X Close

Who is winning the scramble for Africa? The West and Russia are stuck in the past

Sudanese soldiers at an RSF base (AFP via Getty Images)

Sudanese soldiers at an RSF base (AFP via Getty Images)


May 1, 2023   6 mins

Reports of violence breaking out in Africa rarely raise eyebrows in the West these days. Perhaps we feel it has little to do with us, whatever the West’s historical responsibilities for the continent’s problems. But as the recent events in Sudan demonstrate, this is no longer the case. The turmoil unfolding there is of far more importance to us than we might think.

While the fighting in Sudan is, on the face of it, little more than a power struggle between the two rival factions that control the country, there is also an important international and geopolitical dimension to the conflict. At its heart is the great powers’ competition for influence over the continent — what has been called the “new scramble for Africa”.

Given its vast natural resources, including gold, its agricultural wealth and its geopolitically strategic location, Sudan has long attracted regional and international power plays. In recent years, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel have all been cultivating economic and political ties with the country’s leadership — and its two warlords in particular.

One country, however, stands out for its “special relationship” with Sudan: Russia. Putin made sure to cultivate an alliance with the country’s former leader, Omar al-Bashir, deploying the infamous Wagner Group in 2017 to provide him with political and military support. More importantly, that same year, al-Bashir signed a military cooperation agreement with Russia which included allowing the Russians to establish a military base along the Red Sea, ensuring a permanent presence for the Russian Navy in a crucial region and easy access to the Indian Ocean.

Al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019, before the agreement came into play, but Russia maintained good relations with the new administration’s military leaders, especially Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, whose Rapid Support Forces control the country’s gold mines. The transitional military-civilian government confirmed the decision to allow Russia to establish a base in 2020, but backtracked the following year under pressure from the US. However, once the civilian members of government were purged in yet another coup, in 2021, the agreement was revived.

Today, there is no indication that the issue of the naval base played a role in the recent outbreak of fighting, nor are any of the major foreign players openly backing either of the two warring factions. But if one side should explicitly align itself with, say, Russia, the conflict could easily turn into another front of the proxy war between the West and Russia, alongside Ukraine, with potentially disastrous consequences for the entire continent.

For Africa is already the stage of the New Great Game of the 21st century — the struggle between Western countries, China and Russia for influence over this immensely resource-rich, young continent predicted to be the next frontier of growth. In this game, Russia is particularly well-positioned. More so than the West, it enjoys strong historical and ideological ties with many African nations. The Soviet Union was the primary ally of several nations on the continent during the Cold War, and supported various anti-colonial and post-colonial movements; many countries are still ruled by parties that were supported by Moscow during their struggles for liberation from colonial or white supremacist rule, including Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC).

The West’s appeals for democracy and national independence, on the other hand, are perceived as hypocritical, given its history on the continent. Hence Russia’s argument that the war in Ukraine is actually part of a broader struggle against Western imperialism resonates in Africa, which harbours strong grievances against the West over its colonial and neocolonial practices. Indeed, a recent study carried out by the University of Cambridge’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy shows Russia remains popular across much of Africa today.

This has meant that not a single African nation has joined Western sanctions against Russia, choosing to either remain neutral — for example by abstaining in UN resolutions condemning Russia — or more or less explicitly siding with Russia, as in the case of South Africa, which in February even participated in a joint military exercise with Russia and China. It is also why Russia has actually strengthened its military, security and economies ties in the region since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Just last month, delegations from 40 African countries and 14 leaders assembled in Moscow for the international parliamentary conference “Russia-Africa in a Multipolar World”.

On that occasion, Putin gave a keynote speech in which he stressed that Russia “has always and will always consider cooperation with African states a priority”. He recalled the large Russian investment projects being implemented in Africa, emphasising the importance of electricity production on the continent. Russia also has a military presence in several African countries, either in an official guise or via the Wagner Group, including in Libya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique and Mali. It is also the region’s largest arms exporter (close to 50%).

Meanwhile, Sino-African relations are also deepening, with China now the continent’s largest trading partner and main source of project finance in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. This has included massive infrastructural projects, including the Addis Ababa-Djibouti and Mombasa-Nairobi railways and the planned Angola-Tanzania railway, which will be the first railway section connecting the Atlantic coastline to the Indian Ocean, on top of roads, dams, ports and airports. China is also the largest political and economic supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which has 43 parties and another 11 signatories, making it the largest free-trade area in population and geographic size, spanning 1.3 billion people.

Even though there is no evidence that China is engaged in so-called debt trap diplomacy, as claimed by Western representatives, Chinese activities in Africa have been associated with poor labour conditions and unsustainable environmental practices. Yet it’s a fact that “African officials overwhelmingly view China’s role in Africa positively”, as the Rand Corporation noted in 2014, as do the majority of African citizens. This is not only because they see China’s tangible contribution to their nations’ infrastructure and overall economic activity, but also because China’s approach to global affairs and development — ostensibly based on non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and on prioritising societal stability and economic development over political reforms — offers an alternative to the mainstream Western model for development, largely considered to have failed.

Indeed, it is telling that China has achieved all this without resorting to explicit military force: at present, China operates a single military base on the African continent, in the small East African country of Djibouti, which it inaugurated in 2017. The contrast with America’s approach to the continent couldn’t be starker. As part of its post-9/11 “War on Terror”, the US massively expanded its military presence in Africa, placing troops in at least 15 countries. In 2008, in order to coordinate its growing presence in Africa, the US placed responsibility for the continent under a single United States Africa Command, or Africom. This led to a considerable spike in the number of US troops, bases and drone strikes across the continent, most with counter-terrorism as the stated mission, as well as in coups (attempted and in some cases succeeded) carried out by US-trained troops.

The best-known example of Africom’s impact is the US-led bombing campaign against Libya in 2011, which plunged the country into anarchy and violence. But several other African countries have been the target of US bombs in recent years. Just last year, the US bombed Somalia and Niger. Meanwhile, as Politico recently reported, American special operations teams are playing a direct role in military actions in at least eight African countries, including Somalia, Kenya, Tunisia and Niger, under a set of classified “surrogate programmes”. Officially, the US only has one permanent base in Africa — Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. But formerly classified documents obtained by The Intercept show that the US military footprint in Africa is much larger, encompassing 29 bases located in 15 different countries or territories. According to CBS News, “the US does have some military presence in virtually every African nation, even if it’s small”.

It seems to finally be dawning on US policymakers that this military-centric approach — which has sparked resistance in many African states — might not be the best way to counter Chinese influence on the continent. In recent months, several high-profile US representatives, including Kamala Harris, Anthony Blinken and Jill Biden, have travelled to Africa on what has been described as a “charm offensive”, while President Biden has promised to visit this year. “The United States is all in on Africa and all in with Africa,” he said last December at the second-ever US-Africa leaders’ summit in Washington.

It signalled that America seems to be catching on to the fact that African nations no longer want to be bossed around, they want to courted. They know that today they don’t have to choose sides, as they did during the Cold War, but they can do business with anyone and everyone at the same time. And this gives them power — more power than they’ve ever had. As a result, the real winner in the new scramble for Africa is likely to be Africa itself.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

battleforeurope

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

41 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Max Price
MP
Max Price
11 months ago

The West’s historical responsibility….. Yawn. Africa was more violent before Western colonialism and would presumably be more violent today if we had of left them to their own devices.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
11 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

Whenever I see that line about the West still having responsibility to Africa, I can’t help but think it’s a tacit admission that colonialism was all that was holding the thing together and therefore, Europeans need to step in and supervise the governance of these countries. Can’t imagine it would go down well if you were so up-front about it though.

Selwyn Jones
SD
Selwyn Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Indeed, some Africans have gone on the record lamenting the premature dissolution of the colonial empires. Add to that premature dissolution the advent of various communist and socialist regimes in their wake and the disintegration of the continent was more or less guaranteed. A writer called Gregor Dallas is very good on this subject, but I don’t know whether he is still in print.

james goater
JG
james goater
11 months ago
Reply to  Selwyn Jones

Paul Kenyon’s “Dictatorland” is a well-researched volume on post-colonial Africa. A depressing but instructive read.

james goater
JG
james goater
11 months ago
Reply to  Selwyn Jones

Paul Kenyon’s “Dictatorland” is a well-researched volume on post-colonial Africa. A depressing but instructive read.

Selwyn Jones
SD
Selwyn Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

Indeed, some Africans have gone on the record lamenting the premature dissolution of the colonial empires. Add to that premature dissolution the advent of various communist and socialist regimes in their wake and the disintegration of the continent was more or less guaranteed. A writer called Gregor Dallas is very good on this subject, but I don’t know whether he is still in print.

John Dellingby
JD
John Dellingby
11 months ago
Reply to  Max Price

Whenever I see that line about the West still having responsibility to Africa, I can’t help but think it’s a tacit admission that colonialism was all that was holding the thing together and therefore, Europeans need to step in and supervise the governance of these countries. Can’t imagine it would go down well if you were so up-front about it though.

Max Price
Max Price
11 months ago

The West’s historical responsibility….. Yawn. Africa was more violent before Western colonialism and would presumably be more violent today if we had of left them to their own devices.

Robbie K
RK
Robbie K
11 months ago

Even though there is no evidence that China is engaged in so-called debt trap diplomacy,

Denying this is taking place leaves this article with very little integrity.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
MB
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The funny thing about unherd is that independent thinkers who dismiss the MSM narrative on one thing, fully accept it on another. The Africans themselves are happy with Chinese investment and China is popular there.

mike otter
mike otter
11 months ago

Yes the Chinese are keen to remind the Africans that if they chop up the Chinese investors then they’ll be back under the Yankee/Brit overlords and so back where they started – and no-one in Africa – be they prince or pauper, wants that.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

I’m uncertain how you know this and reach that conclusion. Did you ask the people of Zambia and Malawi about the crippling Chinese debts? Do you know why Congo exports all it’s raw cobalt to China for production?

mike otter
mike otter
11 months ago

Yes the Chinese are keen to remind the Africans that if they chop up the Chinese investors then they’ll be back under the Yankee/Brit overlords and so back where they started – and no-one in Africa – be they prince or pauper, wants that.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

I’m uncertain how you know this and reach that conclusion. Did you ask the people of Zambia and Malawi about the crippling Chinese debts? Do you know why Congo exports all it’s raw cobalt to China for production?

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

This is not the only instance in this article that reduces its integrity to little or nothing. It presents a typically bigoted, anti-White. Woking Class narrative of colonial Africa. China is systematically raping Africa of its natural resources, including the near extinction of Rhinos for their horns. To claim that Africans are happy with China and its ‘investments’ is risible. The people (as distinct from their corrupt, evil leaders) of the one country with which I am familiar, and which suffers a substantial Chinese presence, detest them.
And as for the term ‘liberation struggle’ as applied to Africa, that is a well-worn, misleading trope. Those conflicts did not liberate their peoples; they were wars of acquisition – a means of stealing the wealth created by others without having to work for it, and getting others to die for it in the process. The leaders of the so-called liberation movements (Comrade Mugabe of Zimbabwe was an archetype) enriched themselves massively through plunder while their ‘liberated’ populations lost their basic rights and descended into poverty, starvation and terror.
This article lacks credibility as well as integrity.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

The funny thing about unherd is that independent thinkers who dismiss the MSM narrative on one thing, fully accept it on another. The Africans themselves are happy with Chinese investment and China is popular there.

Julian Pellatt
C
Julian Pellatt
11 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

This is not the only instance in this article that reduces its integrity to little or nothing. It presents a typically bigoted, anti-White. Woking Class narrative of colonial Africa. China is systematically raping Africa of its natural resources, including the near extinction of Rhinos for their horns. To claim that Africans are happy with China and its ‘investments’ is risible. The people (as distinct from their corrupt, evil leaders) of the one country with which I am familiar, and which suffers a substantial Chinese presence, detest them.
And as for the term ‘liberation struggle’ as applied to Africa, that is a well-worn, misleading trope. Those conflicts did not liberate their peoples; they were wars of acquisition – a means of stealing the wealth created by others without having to work for it, and getting others to die for it in the process. The leaders of the so-called liberation movements (Comrade Mugabe of Zimbabwe was an archetype) enriched themselves massively through plunder while their ‘liberated’ populations lost their basic rights and descended into poverty, starvation and terror.
This article lacks credibility as well as integrity.

Robbie K
Robbie K
11 months ago

Even though there is no evidence that China is engaged in so-called debt trap diplomacy,

Denying this is taking place leaves this article with very little integrity.

Hendrik Mentz
HM
Hendrik Mentz
11 months ago

The port, road or railway has one purpose: to extract a resource (hardwood, mineral or whatever) at a fraction of its true cost with proceeds going into pockets of the connected few (African and non-African). If true, the author hasn’t explained how Africa is the winner. This, mind you, is a question Africans need also ask themselves.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Maybe the west should be doing the same thing. Instead of lecturing and bombing them, we should invest in projects that benefit everyone involved. If China isn’t doing much more than unilaterally exploiting their resources, it should be a low bar to jump over.

Tim Weir
Tim Weir
11 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

‘At a fraction of its true cost’ is meaningless. For many of these mineral deposits building the infrastructure is the biggest cost involved in extracting the metal; without the railway line to the port the deposit has no value, cannot be exploited. Chinese companies, using mainly Chinese labour, can build the railways much cheaper than Western companies can. The host country gains by having infrastructure built that otherwise wouldn’t be, plus royalties on the eg iron ore exports. Or they can use the threat of the Chinese alternative to get better terms out of RTZ or whoever.

Hendrik Mentz
HM
Hendrik Mentz
11 months ago
Reply to  Tim Weir

Hi Tim. A friend travelling along one such highway reported truck after truck piled high with priceless hardwood heading for the coast. This fact is not ‘meaningless’. Not does each tree as part of its habitat have ‘no value’. If I understand you correctly that ‘the host country … benefits’, my question is for how long?

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Guess, they aren’t greenies either… The West is bending backwards about sustainability, while masses of precious hardwood trees are piled high on trucks (I am pretty sure those aren’t electric either) and shipped away, bringing hard cash to African dictators and elites. Wonder how much the broad African population benefits from all of that.

Tim Weir
Tim Weir
11 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

OK Hendrik, I now see that you meant ‘a fraction of its true value’. The value of a natural resource to its host country may indeed be very different to its cost of extraction, and this is more likely to be true of your example ‘priceless’ hardwood compared to mine, iron ore deposits. My point that providing the infrastructure is often the biggest component of the production costs of raw materials is not disproven by your view of ‘priceless’ trees.Of course, if you mean literally what you say than it is rather difficult to compare extraction costs with ‘priceless’ materials.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Guess, they aren’t greenies either… The West is bending backwards about sustainability, while masses of precious hardwood trees are piled high on trucks (I am pretty sure those aren’t electric either) and shipped away, bringing hard cash to African dictators and elites. Wonder how much the broad African population benefits from all of that.

Tim Weir
Tim Weir
11 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

OK Hendrik, I now see that you meant ‘a fraction of its true value’. The value of a natural resource to its host country may indeed be very different to its cost of extraction, and this is more likely to be true of your example ‘priceless’ hardwood compared to mine, iron ore deposits. My point that providing the infrastructure is often the biggest component of the production costs of raw materials is not disproven by your view of ‘priceless’ trees.Of course, if you mean literally what you say than it is rather difficult to compare extraction costs with ‘priceless’ materials.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
11 months ago
Reply to  Tim Weir

Hi Tim. A friend travelling along one such highway reported truck after truck piled high with priceless hardwood heading for the coast. This fact is not ‘meaningless’. Not does each tree as part of its habitat have ‘no value’. If I understand you correctly that ‘the host country … benefits’, my question is for how long?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Maybe the west should be doing the same thing. Instead of lecturing and bombing them, we should invest in projects that benefit everyone involved. If China isn’t doing much more than unilaterally exploiting their resources, it should be a low bar to jump over.

Tim Weir
TW
Tim Weir
11 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

‘At a fraction of its true cost’ is meaningless. For many of these mineral deposits building the infrastructure is the biggest cost involved in extracting the metal; without the railway line to the port the deposit has no value, cannot be exploited. Chinese companies, using mainly Chinese labour, can build the railways much cheaper than Western companies can. The host country gains by having infrastructure built that otherwise wouldn’t be, plus royalties on the eg iron ore exports. Or they can use the threat of the Chinese alternative to get better terms out of RTZ or whoever.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
11 months ago

The port, road or railway has one purpose: to extract a resource (hardwood, mineral or whatever) at a fraction of its true cost with proceeds going into pockets of the connected few (African and non-African). If true, the author hasn’t explained how Africa is the winner. This, mind you, is a question Africans need also ask themselves.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago

“According to some studies Russia and China remain popular in Africa” . Wonder why 99% of African migrants and refugees want to flee/immigrate to Western countries. Haven’t heard about masses of refugees trying to get to Russia or China. Wonder why, if those countries are so popular? Maybe this survey was done amongst African dictators?

P Branagan
P Branagan
11 months ago

Yep African migrants drift towards the West as they want to tap into the plunder accumulated over centuries by ‘civilising’ pale skinned hominids.

Stephan Le Roux
SR
Stephan Le Roux
11 months ago

Allow me to post a comment from someone who actually lives in Africa. The reason why Africans choose Europe ahead of China and Russia is simply because of the social welfare benefits the European countries provide – it is purely an economical decision and I assume it is the same for the millions “migrating” to the USA. Whilst the Global South may desire the mirage of the “great” Western lifestyle, they do not trust the West and no one can blame them.

Dominic A
DA
Dominic A
11 months ago

I call you out. They come to the West for many reasons – freedom, culture, family ties, ability to earn money, adventure, escape from desperation. I very much doubt that being able to scrape by on welfare payments, in a cold foreign country, is their North Star. I assume that a big part of wanting to live in, or just visit a country is that you ‘trust’ it on many levels – not to imprison or harass you for your politics or identity. ‘They do not trust the West’ is a meaningless generalisation that manages to fit 4 or 4 critical errors in just 6 words – impressive.

Dominic A
DA
Dominic A
11 months ago

I call you out. They come to the West for many reasons – freedom, culture, family ties, ability to earn money, adventure, escape from desperation. I very much doubt that being able to scrape by on welfare payments, in a cold foreign country, is their North Star. I assume that a big part of wanting to live in, or just visit a country is that you ‘trust’ it on many levels – not to imprison or harass you for your politics or identity. ‘They do not trust the West’ is a meaningless generalisation that manages to fit 4 or 4 critical errors in just 6 words – impressive.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

Do Russia and China actually allow impoverished immigrants into their countries?

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago

Because it’s easy to do so.

P Branagan
P Branagan
11 months ago

Yep African migrants drift towards the West as they want to tap into the plunder accumulated over centuries by ‘civilising’ pale skinned hominids.

Stephan Le Roux
Stephan Le Roux
11 months ago

Allow me to post a comment from someone who actually lives in Africa. The reason why Africans choose Europe ahead of China and Russia is simply because of the social welfare benefits the European countries provide – it is purely an economical decision and I assume it is the same for the millions “migrating” to the USA. Whilst the Global South may desire the mirage of the “great” Western lifestyle, they do not trust the West and no one can blame them.

Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

Do Russia and China actually allow impoverished immigrants into their countries?

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago

Because it’s easy to do so.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 months ago

“According to some studies Russia and China remain popular in Africa” . Wonder why 99% of African migrants and refugees want to flee/immigrate to Western countries. Haven’t heard about masses of refugees trying to get to Russia or China. Wonder why, if those countries are so popular? Maybe this survey was done amongst African dictators?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
11 months ago

Oh please. The West has poured money and resources into that cesspit expanse for centuries and it’s still a primeval snake pit. “Young continent”? What is Fazi on about? I have it on good authority that mankind began there. Obviously, the smart ones took a look around and said let’s get the h*ll out of here.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago

Africa is 1000 years behind in every facet of its existence, and is back on its way to being enslaved by Chinese money, and Indian money, and ultimately their control… whilst we sit back and worry about even discussing, yet alone doing anything about it for fear of being called ” racist”…..

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

We used to call it “The Dark Continent “, perhaps we should do so again?

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

We used to call it “The Dark Continent “, perhaps we should do so again?

Last edited 11 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

The ‘smart’ ones went north, became white due to
vitamin D deficiency, learnt to swim and became us.

The others turned south and became Kalahari Bushmen.

Here endeth the history of the World.

Mechan Barclay
Mechan Barclay
11 months ago

“Young Continent” meant that the population is rather age young. Many people to use for labour and not a lot of legacy aging population to take care of.

james goater
JG
james goater
11 months ago

Quite so. Probably only two countries in the entire continent come anywhere near to what could be called “reasonably well-governed” – Botswana and Namibia. Tunisia used to be.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago

Africa is 1000 years behind in every facet of its existence, and is back on its way to being enslaved by Chinese money, and Indian money, and ultimately their control… whilst we sit back and worry about even discussing, yet alone doing anything about it for fear of being called ” racist”…..

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
11 months ago

The ‘smart’ ones went north, became white due to
vitamin D deficiency, learnt to swim and became us.

The others turned south and became Kalahari Bushmen.

Here endeth the history of the World.

Mechan Barclay
Mechan Barclay
11 months ago

“Young Continent” meant that the population is rather age young. Many people to use for labour and not a lot of legacy aging population to take care of.

james goater
james goater
11 months ago

Quite so. Probably only two countries in the entire continent come anywhere near to what could be called “reasonably well-governed” – Botswana and Namibia. Tunisia used to be.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
11 months ago

Oh please. The West has poured money and resources into that cesspit expanse for centuries and it’s still a primeval snake pit. “Young continent”? What is Fazi on about? I have it on good authority that mankind began there. Obviously, the smart ones took a look around and said let’s get the h*ll out of here.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
11 months ago

Africa, South America and parts of Asia have been the scene of Western (more recently US) political and economic meddling for generations and the results haven’t always been pretty for the locals. Awkward questions have often been fobbed off with “He may be a tin-pot dictator but he’s our tin-pot dictator”
Is it surprising or disappointing to see that Russia and China can and do play the same game and have been for years? Does anyone still think that nothing happens in Africa unless the US signs off on it? The West is fully engaged in using the cult of climate hysteria to solidify central planning political power. Much of the “science” has been either questioned or de-bunked entirely yet the propaganda and witch-hunts continue apace. It is China and Russia that are securing the supplies of natural resources essential to implement Western eco-diktats like Net-Zero. Are those deals fair and equitable? Probably not. Are they debt traps? Probably. But these deals are getting done and the Belts and Roads are actually being built.
Conversely, I invite you to behold Canada’s narcissistic sock model Trudeau. Canada just guaranteed Volkswagen $13B in subsidies for an EV battery plant. That announcement follows the uncharacteristically frank statement by Trudeau that Canada will probably never meet its NATO spending commitment (he’s somewhat less frank about admitting Canada hasn’t met any emissions targets). He was recently in New York crowing about this deal. The deal is secret (of course) but Trudeau claims Canada is such a wonderful place to do business that VW actually turned down more money from the US (Translation: Canada has made concessions that even the US wouldn’t consider). Meanwhile Canada has large lithium deposits that will endure years of regulatory reviews and court challenges before they ever see the light of day.
Clearly, Canada is not a global player but IMO this sort of reality-defying pretzel logic is indicative of Western leadership right now and clearly the BRICS + countries are taking advantage of it.

Last edited 11 months ago by Walter Lantz
Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Well said. Trudeau gleefully jumps on the subsidy bandwagon because he’s an idiot. How long before that $13 billion boondoggle bites canada in the ass? Five years maybe? If you’re serious about EVs and renewables, start mining the minerals needed in their production. It’s the one natural advantage Canada has over other nations.

Kent Ausburn
Kent Ausburn
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Canada does have Li deposits, but, with the exception of possible brine deposits in Sascathewan, they are all relatively small hard-rock (pegmatite) deposits. These deposits are dwarfed by the giant dry-lake, “solar” deposits in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia which currently control world-wide Li production. Canada is a minor player in world-wide Li production.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Well said. Trudeau gleefully jumps on the subsidy bandwagon because he’s an idiot. How long before that $13 billion boondoggle bites canada in the ass? Five years maybe? If you’re serious about EVs and renewables, start mining the minerals needed in their production. It’s the one natural advantage Canada has over other nations.

Kent Ausburn
Kent Ausburn
11 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Canada does have Li deposits, but, with the exception of possible brine deposits in Sascathewan, they are all relatively small hard-rock (pegmatite) deposits. These deposits are dwarfed by the giant dry-lake, “solar” deposits in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia which currently control world-wide Li production. Canada is a minor player in world-wide Li production.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
11 months ago

Africa, South America and parts of Asia have been the scene of Western (more recently US) political and economic meddling for generations and the results haven’t always been pretty for the locals. Awkward questions have often been fobbed off with “He may be a tin-pot dictator but he’s our tin-pot dictator”
Is it surprising or disappointing to see that Russia and China can and do play the same game and have been for years? Does anyone still think that nothing happens in Africa unless the US signs off on it? The West is fully engaged in using the cult of climate hysteria to solidify central planning political power. Much of the “science” has been either questioned or de-bunked entirely yet the propaganda and witch-hunts continue apace. It is China and Russia that are securing the supplies of natural resources essential to implement Western eco-diktats like Net-Zero. Are those deals fair and equitable? Probably not. Are they debt traps? Probably. But these deals are getting done and the Belts and Roads are actually being built.
Conversely, I invite you to behold Canada’s narcissistic sock model Trudeau. Canada just guaranteed Volkswagen $13B in subsidies for an EV battery plant. That announcement follows the uncharacteristically frank statement by Trudeau that Canada will probably never meet its NATO spending commitment (he’s somewhat less frank about admitting Canada hasn’t met any emissions targets). He was recently in New York crowing about this deal. The deal is secret (of course) but Trudeau claims Canada is such a wonderful place to do business that VW actually turned down more money from the US (Translation: Canada has made concessions that even the US wouldn’t consider). Meanwhile Canada has large lithium deposits that will endure years of regulatory reviews and court challenges before they ever see the light of day.
Clearly, Canada is not a global player but IMO this sort of reality-defying pretzel logic is indicative of Western leadership right now and clearly the BRICS + countries are taking advantage of it.

Last edited 11 months ago by Walter Lantz
John Pade
John Pade
11 months ago

Except for the Suez Canal and South Africa, does anyone even care? The other countries are money sucks. Let Russia and China have them.

John Pade
JP
John Pade
11 months ago

Except for the Suez Canal and South Africa, does anyone even care? The other countries are money sucks. Let Russia and China have them.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago

African diplomats are beginning to hint at something openly that they have only previously said off the record: the US cultural imperialism, specifically on abortion and LGBT issues, has altered their behavior. The way most would express it is: “A condition of Chinese aid is that we don’t interfere in China’s business. the US requires us to alter our internal laws to conform to Western views of sexuality. This is politically impossible in our societies, which are quite traditional, so we turn to China as the path of least resistance.” (This is paraphrased from a report by Rod Dreher several years ago.)
The American State Dept needs to decide which flag it serves: the stars and stripes or the rainbow. Their ideological devotion to the latter is starting to impact the foreign policy strength of the former.

Last edited 11 months ago by Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
11 months ago

African diplomats are beginning to hint at something openly that they have only previously said off the record: the US cultural imperialism, specifically on abortion and LGBT issues, has altered their behavior. The way most would express it is: “A condition of Chinese aid is that we don’t interfere in China’s business. the US requires us to alter our internal laws to conform to Western views of sexuality. This is politically impossible in our societies, which are quite traditional, so we turn to China as the path of least resistance.” (This is paraphrased from a report by Rod Dreher several years ago.)
The American State Dept needs to decide which flag it serves: the stars and stripes or the rainbow. Their ideological devotion to the latter is starting to impact the foreign policy strength of the former.

Last edited 11 months ago by Brian Villanueva
Tony Lee
TL
Tony Lee
11 months ago

Putin and Xi are both shrewd and acting without scruples or restraint. The West hasn’t a prayer, hamstrung as it is by white guilt, fear of upsetting minority interests, domestic crisis and crumbling economies. Sorting out Africa is an unaffordable luxury amid our self-induced chaos and certainly not going to win anyone a general election.

Tony Lee
Tony Lee
11 months ago

Putin and Xi are both shrewd and acting without scruples or restraint. The West hasn’t a prayer, hamstrung as it is by white guilt, fear of upsetting minority interests, domestic crisis and crumbling economies. Sorting out Africa is an unaffordable luxury amid our self-induced chaos and certainly not going to win anyone a general election.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
11 months ago

“While the fighting in Sudan is, on the face of it, little more than a power struggle between the two rival factions that control the country, there is also an important international and geopolitical dimension to the conflict.”
Note that Madame Coup de’etat Vicky Nuland recently paid a visit there, clearly red-faced about the Ruskies planning a mil base in Sudan.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

The proposed Russian base was the driver for renewed US interest in the country

Charlie Tryon
Charlie Tryon
11 months ago

A poor article that is quite out of step with the realities of Africa today. China’s influence is diminishing for example and most African’s dislike China and its people for their generally racist, ruthless and unscrupulous behaviour, which often serves to displace the locals economically. Only the political classes, who profit most from the relationship enjoy the merits of Chinese involvement in Africa. The West’s influence has faded largely because it doesn’t facilitate or accept corruption that is associated with most Chinese deals

As for US military adventures in Africa, they have little to do with China. The US today is focused on trying to limit the scourge of Islamic terrorism in all its guises and has been for some time.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

The proposed Russian base was the driver for renewed US interest in the country

Charlie Tryon
Charlie Tryon
11 months ago

A poor article that is quite out of step with the realities of Africa today. China’s influence is diminishing for example and most African’s dislike China and its people for their generally racist, ruthless and unscrupulous behaviour, which often serves to displace the locals economically. Only the political classes, who profit most from the relationship enjoy the merits of Chinese involvement in Africa. The West’s influence has faded largely because it doesn’t facilitate or accept corruption that is associated with most Chinese deals

As for US military adventures in Africa, they have little to do with China. The US today is focused on trying to limit the scourge of Islamic terrorism in all its guises and has been for some time.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
11 months ago

“While the fighting in Sudan is, on the face of it, little more than a power struggle between the two rival factions that control the country, there is also an important international and geopolitical dimension to the conflict.”
Note that Madame Coup de’etat Vicky Nuland recently paid a visit there, clearly red-faced about the Ruskies planning a mil base in Sudan.

james elliott
james elliott
11 months ago

“whatever the West’s historical responsibilities for the continent’s problems”

When is the Far Left going to grow up and understand that black adults are…….adults.

Africa is responsible for its own problems.

They are not children. They don’t need Marxist morons to babysit them.

james elliott
JE
james elliott
11 months ago

“whatever the West’s historical responsibilities for the continent’s problems”

When is the Far Left going to grow up and understand that black adults are…….adults.

Africa is responsible for its own problems.

They are not children. They don’t need Marxist morons to babysit them.

Adrian G
AG
Adrian G
11 months ago

Small wonder that China and Russia find it so easy given:
1) Both are instinctively more in tune with, shall we say, African “business culture”
2) UK and US development aid comes with lectures attached
3) The new Western colonialism is green colonialism with, for example, Afrimex Bank being pressured to cease oil and gas lending and development aid inevitably being tied wind and solar even to African governments who rely on O&G for a large slice of their revenue.

Adrian G
AG
Adrian G
11 months ago

Small wonder that China and Russia find it so easy given:
1) Both are instinctively more in tune with, shall we say, African “business culture”
2) UK and US development aid comes with lectures attached
3) The new Western colonialism is green colonialism with, for example, Afrimex Bank being pressured to cease oil and gas lending and development aid inevitably being tied wind and solar even to African governments who rely on O&G for a large slice of their revenue.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
11 months ago

We certainly need to do better in Africa but, no, it isn’t all driven by post-colonial grievance.
https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/may-2023/why-russia-is-still-in-business/

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
11 months ago

We certainly need to do better in Africa but, no, it isn’t all driven by post-colonial grievance.
https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/may-2023/why-russia-is-still-in-business/

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago

If Wagner are operating in dozens of African countries then surely they would also have bases and depots spread around the continent? Why is this seemingly not worthy of a mention in the article while the American bases are worthy of scorn?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago

If Wagner are operating in dozens of African countries then surely they would also have bases and depots spread around the continent? Why is this seemingly not worthy of a mention in the article while the American bases are worthy of scorn?

Kat L
Kat L
11 months ago

Interesting discussion on YouTube featuring Douglas Murray called ‘uncanceled history’ about colonialism, paints a more logical and realistic picture of it than is touted by the left.

Kat L
KL
Kat L
11 months ago

Interesting discussion on YouTube featuring Douglas Murray called ‘uncanceled history’ about colonialism, paints a more logical and realistic picture of it than is touted by the left.