Is Africa The Next Cold War Theater?

Published on (copied on Africa News), by Nii OkaiJah, 03 December, 2007.

China’s massive economic drive into Africa and the recent creation of the African military command by the United States may trigger a cold war on the continent. In such an event, Africa may pay a price for its independence because of its leaders’ failure to establish a United States of Africa equipped with a strong military, economic, political and diplomatic apparatus. It is imperative that Africa heed its own prophet …

… According to U.S. officials, Africom is aimed at better coordinating and cohesive handling of the work of three different command centers, all of them based outside Africa.

The new force, with an initial 300 employees, is temporarily based in Germany while the debate is waged whether it should be sited on the continent or not. So far, strife-torn Liberia is the only African country to have agreed to have the headquarters in that country.

Opposition is strong in Africa because much as Africans are economically poor, they cherish their political independence, and see any military program without their approval in the way of planning a conquest. A grim reminder of this was echoed in a recent article in the Chicago Defender, a leading African American newspaper. Writing under the headline, “Conquest and greed: That’s what made America great,” Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, stated, “The slavery, genocide and empire building got America off to a good start – free land and free labor. You can’t lose with that… Free land and massive infusion of cheap labor later made it easy for the United States to be ready and take advantage of the Industrial Revolution.” He continued, “We [Americans] were well prepared from it. It made us a military and industrial might during the 20th century,” [and beyond].

Today, Americans’ greatest need is energy to maintain their power and high lifestyles. With consumption of energy so high, dependence is on foreign sources. Until recently, the Middle East led the world in meeting this need by providing 20 percent of U.S. oil imports. However, according to recent reports from the U.S. Energy Administration, African countries now provide the U.S. with 24 percent of its oil needs. In addition, Africa provides the U.S. with substantial amounts of strategic minerals and raw materials for American industries.

Obviously, the U.S. wants Africa safe for its oil, free of threat of terrorism and Chinese competition. At a recent meeting with African Union leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, General William Ward, the black soldier heading the US African Force stated, “Africom will assist our African partners in increasing their capacity to provide a stable environment here in Africa” …

… Under these circumstances, Africans must be warned about the new threats from the West and East just after emerging from gruesome civil wars following the age of colonialism. They must know that their salvation is within Africa. Indeed, the ultimate answer to the problems of the struggling African people lies in their oneness. If African countries are effectively united, they would be able to mobilize and coordinate their immense resources for the well being of their people; they will also have their own strong military to defend and protect themselves and not rely on a force imposed on the continent. It is not too late for courageous African leaders or grassroots movements to push for the United States of Africa. The alternative will be a new form of colonialism to the detriment of the African people. (full text).

(Nii OkaiJah is a Ghanaian freelance writer.)

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