Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The thirst for oil continues...

The new 'Scramble For Africa' has begun. This time, it is not between competing European colonial powers, but a race between the US and China. It comes at a time that the continent is facing perhaps its gravest threat since the period of European colonisation, that of human-caused climate change.

Last month, following a series of air strikes in Somalia, the Bush administration announced their approval for a Pentagon plan to establish a commmand centre for Africa (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM) to oversee US military activities on the continent. As Salim Lone, former spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq, writes in Common Dreams, this new engagement 'is the last thing the world's most impoverished continent needs.'

When the Chinese president toured eight African countries to negotiate oil-related deals and announced multi-billion dollar aid deals, the move was roundly condemned by Western commentators on the grounds of the ignoring of human rights violations in nations such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, plus undoing much of the efforts made by politicians and campaigners in recent years to unburden Africa from the decades of debt enslavement and poverty. Yet when the US expands its primary reliance on the use of force to pursue its strategic interests to a part of the world with the most to lose by such an action, there is barely a peep of concern to be heard.

There are many wars still raging or areas continuing to experience post-conflict tensions in much of Africa, including still raging Cote d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, in previous decades there have also been notable successes in ending long periods of conflict, such as Namibia and Mozambique.

As Lone writes 'Africom will...militarise American relations with Africa, and militarise numerous African countries. It will also tilt these countries' policies towards the use of force. And it will inflame Muslim passions and create more angry militants opposed to a US military presence in their country or region'.

In fiscal year 2003, the US Department of Defense itemised ownership or rental of 702 overseas military bases in about 130 countries, with a further 6000 bases in US territory. Clearly, with the setting up of AFRICOM, the intention is to expand that number across Africa.

When will the human race learn that force only generates more force, aggression generates more aggression, and that stealing other people's resources only encourages them the push back against such actions? When will we finally begin to recognise other people in other places as just the same as us, and treat them equally?

Nelson Mandela said, 'If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner'. A better world for all is possible when we stop looking for enemies and start looking for partners.


Anonymous said...

Come on - it has nearly been a month since your last post!

Too long to wait. Bloody lazy, that's what you are!

best wishes

Globalism said...


Cheers for the comment! I'm glad to know that I have readers out there even if I don't know who they are. I can assure you that I've not posted in a while as I've been up to my ears in all sorts of other stuff.

Posted on my other 'collected writings' blog today, but I've not gone live with that one yet.

Next post is pending...gimme a few more days!