Communist Party of Australia  

Home


The Guardian

Current Issue

PDF Archive

Web Archive

Pete's Corner

Subscribe

Press Fund


CPA


About Us

Why you should ...

CPA introduction


Contact Us

facebook, twitter


Major Issues

Indigenous

Unions

Health

Housing

Climate Change

Peace

Solidarity/Other


State by State

NSW, Qld, SA, Vic, WA


What's On

Topical


Resources

AMR

Links


Shop@CPA

Books, T-shirts, CDs/DVDs, Badges, Misc


 

Issue #1601      July 10, 2013

The Obamas do Africa

The President and his family are spending a week in sub-Saharan Africa, with Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa on the itinerary. The focus of the trip, if you believe the White House, is trade, an arena in which the United States has been eclipsed by China since 2009.

China, by some measurements, now does nearly twice as much business with Africa as the US, and the gap is growing. It is now commonly accepted that the Chinese offer far better terms of trade and investment than the Americans, that they create more jobs for Africans, and their investments leave behind infrastructure that can enrich their African trading partners in the long haul.

No one expects Obama to offer anything on this trip that will reverse America’s declining share of the African market. That’s because the US is not in the business of fair and mutually beneficial trade – it’s about the business of imperialism, which is another matter, entirely. The Americans ensure their access to African natural resources through the barrel of a gun.

So, while the Chinese and Indians and Brazilians and other economic powerhouses play by the rules of give and take, the US tightens its military grip on the continent through its ever-expanding military command, AFRICOM.

To justify its rapid militarisation of Africa, Washington plunges whole regions of the continent into chaos. US policies, under presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, have utterly destroyed Somalia, made the Horn of Africa a theatre of war, drawn the northern tier of the continent into America’s cauldron of terror, and killed six million people in the eastern Congo.

The face of America in Africa is war, not trade; extraction of minerals by military intimidation, not conventional commerce. Washington’s priority is to embed AFRICOM ever deeper into the militaries of African states – rather than configuring more favourable trade relationships on the continent. But you won’t learn that from the US corporate media, which chooses to focus on the US$100 million cost of Obama’s African trip, or to look for human interest angles on Obama’s decision not to touch down in his father’s homeland, Kenya. However, even that angle is too sinister for deeper exploration by the corporate press, because Kenya’s absence from the itinerary is meant as a threat.

The United States is angry because Washington wanted the Kenyan people to elect a different president, one more acceptable to US policymakers. The Americans expected the whole of Kenyan civil society to bend to Washington’s will, and reject the candidacy of Uhuru Kenyatta, simply to please the superpower. When that didn’t happen, it was decided that Kenya must be shunned, despite its past services to US imperialism.

Skipping Kenya was a warning that more serious repercussions may lurk in the future – which is a potent threat, because the US controls most of the guns of Africa. As the US-backed warlord in Somalia said in Jeremy Scahill’s excellent film The Dirty War, “The Americans are masters of war.” War, and the threat of war, is the reality behind every US presidential visit, to Africa and everywhere else. Whether the terms of trade are good or bad, the declining US empire will get access to the resources it needs, or thousands – millions! – will die.

Information Clearing House  

Next article – Was Washington behind Egypt’s coup?

Back to index page

Go to What's On Go to Shop at CPA Go to Australian Marxist Review Go to Join the CPA Go to Subscribe to the Guardian Go to the CPA Maritime Branch website Go to the Resources section of our web site Go to the PDF of the Hot Earth booklet go to the World Federation of Trade Unions web site go to the Solidnet  web site Go to Find out more about the CPA