In a news conference with the president of Benin in western Africa, Bush defended his decision to visit the western African nation plus Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia. He said the many conflicts now roiling nearly every corner of Africa are not the main emphasis of his trip.
“When you herald success, it helps others realize what it possible,” the president said. “This is a large place with a lot of nations and no question not everything is perfect. On the other hand, there are a lot of great success stories and the United States is pleased to be involved with those success stories.”
But, ya’ know ….
He specifically mentioned U.S. efforts in Kenya, where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will soon visit, and Sudan’s Darfur region.
Bush said he “had a tough decision early on as to whether to send troops to Darfur.” Once he decided not to, a decision he said was guided in part by recommendations from groups working in Darfur that he did not identify, Bush said “there’s not a lot of other avenues except for the United Nations and peacekeeping.”
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, expected in the Kenyan capital on Monday, will deliver a “clear message” that Washington wants an agreement to end violence that has left an estimated 1,000 people dead, he said.
“The key is that the leaders hear from her first hand US desires to see that there be no violence and that there be a power-sharing agreement that will help this nation resolve its difficulties,” said the US president.
Well, you can be sure Condi will set those savages straight! No more conflict for you … get it? We reserve the right to put bases on your land and any killing will be don by the US!
US bases in Africa will be the prize. After all, the middle east oil grab has been a pain in the ass for BushCo. Maybe Africa will be more cooperative if the US can buy the right dictators.
Generally speaking there is virtually no mineral that Africa does not have in exploitable quantities but the continent tends to follow its economic nose and root out those that are the money-making flavours of the day.
The White House said Bush’s main focus was on the development agenda. But analysts believe the ultimate goal of the visit is to promote US long-term strategic interests in Africa.
STRATEGIC INTERESTS CANNOT BE IGNORED
The United States has for years maintained a tiny troop presence in just a few African countries, in sharp contrast to its strong military presence in the Middle East.
In 2007, the United States has announced plans to establish an Africa Command (Africom) to oversee military operations on the continent. Subsequently, US officials have become increasingly active in Africa.
During her visit to Ethiopia last December, Rice not only met with the leaders of the country, but also held meetings with heads of states from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on the conflict in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.
No substantial progress has been made in choosing a site to locate Africom despite nearly a year of diplomatic efforts. Only one country, Liberia, has showed interest in playing host to the Africom HQ. Other major countries in Africa, including South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria, have refused to neither host Africom nor provide permanent military bases for US troops.
In an interview with foreign media on Thursday, Bush said Liberia might be chosen as the new location for the US military command in Africa.
“If there is going to be a physical presence on the continent of Africa in the forms of a headquarters … obviously we would seriously consider Liberia,” Bush said.
Besides, the US is increasingly eyeing Africa’s substantial oil reserves. It is estimated over 10 percent of US oil imports are from Africa. Local media reports say one quarter of its oil imports will come from Africa by 2015.
The future of America appears to lie beneath the surface of African soil, according to the new focus. If this is PLAN B, don’t you think it is a little late? Africa has been the sleeping giant for hundreds of years and Europeans, Asians and the Orient have exploited this continent for its resources. America allowed that to happen because it served US economic interests. While deriding colonialism, America has been quietly benefiting from it. Now, the Middle East and South East Asia have become a pariah, America decides to be the great savior for Africans … for a price, of course. After all, the “democracy” America offers is Soooo much better than the ordinary totalitarian dictatorships Africans are accustomed to. Question: Can America buy better dictators? America’s track record doesn’t look very good and Africans know this.