Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  If you broadcast our audio commentaries please consider a recurring donation to Black Agenda Report.

Obama Summons Africa to Washington to Talk Trade (and How to Cut Out China)

  • Sharebar
    Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    All of Africa’s leaders “in good standing” with the U.S. will gather in Washington, this weekend. On the continent, AFRICOM is boss, with a mission “to stymie, at will, the integration of Africa into a multi-polar world in which China is the center of gravity.” China’s trade with Africa far exceeds the U.S. However, “just as the Americans strong-armed the Europeans into sanctioning Russia, the U.S. will soon flex its AFRICOM muscles against China.”


    Obama Summons Africa to Washington to Talk Trade (and How To Cut Out China)

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    AFRICOM exists to ensure that mutually beneficial African trade with China and Brazil results in no shift in African nations’ political orientation, and is perpetually subject to curtailment by the U.S.”

    Leaders from the vast bulk of Africa’s nations have been summoned to Washington, this weekend, for a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit under the theme “Investing in the Next Generation.” According to the White House, the guest list includes all those leaders who are “in good standing” with the United States, a definition that excludes Zimbabwe, Sudan and Eritrea. Not coincidentally, the three shunned states are the only African nations that have rejected any relationship with AFRICOM, the U.S. military command that now dominates the continent.

    AFRICOM has everything to do with the question of who will comprise the “Next Generation” of African leaders, and whom their trading partners will be. In the course of just six years, AFRICOM has reduced the armies of the continent to appendages of the Pentagon, dependent on the United States for training, financing, equipment, intelligence – even troops’ salaries and the medical care of soldiers and their families. African heads of state are acutely aware of their own commanders’ intimate ties to the AFRICOM sugar daddy. Ultimately, soldiers are loyal to those who finance and equip them.

    The African Union, itself, is incapable of mounting even the most modest “peace keeping” missions without AFRICOM’s comprehensive support. The AU’s biggest operation, in Somalia, is entirely paid for by the U.S. and Europeans, and directed by the CIA. Therefore, when the White House says that invitees to this weekend’s summit must also be “in good standing” with the African Union, it is with confidence that the AU’s list is identical to its own.

    AFRICOM has everything to do with the question of who will comprise the ‘Next Generation’ of African leaders, and whom their trading partners will be.”

    No longer in good standing among the subservient political classes of Africa are the followers of Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba and Thomas Sankara. Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, envisioned a continent united to forge true economic and political independence under its own military defense. He was deposed in a CIA-sponsored coup. Among Dwight Eisenhower’s last acts as president was to order the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister. Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara, once known as “Africa’s Che Guevara,” was assassinated by former comrades who quickly reversed the nationalization of foreigners’ properties. Burkina Faso now hosts a U.S. drone base.

    Six million Congolese are no longer standing above ground, victims of the worst genocide since World War Two, begun in 1996 by the Clinton administration’s proxies, the military governments of Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame, of Rwanda. The bloodbath was set in motion by a previous genocide in Rwanda, sparked by the downing of an airplane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and neighboring Burundi by the forces of then-rebel leader Kagame. Both Rwanda and Uganda remain in the best of standing with Washington, which proclaimed them shining examples of the “new generation” of African leaders. This distinction is shared with the leadership of Ethiopia, which is engaged in multiple genocides at home and, with George Bush’s full spectrum military support in 2006, interrupted a brief outbreak of peace in Somalia with an invasion that resulted in “the worst humanitarian crisis” on th continent and the deaths of half a million people, setting the whole of the Horn of Africa ablaze.

    If the U.S. empire was based on the give and take of trade, it would be a third rate influence in Africa.”

    Muammar Gaddafi was definitely not a leader in good standing with Washington, although he was a respected personage in the African Union, having co-founded the organization in 2002 to replace the moribund Organization of African Unity, and served as chairman in 2009 and 2010. Gaddafi infused $300 million into direct development of Africa, and pledged billions more – a process cut short by the U.S. and its NATO allies in 2011 when, as future president Hillary Clinton gleefully described it, “We came, we saw, he died.” As Gaddafi had predicted, the resulting chaos has set the Sahel region and West Africa afire, destabilizing Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Cameroon and Chad – all of whose leaders were summoned to Paris in May of this year to accept a western plan for their common security – mainly under the auspices of AFRICOM.

    This weekend’s summit in Washington is supposed to be about trade, but it’s not. If the U.S. empire was based on the give and take of trade, it would be a third rate influence in Africa, where China does twice as much business as the U.S. and European trade far exceeds that of the U.S. and China, combined. Brazil, India and Turkey are also major players in Africa. If the $900 million in deals that the U.S. Commerce Department claims will be announced at the August 4-6 Washington conference is crucial to African development, then the $1 trillion in loans, alone, that China will extend to the continent by 2015 should seal the deal in favor of Beijing. If the lasting fruits of trade is creation of permanent infrastructure such as ports and roads, then the Americans have nothing to offer to match the Chinese, who also provide the most favorable terms of investment and no political strings attached.

    However, U.S. imperialism does not sustain itself by competitive trade, but by force of arms. It is a predatory system maintained by military coercion. AFRICOM exists to ensure that mutually beneficial African trade with China and Brazil results in no shift in African nations’ political orientation, and is perpetually subject to curtailment by the U.S. AFRICOM spins its web of Special Forces, warlords, mercenary armies and “counterinsurgency” infrastructure throughout the whole of the “resource continent.” The West’s purpose is not to exploit the entirety of Africa’s natural bounty, which is beyond the economic capacity of a purposely de-industrializing finance capitalist order centered in New York, London and other bankers’ redoubts, but to establish the military presence in depth that will allow Washington and its allies to stymie, at will, the integration of Africa into a multi-polar world in which China is the center of gravity.

    The Americans have nothing to offer to match the Chinese.”

    The aim is not so much to keep China, Brazil, India and other rising economies out of Africa – not for the time being, anyway – since the economically declining West cannot possibly satisfy the continent’s need for investment. An attempt to choke off China could spark a revolt among the indigenous capitalist and aspiring classes of Africa – perhaps even among the more entrepreneurial elements of the military.

    But, it was also imprudent for the United States to engineer a coup in Ukraine to provoke a war on Russia’s doorstep, inflicting great economic pain on its European allies. The Obama administration has placed all its bets on U.S. imperialism’s sole surviving advantage: overwhelming military superiority, without which economic sanctions are unenforceable.

    Obama’s “pivot” to the Pacific will inevitably result in a similar throw-down against China – sooner rather than later, since America’s descent into madness will greatly accelerate the growing Sino-Russian alliance. Just as the Americans strong-armed the Europeans into sanctioning Russia, the U.S. will soon flex its AFRICOM muscles against China.

    In theory, at least, a multiplicity of trading partners gives Africa an opportunity to negotiate the best deal, a semblance of independence from the colonial past. However, the U.S. imperial overlord, now deeply embedded in all but a few African nations, believes it has the power to pull the plug on the China connection – which, you better believe, is the subtext of this weekend’s summit, in Washington.

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

    Share this

    Investing in the next

    Investing in the next generation alright - just like that CIA airlift that brought Obomber's dad and fellow students to US to study and be groomed to return to "lead and influence" Africa.   From punk-assed US black misleadershippers to punk-assed African misleadershippers.  Will it ever end?  Are there any underground or burgeoning movements over there that will soon gain a foothold on the political scene?  Any Hugo Chavez types for example?  It's past time for the African masses to rise up and shake off their western oppressors.

    I wish we could have a

    I wish we could have a contingent of Blacks to gather outside that 'meeting' with signs that say: NO, DON'T DO IT, IT'S A TRAP. or AFRICA, YOU IN DANGER (in the voice of the Whoopi character in Ghost)...I just don't get what is wrong with these Africa 'leaders'..or maybe I do..the ones here are co-opted and bought and paid what would be any different on the continent. So the reality is: every Black man in that room and especially Obama, is a turncoat and enemy of the black diaspora. We need a new cadre of REAL & authentic black leaders to be cultivated. I'm sick of these cash bought coons. And I even notice that a lot of them no longer even dress in 'traditional garb' when they are shown in official photos. They don't even pretend to represent African interests anymore, I guess.

    I respect Mr. Ford's

    I respect Mr. Ford's assessment but I would ask: Does ubiquituous equal superior? The US huffs and bluffs a lot but I'm not so sure they have military superiority. I think they saber rattle a lot..we should always remember Vietnam and how rag tag guerillas on the ground handed the supposed 'superior' US military their heads. I think the US gets by on reputation more than abilities. Their 'superior military' hasn't been really tested. And if the infrastructure of the country is any indication; then there may be a lot of military hardware & equipment strategically parked worldwide that looks menacing, but probably isn't fit for  any real combat activity. Sneak attacks on vulnerable countries that pose no real threat is not a fair assessment of the US military abilities. What I hope is that those elements within AFRICOM that put their country and sovereignty over US short-term agendas will use all of the weapons & training and do what they are supposed to be doing on behalf of their fellow countrymen and what was left undone during the liberation movement of the 50's & 60's.

    it's all about tactics

    The u.s. & other cauc western nations contine to be tactically superior to the melaninated nations. Caucs (be they yanks, limeys, belgians, etc) can go into a nation of dark people and get those people to turn on each other with rabid ferocity by the centuries-old ploy of divide & conquer. This ploy has to be one of the greatest phenomena ever because even though you know it's coming, caucs still pull it off: the latest tragic examples are Iraq and Afghanistan, where people now slaughter each other like u.s. reservation Indians, ghetto blacks, and barrio hispanics. I'm sure many Iraqis sorely miss the peaceful days of the Hussein administration.



    You are right about that. The

    You are right about that. The divide & conquer strategy works again and again. But that's only b/c people don't look at the bigger picture and who benefits from in-fighting. If you are countrymen and you KNOW there are outside influences there to divide you, why not put aside what are most likely hostilities manufactured by those very same forces? I mean all of these countries have been divided up by ethnic or religious factions long ago by colonialists & imperialists and these people just keep coming back to stoke the flames whenever they choose. The problem is we the majority of humanity is operating by a set of rules that these 'beings' have forced on us--organized religion--so while they will do and say anything to achieve their objective (the only way a sociopath knows how to operate);  we are stuck moralizing and wringing our hands based on what the 'good book' says--the same book they created or stole from us in the 1st place before they perverted it and used it mentally enslave. It seems as if this system has altered or sublimated the basic self-preservation instinct of most of the planet. And divide & conquer can go both ways. Whites right now all coalesce around maintaining white supremacy on the planet--actively or passively--but we have seen in history where if those on the bottom rung of white society don't feel like they are getting enough crumbs--they'll turn on the so called 'ruling elite' in a hot second. And I don't mean the manufactured kind of current theatrics going on between the US/EU & Russia. I think that's a farce and at the end of the day, they all are owned by the same criminal banker cartels.

    Clicky Web Analytics