China-Sudan relations are at the highest point in the history of both nations. The oil industry in Sudan is one of the major areas of cooperation between the African and Asian states., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
China, US in fight over Africa’s resources
Monday, 16 July 2012 12:02
Professor Annah Mititi-Michero
Reprinted From the Zimbabwe Herald
WITH Africa remaining the last vestige of vast tracts of land pregnant with untapped natural resources, China and the United States of America are locked in a protracted battle to outwit each other and gain access to the resources.
Look at the advances made by both countries in the past few years or so, with the US mainly suing its military mighty and regime change antics and China mainly using a less physical but aggressive business model.
The US has become combative and confrontational where there is an African Government that denies it access to natural resources, imposing sanctions, sponsoring opposition political parties and even intervening militarily.
But the Chinese move in swiftly, subtly backing those governments in power and coercing them with long term loans, batter trade deals and so on, never going to war or joining in the conflicts openly.
The latest move by the US was the establishment of the African Command, Africom, a military adventure that features a superior, highly equipped and heavily muscled army, specifically for Africa to protect US interests.
Although all strategically positioned African countries have refused to host an Africom base, the US has been using divide and rule tactics and even operated along Nato in Libya and a smaller contingent of Africom is in Uganda, tracking Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
The story that Africom is meant to assist Africa develop peace strategies is actually akin to saying a lion is meant to protect its prey and it is a misnomer.
The truth is that Africom is meant to clear the way for US’s express exploitation of natural resources. This effectively elbows out China.
The US is currently executing measures, aimed at preventing China from establishing its control over the most important and prospective deposits of mineral resources in African states.
In doing so, Washington plans to expand its own presence on the continent.
Those measures are in place due to the fact that US fears China’s ever-strengthening position, that can root the thrashing of American influence in Africa and loss of access to the mineral resources of the continent.
In May-June 2012 Washington send to Africa — mainly to countries that have an important value for the provision of American interests in the continent — a number of delegations, consisting of experts in economy and military advisors.
Their task is to assess the degree of Chinese “infiltration” on the continent and to draft recommendation for the US government on how to “stop” aggressive China.
The experts are also expected to recommend ways to strengthen US political and military influence on the continent as well as how to provide priority access for American companies to the African market of raw materials.
Americans have already visited five West African countries Ghana, Liberia, Niger, Chad and Mali in order to achieve their goals. Currently, they are preparing similar visits to East African states.
The US missions in those countries have received clear instructions to assist American experts in all ways and means possible. This includes setting up meetings with top government officials of the host countries.
It is obvious that US surge against Chinese representations will be launched in countries where the US and China interests collide — the oil rich areas of Southern Sudan, Darfur, Uganda and the Gulf of Guinea.
Besides this, Washington intends to back up Juba in its confrontation with Khartoum, currently supported by China. So in the end the war is not between Omar Al-Bashir and Southern Sudan but the US and China.
Malawi is yet another country whose president has been compromised already, having been caught in the dogfight between the two countries, hence her decision not to protect Al-Bashir at the AU summit.
The signals have come loud and clear that more is to come from the China-US war of attrition and that it is high time African leaders read between the lines as to who is who. African governments should choose what deals are good to them and understand that business must be done fairly and without military pressure.
The other problem presented to African leaders by the American foreign policy is that when White House sends soldiers to a particular country, they only withdraw when it feels like, even when the country says enough has been done.
Behind any American regime change project is the quest for mineral and other resources and it has become an undeniable fact, wherever the Americans have gone for war, they have exploited the natural resources of that country to capitalistic and imperialistic levels.
They milk the country dry and move on to look for new resource bases. Never mind about the elaborate stories about democracy, good governance, accountability and media freedom. Americans propagate all those things with the sole motive to get to that country’s natural resources.
China is not among the best democracies in the world but has done very well with an awkward political system to go measure for measure with America on the global economic scene and all pointers are showing that China will soon overtake America as the world’s biggest economy.
Professor Annah Mititi-Michero is a Kenyan political scientist.