U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton announcing a “Prosper Africa” initiative was no departure from U.S. foreign policy toward Africa. He simultaneously threatened China and Russia, while heaping scorn upon African nations. Our siblings in African nations struggle to overcome the destruction caused by European colonization, as well as the American interventions exemplified by the destruction of Libya, the destabilization of Somalia, and the fomenting of conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa.
Bolton’s bluster against Chinese and Russian influence in Africa was borne of panic and was full of bald-faced lies. He made no mention of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which has put most African nations under the military control of the United States. But even so, the United States lags behind China, which is investing in African infrastructure and forgiving debt demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Bolton charged China and Russia have predatory designs in Africa, but it is Europe and the United States that have committed the greatest thefts ever since the 19th-century scramble for the continent kicked off at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85.
Bolton warned African nations to ally themselves to the United States or risk the threat of intervention or the end of foreign aid. He lied about Russia and China, projecting onto them the wrongdoing that the United States has committed across the globe. In calling them “corrupt,” he exposed the United States’ own corrupt intention onto its rivals for economic and military power.
Based on his statements, it is clear Bolton believes African nations have no sovereignty and no agency to act upon. It is clear he views them as pawns in a superpower game, pawns that are incapable of making any decisions on their own. He further insulted African nations by mentioning “wasted U.S. tax dollars” on seemingly corrupt and incompetent African states. According to Bolton, Africa has no rights that white-run nations need to respect.
China and Russia have the right to engage with African nations and Africans have every right to do business with or ally themselves with the states of their choosing. They are already victimized by post-colonial interference, and the strong men that Bolton referenced wouldn’t be in power unless the United States and European countries wanted them in place. Numerous attempts at independence have been thwarted for decades as leaders such as Patrice Lumumba and Thomas Sankara fell victim to Western meddling.
Bolton’s threats are proof that the United States has nothing to offer except the kind of hyper-militarization that sent Rwandan and Ugandan proxies into Congo, which resulted in the deaths of 6 million people.
Donald Trump is no outlier. His administration is continuing the work of past presidents. His predecessor Barack Obama and other U.S. presidents practiced the same politics of military and economic aggression against African nations.
John Bolton’s screed proves the need for the Black Alliance for Peace’s demand that the United States disband AFRICOM and remove its influence from the continent. BAP and other progressive, Pan-African forces are stepping forward to challenge the deadly policies of the United States. If China and, belatedly, Russia are expanding their influence, it is because Africans themselves see the advantage in these alliances.
The Black Alliance for Peace calls upon the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to hold hearings on the impact of U.S. militarization in Africa. BAP calls for an end to AFRICOM and to all foreign interference in the affairs of African nations. War, drone strikes and sanctions have devastated nations and millions of people, and must end now.
Sign our petition to shut down AFRICOM: tinyurl.com/ShutDownAFRICOM
Learn about our U.S. Out of Africa! campaign: blackallianceforpeace.com/USoutofAfrica
U.S. Out of Africa!
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Photo credit: Esam Omran/Reuters