Home Editors' Pick Blinken Tour of Africa Highlights Failed War Policy of the United States

Blinken Tour of Africa Highlights Failed War Policy of the United States

Blinken Meets With Pro Western President Of Ivory Coast
Blinken Meets With Pro Western President Of Ivory Coast

Like the states in West Asia, the Biden White House has no diplomatic successes

Geostrategic Analysis

A recent four-nation trip by United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken was marked by efforts to denigrate China and Russia as development and security partners of the African Union (AU) member states.

Blinken traveled to the Cape Verde Islands, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Angola from January 21-26.

Despite the public posturing and rhetoric of the State Department, many governments and more importantly the masses of the people have opposed Washington’s foreign policy related to the Ukraine war and the continuing support for Israel as it lays waste to the Gaza Strip. After two years of sabotaging any attempt to reach a negotiated settlement between Moscow and Kiev, President Joe Biden is demanding more money from U.S. taxpayers to continue arm shipments and other material assistance to Ukraine. The same situation holds true for the Palestinians as the Biden administration pours in military equipment to facilitate the genocidal program in the Gaza Strip.

African Union (AU) Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat has made repeated statements calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. These pleas for peace have been rejected by the U.S. and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). South Africa filed a lawsuit against Tel Aviv in December where it charged the Zionist state with genocide. The second hearing in this case filed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands will take place in late February.

Although the Biden White House ridiculed the South African lawsuit against Israel as lacking merit, the case was accepted by the ICJ which ruled in the initial hearing that the charges of genocide against Israel were plausible. A series of measures were recommended by the World Court, yet Tel Aviv has continued its onslaught in Gaza resulting in the deaths of over 28,000, the wounding of thousands more and the displacement of the entire population of 2.3 million Palestinians.

Amid these policy differences with many AU states, Blinken during his trip emphasized a supposed partnership based upon mutual interests. However, the sordid history of African enslavement, colonial and neo-colonial domination by imperialism was never mentioned in the press release issued by State Department spokesman Matthew Miller on January 18.

Miller emphasized on behalf of the Biden administration that:
“Throughout the trip, the Secretary will highlight how the United States has accelerated the U.S.-Africa partnership since the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, including in areas such as climate, food, and health security. He will also emphasize our future-focused economic partnership, and how the United States is investing in infrastructure in Africa to boost two-way trade, create jobs at home and on the continent, and help Africa compete in the global marketplace. Additionally, the Secretary will advance security partnerships based on shared values such as respect for human rights, promotion of democracy, and expansion of the rule of law. He will reaffirm U.S. commitment to our coastal West African partners through the Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, U.S. partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to address regional challenges, and U.S. efforts to support African leadership in de-escalating tensions and adopting diplomatic solutions to the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.” (https://www.state.gov/secretary-blinkens-travel-to-cabo-verde-cote-divoire-nigeria-and-angola/)

Historically much of the trade spoken of by the State Department has been highly disadvantageous to African nations. The notion that bilateral relations with the U.S. is based upon respect for human rights and democracy contradicts the longtime unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of African states.

The presence of Pentagon military outposts and troops on the continent has only worsened the overall security situation. In West Africa, the U.S. has been present in Mali, Guinea, Niger and Burkina Faso through the Africa Command (AFRICOM). Nonetheless, these states have undergone military coups over the last four years due to the unsustainable neo-colonial system of governance.

Cape Verde and Ivory Coast

Blinken made his first stop in the Cape Verde Islands located approximately 400 miles off the coast of Senegal. Several years ago, the U.S. provided funding for the refurbishing of the port at Praia in which the Secretary of State visited.

Nevertheless, while enroute to meet with high level governmental officials, the top U.S. envoy could have not avoided the presidential palace which has been enhanced and modernized with assistance of the People’s Republic of China. In addition, the Congress Hall and governmental headquarters have new buildings constructed by Beijing. (https://forumchinaplp.org.mo/en/economic_trade/view/645)

After leaving Cape Verde, Blinken stopped over in Ivory Coast, where 12 years before the U.S. in cooperation with France, overthrew the government of former President Laurent Gbagbo who had defied the neo-colonial directives of Paris. After the installation of a pro-western president in Abidjan during 2011, elements within the military remained dissatisfied over the situation inside the country.

However, unlike other regional states, the military was not able to intervene by seizing power from the civilian leadership which is by no means “democratic.” President Alassane Ouattara engineered the change in the Ivorian constitution to allow for him to serve an additional term of office.

Blinken praised Ouattara for the Ivorian government’s stance in opposition to the upheaval and military coup in Niger last July 26. Although the U.S. had initially encouraged an armed intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to reimpose the administration of ousted President Mohammad Bazoum, a close ally of Paris and Washington, public opposition across the region resulted in a rethinking of the invasion plans.

Nigeria and Angola

The third country visited by Blinken was Nigeria which has the largest economy on the continent due to its vast oil and natural gas resources. If the invasion of Niger was to occur, it would be Nigeria that supplies the bulk of the troops.

However, even President Bola Tinubu’s party, the All-Progressives Congress (APC), would not go along with the ECOWAS imperialist-engineered intervention in neighboring Niger. The people of northern Nigeria and Niger share languages and economic interests. Nigeria is the current chair of ECOWAS.

Underlining the visits to Ivory Coast and Nigeria is a pledge by the White House to bolster a security pact with several West African states. Al Jazeera said of this project, “Blinken nonetheless promised to boost cooperation on the ground with the Ivory Coast, largely the training of security forces. He said the US would provide an additional $45m to West African nations as part of a plan to battle instability, bringing total funding under the year-old program to nearly $300m.” (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2024/1/23/blinken-hails-ivory-coast-fight-against-armed-groups-on-west-africa-tour)

Blinken’s last visit on this tour was to Angola where oil is a major export. Angola also has close economic ties to China.

For the first 18-years of Angolan independence (1975-1993) the U.S. refused to recognize its government. In 1975, on the verge of its independence from Portugal, the U.S. under the administration of President Gerald Ford, deployed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to Angola to assist a rival pro-western armed grouping in preventing the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) from consolidating it power base.

It was the Republic of Cuba and the former Soviet Union which backed the MPLA government in its war against the apartheid South Africa which staged numerous invasions and occupations in Angola. The defeat of the racist South African Defense Forces (SADF) in early 1988 paved the way for the liberation of the Republic of Namibia in 1990 along with the release of political prisoners in South Africa including the first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela.

By April-May 1994, multi-party elections had been held bringing President Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) to power. The ANC has maintained its leading role in government over the last three decades.

A press release issued by the State Department on the Blinken visit discussed the U.S.-Angola relationship as a partnership in trade and security. However, there was no mention of the years-long damage done to Angola by successive administrations in Washington during the post-independence period from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. (https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-and-angola-partnering-for-prosperity/)

U.S. Foreign Policy Breeds War and Instability

Since the beginning of the Biden administration in early 2021, there have been a series of disastrous foreign policy developments from the calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the instigation of the special military operation by the Russian Federation in Ukraine, to a series of anti-western popular uprisings in the Sahel states in West Africa and the genocidal siege on Gaza. Since October, the White House has been pushing the Congress to approve yet another $106 billion to feed the war machine in West Asia, the Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe and on the Southern border with Mexico and other Latin American states.

Blinken has been jetting across West Asia and Africa in failed attempts to shore up the image of U.S. imperialism internationally. Nonetheless, with the rising opposition to the AFRICOM presence on the continent to the demands for an immediate end to the blanket bombing and occupation of the Gaza Strip, billions around the globe have nothing other than opprobrium for Washington and Wall Street.

Instead of seeking to enact a permanent ceasefire in Palestine, the White House is spreading the war regionally by bombing Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Resistance forces in West Asia have stated repeatedly that they will continue their attacks on U.S., British and Israeli interests until the current crisis in Palestine is resolved.

In Africa as well, U.S. diplomacy has not achieved any victories. Undoubtedly in years to come, a reconfigured system of international relations will come into being creating the political atmosphere for a sustainable peace and genuine cooperation among peoples.

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