Obama Moves to Militarize and Exploit Africa

John Glaser, July 02, 2013


Obama’s trip to Africa is a propaganda crusade. As the president talks about growing economies and making electricity more available to the continent, he is all hush hush on what is actually happening in Africa with regard to U.S. policy. Namely, Obama has increased U.S. military presence and interventionism in Africa to unprecedented levels and is meanwhile trying to win a geo-political game with China to exploit the economic potential of the continent under the control of Washington.


Striking Islamist militants with drones, supporting African forces in stabilizing Somalia and Mali and deploying dozens of training teams, the U.S. military has returned to Africa…

Nevertheless, with some 4,000-5,000 personnel on the ground at any given time, the United States now has more troops in Africa than at any point since its Somalia intervention two decades ago…

There are two main reasons behind the build up: to counter al Qaeda and other militant groups, and to win influence in a continent that could become an increasingly important destination for American trade and investment as China’s presence grows in Africa.

These strategies, according to the Reuters report, are “key to the strategy of winning influence in a continent where China has surpassed the United States as the No.1 trade partner and has huge mining, energy and infrastructure investments.”

Indeed, “China-Africa trade grew 1000% from $10 billion in 2000 to $107 billion in 2008,” according to Zbigniew Brzezinski’s recent book Strategic Vision (p. 81). Washington, as it is wont to do, views greater economic engagement and independence as a threat to its control over the world. That’s why Obama has turned a growing Chinese economy into a reason to “pivot” to Asia and essentially surround China militarily.

Greater economic interdependence between Americans and Africans is a good thing and would enrich both peoples. But not in the way Obama wants to do it. Consider the Middle East, long the dominion of the Washington elite, and how it has been rife with major U.S. rent-seeking corporations and the world’s biggest employer (that is, the Defense Department). After WWII and throughout the Cold War, the U.S. “competed for influence” in the Middle East with Soviet Russia just as it’s now doing with China in Africa. We needn’t go through that ugly history.

Also consider the dishonesty of the other stated justification for expanding the empire into Africa: to counter the al-Qaeda presence. This is like the Bush administration justifying military occupation of Iraq to fight al-Qaeda when al-Qaeda only ever came to Iraq to counter the U.S. occupation.

Al-Qaeda’s real but very exaggerated presence in Africa was generated in large part by the U.S.-NATO war in Libya two years ago. Jihadist fighters from abroad joined the rebel militias in Libya early on and then exploited the power vacuum left when the U.S. helped them overthrow the Gadhafi regime. Ansar al-Sharia now has a presence in Libya and Islamic extremists are present in Mali, which was destabilized thanks to the chaos in Libya. In Nigeria, the radical group Boko Haram has not had its sights on the U.S., but that is likely to change in due time thanks to increased U.S. support for the Nigerian military.

Patrick Meehan, chairman of the U.S. Congressional committee that drew up a big, scary report on Boko Haram a few years ago, said “While I recognize there is little evidence at this moment to suggest Boko Haram is planning attacks against the [U.S.] homeland, lack of evidence does not mean it cannot happen.”

Then there is al-Shabab, another group whose capabilities Washington is exaggerating in order to use it as a pretext for interventionism.

“The group poses no direct threat to the security of the United States,” writes Malou Innocent, Foreign Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute. “However, exaggerated claims about the specter of al Qaeda could produce policy decisions that exacerbate a localized, regional problem into a global one.”

Even the Obama administration has quietly acknowledged the fact that military involvement in Somalia may create more problems than it solves, with one administration official telling the Washington Post last year there is a “concern that a broader campaign could turn al-Shabab from a regional menace into an adversary determined to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.”

Here’s a better route: decrease the militaristic meddling and interventionism in Africa and allow economies in the continent to develop and globalize without control from the U.S. government.

18 Responses to “Obama Moves to Militarize and Exploit Africa”

  1. [...] The Chinese have exploded their economic connections in Africa over the last decade and the US is responding. Unfortunately the US responding the way that it usually does, militarily. President Obama has raised the level of military entanglements to new heights, with the US’ largest troop presence in Africa in decades. Too bad we can’t learn from the Chinese, and build our economic ties in Africa, instead of birthing more anti-American movements with our ill advised military ventures. MORE… [...]

  2. [...] Antiwar.com (blog) [...]

  3. By reading this article and reports by other news agency one thing comes to my mind.., is Obama the "other" Communist ..? One being Marxism (Obama) the other Maoism being china…, after all isn't that why USA is in Africa militarizing Africa and Middle East.., while the other having the biggest naval maneuvering with Russia and there is the new people's hero Snowden highlighting the US government spying on the world…, then again what do I know.., I am not Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy.., you know the guy who wrote the novel War and Peace., nor Trotsky, but as Obama said: Nelson Mandela was the reason for me (Obama) to get involved in politics.

  4. Jesus H Christ.

    Obama is decidedly NOT a Marxist and the CCP is decidedly NOT Maoist.

  5. [...] Obama Moves to Militarize and Exploit Africa [...]

  6. Country A (China) moves into the continent called Africa, after more than a hundred years of exploitation and ransacking by the Europeans, in order to make business deals, deals that include badly needed infrastructure for the people of the continent (i.e.: Schools, clinics, roads, bridges, etc), something never even imagined by the Europeans or Americans. This is called; the China strategy for Africa.

    Country B (America) moves into the continent called Africa militarily, with their guns and drones blazing in more and more parts of the continent. Mass killings and displacement of peoples across the huge continent only increases and increases as time goes by. This is called; the American strategy for Africa.

    It all looks like a 1950´s Hollywood production of: The good guys verses the bad guys. The world is watching and taking notes as they witness yet another region of the world being devastated by a still powerful country that has lost touch with how to do business and take care of its own citizens. The seeds being mass produced and systematically planted around the world are going to grow into the very weeds that will strangle and bring down Country B.


  7. What a waist of 100MLN US tax payers dollars. Thanks BO! Thanks again! Puppet BO does it again!

  8. Its the economy stupid used to be an old election in the US so i remember

    President Obama, as the saying goes, is barking up the wrong tree.
    The Chinese have been expanding their trade ties, and other connections
    for the past 10-20 years.
    (trade between the 2 has been growing at 20-25%/year since 2000
    $200 billion 2012……$300bn+ 2014

    Their is nothing which Obama can do about it.
    What he seems to be doing at present is making the wrong kind of ties, and connections.

    Ps if US policy is currently being geared towards countering China now
    What about India in 5-10 years time?

  9. This is called; the American strategy for Africa.

  10. obama is a capitalist stooge for the bankers…

  11. An AfroAmerican comes in handy when it's time to exploit the wealth of Africa for our benefit.

  12. Obama and his corporate puppeteers are wasting their time trying to con Africa. It is too little, too late, and military force will only make things worse and create new enemies in Africans who
    already highly mistrust the west. Further, the Chinese are far too entrenched in Africa’s economies where their win-win business and trade model is doing wonders and creating massive wealth in the hands of Africa’s middle classes, and who are not about to trade that for Obama’s patronising and empty promises. When will these American idiots ever learn how to deal honestly with ‘others’?

  13. John g.., what I am questioning is that: Obama is a liar and acts as if he was a socialist or a communist or something in between.., no socialism or communist regimes in this world is on the moves to militarize the world as USA dose.., nor they have such ambition nor they are at war all over the world nor the system is based on a militarism regime corrupted to the bone and in cooperation with terrorists.., but when Obama says that he was "inspired by Nelson Mandela" to get into politics is a misleading and manipulative words wanting to fool people that he is the other "communists", after all.., before being elected he acted as if he was a socialist and wanting to change the capitalism system into a human system.., and in Africa wanting to help Africans nation.., but we all know that he is there to do what he was elected for.., he promised Africa to US vulture capitalism and he started with Libya.

  14. The big nose of the United States can squeeze into any crack on the Earth, and beyond, in order to tell other people what to do.

  15. [...] FULL ARTICLE @ ANTIWAR [...]

  16. This country is beyond hope. Supposedly we are BROKE AS A JOKE but we ALWAYS find money to help out these poor undeveloped countries. We are only fooling ourselves into believing these people really want us there to tell them what to do. IGNORANCE on our part by The BANKSTERS.

  17. Country B (America) moves into the continent called Africa militarily, with their guns and drones blazing in more and more parts of the continent.

  18. The big nose of the United States can squeeze into any crack on the Earth, and beyond, in order to tell other people what to do.