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The new U.S. Strategy to counter Russia and China in Africa

28.12.2018
Article from AFRIC Editorial
US National security adviser John Bolton on December 13 laid out a new strategy during a remark made at the Heritage Foundation, indicating that the U.S. will now choose its African partners more carefully.

Bolton directly criticized Russia and China, which are competing with the U.S. for influence on the continent.
“The predatory practices pursued by China and Russia stunt economic growth in Africa, threaten the financial independence of African nations, inhibit opportunities for U.S. investment, interfere with U.S. military operations, and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security interests,” Bolton said, according to the prepared remarks.

The United States is uncomfortable with Russia and China increasing their political influence on the continent, as the national security adviser Bolton clearly stated. Definitely, reflecting China’s political influence in Africa as a national security issue is a great success for Mr. Bolton. It is, however, not surprising that Mr. Bolton did not need to ask the opinion of Africans about Russia and China, which he accused as “predator”.

IS UNITED STATES’ CLASSICAL AFRICAN POLICY CHANGING?

The new strategy is better termed “Trump’s African strategy” rather than “US’s new African policy”. As it is known, the ex-businessman and new president Donald Trump’s approach to all issues is trade based. The new strategy is the same approach. Washington with Trump’s classic and “vulgar” approach threatens’ African leaders not to establish a commercial relationship with China and Moscow.

Trump wants to focus on shifting U.S. spending on Africa from aid to investment and trade, said the administration officials, who were granted anonymity to discuss the speech before it was delivered.

A country with very rich mineral resources, such as Sudan, suffered from economic problems for a long time because of American embargoes. The first method of Trump’s “deterrence” is the embargo.

USAİD PROGRAM AND AFRICA

Indeed, the United States is currently the country which provides the most assistance to the continent. In fact, in 2016, the Department of State and USAID provided approximately $8.3 billion. Also in 2017 $8.7 billion dollars was provided for development, security, and food assistance to Africa.

However, it seems that the Trump administration thinks that they cannot get the necessary “return” from the “unrequited” benefits.

“The United States will no longer provide indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent,” Bolton said. He added that “countries that repeatedly vote against the United States in international forums, or take action counter to U.S. interests, should not receive generous American foreign aid.” says Bolton.

CHINA

Sudan, Mali, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Beijing administration is trying to take military congress legislation passed earlier this year creating a $60 billion İnternational Development Agency, widely viewed as an alternative to China’s ‘One belt One road’ project. The credit of the İnternational Development Agency will of course be given to countries that can meet the strategic interests of the United States. Most probably, African countries that refuse to work with the İDA and will continue to work with Beijing will likely be subjected to various embargo and sanctions.

The US government is disturbing military plans in Djibouti rather than China’s investments in Africa. China is also exercising major moves as a global military power on the continent, deploying peacekeepers in South as measures to protect its massive investments in Africa.

On the other hand, the shifts in favor of Beijing in the Red Sea are very disturbing for Americans. For China, great strategic importance is the Red Sea maritime route, which guarantees its own global trade. Absolutely, around the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, American Chinese political and military competition will continue for a long time.

RUSSIA

Military and commercial cooperation with these countries can halt American hegemony to a certain extent on the continent.

On the other hand, the Kremlin’s cooperation with Africa in the field of nuclear energy is causing serious loss of prestige for the United States. The emergence of Rosatom as a new alternative for Africa in the field of energy increases Moscow’s political influence in the region. On the other hand, American nuclear companies do not have the chance to compete with Rosatom on price.

Bolton’s speech resembles the Nixon era’s anti-So Russian American competition in Africa has a different meaning than Chinese American competition. The United States sees China as a competitor in commercial finance in Africa in general. However, the Kremlin is a serious opponent for Washington, both politically and commercially. The Russia-Africa relations that the Soviet Union established has a very different meaning today.

The Kremlin actually develops collaborations with African countries despite the possibility of American embargo or with military viet policies. The only difference is President Trump’s expectation of the outcome of this policy is “just” money.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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