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US Foreign Policy Mischief: Africa should remain alert to oppose

By   /  April 3, 2010  /  1 Comment

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“Foreign police begins where domestic policy ends” This statement is attributed to one of America’s prolific yet sly Foreign Secretary Henry Kissinger. The statement has received diverse interpretations both in public and diplomacy lecture halls. To the U.S, domestic policy is distinguished from foreign policy. In essence, what US does or tells others to do is not what they would wish done to Americans.

Following the implosion of the Soviet Union (end of Cold War), the elevation of America as the only great power ushered in an era of arrogance, treachery and systematic interference in the internal affairs of sovereign African states.

Hapless African leaders have never been able to decipher the egocentric diplomatic relations of US and the West. The pattern of US errant foreign policies are bare and little keenness will reveal that US is slow and stingy to finance any project that benefits them less.

The first foreign strategy was to finance many countries as part of its containment policy towards the Soviet Union and its allies. This led to skewed development especially in Germany which had then been partitioned by US and Soviet Union after World War II.

West Germany which was under US received more development far beyond the Russia controlled East Germany. This disparity occasioned one of the humanitarian catastrophe never witness in the region. Germans from the least developed communist East German started crossing the border in large numbers: approximately one thousand immigrants per day. This prompted the erection of the Berlin Wall.

The US Foreign policy was by then guided by George Marshall; a career military man who President Truman made secretary of state. He came up with a reconstruction plan for Europe, which came to be known as the “Marshall Plan”. It entailed massive aid to Western European countries as well as close economic, trade and military cooperation so as to prevent the spread of communism.  This can be called the Cold War foreign policy. 

At the end of Cold War, the US ideology of capitalism seemed to have triumphed. There was no other great power to check its excesses. Through the World Bank and IMF, where the US has the ultimate voice due to the doctrine of weighted voting. (Strength according to amount contributed) US attempted to direct Africa’s domestic and foreign policy. The infamous conditional aid pegged on democratization as set by US; was meant to give US a strangle-hold on African affairs. Some credulous African leaders swallowed the mischief terming it a part of US benevolence and a panacea to governance challenges. Multiparty was crudely imposed on Africa hence becoming a catalyst of ethnicity. 

The egocentricity of US is long born and wide spread. For example, President Roosevelt almost single handedly engaged in the establishment of Panama country and its canal. The construction of the Panama Canal was of vital interest to commerce and US hegemony in Latin America. By then Panama was a part of Colombia, therefore the Colombia government rejected canal rights to the US. Roosvelt’s immediate solution was to help organize and support a Panamanian revolution, then prop up a pro- US regime, and have it sell the canal rights at a discount. Roosevelt acknowledged that the tactic was brutish by when he once said; “There was much accusations that I acted in an unconstitutional manner.”

This policy endures to date in the form of what President Mugabe refers to as “regime change” engineered by US in Africa.

According to author and researcher Derek Ingram, in the publication, 40 years on – Lumumba haunts the West; he claims that more evidence has emerged that when US president Dwight Eisenhower met his national security advisers to discuss the situation in Congo, he said Lumumba, the country’s first prime minister, should be eliminated. Lumumba’s assassination is still a mystery that has never stopped haunting the US.

The US supported Mobutu Sese Soko to overthrow Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba so that it would secure own interests in the mineral rich state. Lying at the center of the continent, Zaire (DRC) could provide the US with access to important resources, transport routes and political favours.

After the so called democratic (multiparty) wind of change, with time new leaders emerged; popular, charismatic and intelligent. Most could not play to the whims of US in Africa. This dilemma has made the US to come up with another mischief in the name of actively getting involved in Africa’s electoral processes in the guise of enhancing governance. In every African country undergoing elections the US often has a candidate they finance with an assurance that upon winning the leader would serve American interests. The pattern is easy: in case the US backed candidate senses defeat, he should shout rigging and refuse any resolution other than power sharing. Rigging was more glaring in the 1980-90s but US was indifferent since the policy then was to work with the incumbent dictators. Examples include; Mobutu of Zaire, Boukassa, the then Mugabe, Saddam Hussein etc.

To sample case studies of the recent national elections, fortunately in most countries, the candidate who lost in the election was the one fronted by the US. They are easy to name because of their style of politics; in Uganda Bisigie was the choice of the US hegemony, Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe, Raila of Kenya and afar like Mir Hossein Mousavi of Iran. It is only in Afghanistan, a country nowadays referred to as a state of the United States of America; that a US backed candidate Karzai “won” elections amid protests. This is perhaps the reason why President Obama visited Kabul (Afghanistan) secretly under the cover of darkness. He was visiting the country that will, by the end of this year, host nearly 100,000 US troops

When the policy to field own candidates in African countries fails, the US  helps foment violent conflicts so as to create chances for coalition governments thus gaining some entry into government to  protect their self- serving interests.

Ask oneself why for instance in some countries like Egypt the conditions of good governance and electioneering are not imposed; Egypt is at a strategic position which US will not wish to upset. The same is for Ethiopia, where though President Meles Zenawi’s governance and human rights record is bad; there is always least scrutiny because the US fears the change in government may take away Zenawi’s support on the terrorism war.

US support in Kenya rarely trickles down to the people. This is because US is immersed in political projects such as human rights, democracy and governance.

Kenya’s foreign policy should be “look east”. China and Japan are yet to follow the mischief of US foreign policy. Ask any ordinary Kenyan about the country that has practically injected development; US will feature 5th after China, Japan, UK and European Union.

Whenever America dictates to Africa on democracy, Africans should remind them of the underlying mischief in their purported role of development partners.

US Mischief in the Gulf

The US mischief is not only practiced on Africa. The US- Iran relationship is full of ironies on the part of US.

When Mohammad Mossadegh was elected Prime Minister in August 1951, he quickly recognized the mischief of the West. He nationalized Iran’s oil industry and expelled the British and Americans. As a result, in 1953 the British together with the US (CIA) organized a coup to overthrow Mossadegh.

In 1957 the US agreed to help Iran develop nuclear technology through the Atoms for Peace program. Come 2006 December, the US prompts the UN to impose sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear enrichment program.

The worst of this treachery was witnessed in 1979 when Iranian students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took 61 Americans hostage. In desperation, the US engineered the invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein. US provided tactical and strategic support to Iraq.

In another instance, to secure the freedom of Americans held hostage in Lebanon, the US sells Iran weapons to help free the hostages, and at the same time uses the money to fund contra rebels.

So many Africans have lost lives because of this American democracy of elections. The continent has given US an able president, let Africa do its thing under AU. It only asks for moral sincerity on the part of the West especially US.

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About the author


Wilfred Mulliro is Kenyan columnist. MA in International Studies from University of Nairobi, B.Ed. in English Literature from Kenyata University. His articles which focus on Social issues and Politics appear in Kenya's leading Newspapers.

1 Comment

  1. avatar Ruteikarirwa says:

    Shown good scolary work but remember that the one stronger than you will kill your father and take over your mam.

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