The Continent that Matters

An interesting story in the NY Times Sunday about Chinese relations with African nations. As China continues it’s meteoric rise to superpower status, they are taking a different approach than othes have. They are no asserting themselves through war or the threat of war; they are taking a more subtle, intellectual approach. The article talks about “diplomacy courses” that are open to 3rd world officials. The curriculum is distinctly Chinese and overtly anti-American. However, that is not what we will analyze here.

Why do they care about what African leaders think? No else seems to, especially not the Americans or Europeans. The article says that China can better communicate because a quarter-century ago, they we’re also a third world nation. What I like is the fact they are choosing to ally with these countries in the first place. The rules of power demand the creation of strategic alliances in the interests of all parties involved African nations make up a good chunk of the UN. As such, having those voters as friends is good for China. There are benefits politically and economically.

I see this as the first time in a long time that a country has realized the power of the entire continent of Africa. Sure, it may be for selfish reasons, but the act in and of itself is an admission of the benefits of treating these nations as respected equals. If it works like China wants, maybe the Europeans and is in the Western hemisphere will follow suit.

Sent via wireless handheld



About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: