Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Let’s first discuss the US African Command proposal

THE PROPOSED military engagement of the US in Africa through its Africa Command is a strategic move that cannot just be left to the US alone.

The initiative may have good intentions but there are those who say it will increase the possibility of war in Africa. Still others believe the US is spreading its brand of imperialism after Europe, China, Turkey and the rest showed new interest in African resources.

Currently, Africa is divided into three regional combatant commands. The US Central Command covers the Horn of Africa, the European Command covers sub-Saharan Africa while the Pacific Command covers the islands in the Indian Ocean.

It is not the first time the US is embarking on a large-scale programme in Africa. We have had the Africa Growth Opportunity Acts, the Millennium Challenge Account, the African Contingency Operation for Training and Assistance, and the Global Peace Operation.

Why would the US want to impress upon Africans the need to form a strategic Africa command when there are already so many US engagements in Africa?

Several reasons are advanced, such as the botched operation in Somalia in 1993, the devastating effect of 9/11, the inability of African countries to counter terrorism adequatelly, general lack of proper infrastructure and the persistent ongoing conflicts in Africa.

All the same, Africans should find out if creating the Africa Command is viable and beneficial to the continent.

The Africa Command will definitely consolidate US interests in Africa. However, Africa should think out the African Command and still be involved in US initiatives in Africa.

Eugene Jernigan

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