Why don’t we care about Africa?
I borrowed the title of today’s post from Presidential Candidate, Governor Bill Richardson. In a story that was grotesquely swept under the rug, “US warships fired navy missiles at foreign fighters in Somalia.” We have wrote about military operations directed towards Africa before but this ups the ante…a lot.
This attack should be placed in the proper context and for that, I will point you to a report which explains US policy towards Africa since the Cold War. The report is long and the attack on Somalia won’t make sense unless you understand the broader history so I will spend most of my time summarizing the report. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States used African countries as proxies that fed into the larger conflict. This sort of manipulation was accompanied by investment by the client-countries of the US and Soviet Union, respectively. Then once the Cold War ended, so did the geo-political attention that was focused toward Africa. Instead, it was believed that the US could actually help Africa become democratized and survive on her own.
Things were going along fine until 18 US rangers were killed in a humanitarian intervention Somalia. After that, the American government had enough and made it extremely difficult for US forces to intervene military in humanitarian conflicts. This stubbornness led to President Clinton knowingly turning a blind eye while the Rwanda genocide ravaged hundreds of thousands of lives. The general theme of little to no direct involvement with Africa continued until 9/11.
After 9/11, the war on terror was everywhere and the horn of Africa is an extremely strategic front in that effort.
In practice, this policy has taken two distinct forms: the deployment of the Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) in December 2002, and the Pan-Sahel Initiative/Trans-Sahel Counter Terrorism Initiative, which also began in late 2002. CJTF-HOA, staffed by about 1500 troops, has the mission of “detecting, disrupting and ultimately defeating transnational terrorist groups operating in the region—denying safe havens, external support and material assistance for transnational terrorism in the region.”
And of course, shortly before 9/11, “Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner declared that African oil “has become a national strategic interest.” This national strategic interest is important because “the most significant challenge to U.S. policy in Africa in the coming years may be China. The immediate topic of most strategic discussions regarding China and Africa is oil competition.”
So here we have come full circle where African countries are pillaged for her people and resources then forgotten, used like pawns in the Cold War then neglected, now being pillaged for her resources and used as a pawn in the war on terror, with a strong possibility for a global war for oil on Africa’s soil. The missiles fired at Somalia represent a new front in the “so-called” war on terror. It should be noted that Somalia was the exit point in 1993 with the deaths of 18 US rangers and the entry point in 2007 via missile launches.
In the end, all loss of innocent life for profit should be roundly condemned and now that I think about it, the mess in Iraq is really an ‘accidental’ cleansing with estimates of up to 650,000 dead Iraqis and officials refusing to take an accurate count of Iraqi deaths, for fear of losing what little legitimacy they have. It’s not the soldier’s fault, it is Bush’s fault for getting us in this mess and I am sick and tired at INNOCENT Brown and Black people being mowed over to fight terrorism (a tactic, not an ideology) that is being exacerbated by the aggressive military tactics used by the US and her allies.
What would a war in Africa mean to you?
Stay up fam,