Monday, September 29, 2008
AfriCom's Ulterior Motives?
The Pentagon has launched AfriCom today, its first coordination of its counterterrorism, training and humanitarian programs on the continent.
The move has not been so well received, though. Several countries have refused to host the command center and many others just view it as a further move in US imperialism. Furthermore, domestic and foreign agencies worry that Africa is more or less the new frontier on the war on terror and that we will see a policy shift from democratization to uprooting groups involved with Al-Qaeda and other terror organizations.
The article continues on to discuss the strategic importance of Africa for US oil imports (the article fails, though, to mention the diamond imports that give our hip-hop artists their bling) noting that some 17% of crude imports come from the continent. Also noted is the competition with China over influences and resources. The Pentagon, however, says oil and China are not the reasons for their presence.
So what it all boils down to is this: the last 5 years of US "influence" in the world has our African friends rightly concerned. The thought of having a US military presence on the continent is quite unsettling to some, regardless of the motives. I would assume that the top US priority is rooting out terrorism, especially in the Horn. But when have we stretched ourselves too far?