March 15, 2007

Foreign Policy Deja Vu

For longterm observers of international politics the recent years with the resurgeance of interest in central Asia as American, European, Russian and Chinese troops face each other in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kirgistan, Kazakhstan, southern Russia and western China with disputes about pipelines and whether they should run out via Turkey, Georgia, Russia or China has seemed to revive the classic Great Game. Recent discussions in the US intelligence services and across the world has focused on another revival of nineteenth Century norms- a new Scramble for Africa between the United States and China. Recent discussions have focused upon the Chinese attempts to diplomatically seize the initiative in holding a summit for African leaders. Hard on the heels of that development, comes the inauguration of a new American command Africom. As Paul Rogers has argued in this week's Open Democracy, the creation of a new African Command reflects US insecurity about resources within Africa and terrorism. He suggests a parallel to the creation of CENTCOM in the early 1980s, an effort to stabilise the Middle East and provide the US with a rapid response force for crises in that region. Similarly Africom reflects the rise of Africa, its potential terrorists and also its resources in the thinking of those interested in the future of International Politics.


Pappusrif said...

I am surprised there is no comment in here. Maybe, Africa does not interest many.
An "war" of influence between the US and China but also India is carried out in Africa (but also in Latin America and Central Asia). These countries will probably be the three principal economic powers in the middle of XXI century. Will this competition support or leads to the development of Africa ? I am not sure. I am even persuaded that that will nourish corruption and revives the frontiers dispute in the oil-bearing zones. Am I pessiistic ? I hope I'm wrong. China (as India) began their oil investments in States in margin of the international community like Sudan, Libya and Angola. China, and to the lesser extent, India are essential as being the only powers able to offer Africa hope of a realistic and pragmatic economic development. This dynamics of co-operation South-South breaks with what the Occident has been used to offer for the African continent. India, which does not have financial and diplomatic powers of China, seeks to promote a true partnership with the Africans and Latin-Americans. The influence of China in Latin-America, is denounced like a true threat for Washington. The presence of China offers a counterweight to the influence of the US. Inevitably, China (and soon India) will enter in conflict, in Africa, Middle East, Latin-America and in other areas, with the US, Japan and maybe European powers. The Bush government invaded Iraq to ensure its seizure on the crude oil reserves of the country and it prepares a campaign against Iran to advance their economical and strategic ambitions. No doubt that Washington will counteract in an aggressive way any Chinese challenge against the American interests in key strategic areas of the world.