. Last year I wrote a post, check it out, about the new African policy focused on helping to build infrastructure regardless of political regime type in exchange for natural resources. A policy without ethics some might say. Is this new Africa Command a front to the recent increase in Chinese aid and involvement on the continent? Keep your eyes on the lookout for US military actions in Africa. Also check out the Times article on the Africa Command.