Military Review

Russia or the USA? Which way will modern Africa go


Second decolonization

To some extent, it's deja vu again. When the British and French colonial empires crippled by the two world wars collapsed, two superpowers quickly filled the void. While in some cases the United States moved forward rapidly as the French and British left, leaving behind their trained elites, those countries that experienced genuine national liberation movements almost without exception chose an alliance with the USSR.

Contrary to Western propaganda during the Cold War, the Soviet Union was an attractive partner for international cooperation for a number of reasons. To begin with, the Union clearly demonstrated the ability to defeat the Western powers in the war - perhaps the main quality of success for developing post-colonial states. Moreover, the Marxist model of economic development was very convincing - it succeeded in industrializing a huge country in just one decade. In addition, there was no legalized racial discrimination in the Union, which until the end of the 1960's. was the norm in the States.

The choice between two clearly different development models proposed by the two rival superpowers had both advantages and dangers for developing countries in Africa, Asia, and even Latin America. The benefits lay in the fear of the “domino effect”, which forced the “first world” to offer the “third world” significantly better conditions, as if the “second world” did not exist at all.

The danger was in the form of superpower "proxy wars" that were conducted to prevent the drift of countries to the socialist side or to undermine the economic and political systems of those countries that really joined the Eastern Bloc. The assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the Vietnam War, military coups in various Latin American countries, the economic blockade of Cuba and many other similar campaigns were part of the US efforts to eliminate Soviet influence in the developing world.

The end of the Cold War signified a transition to global unipolarity, where there are no competing economic models. Economic neoliberalism was now the "only game in the city" on a planetary scale, and TINA's policy (There Is No Alternative) now owned third-world countries completely.

But the next transition to a multipolar world, which became apparent in the 2010 years, again means both opportunities and dangers for developing countries, similar to those that were experienced during the Cold War. Although a larger number of global centers of power means that the game has become much more complicated than it was in the era of the US-USSR bipolarity.

Multipolarity in action

Although at first glance it might seem that the world is moving toward bipolarity again, in practice there are four main geopolitical players of our time: the United States, the European Union, China and, of course, Russia. While the United States and the EU collectively form the West, they are also quite capable of “cutting” each other to defend their spheres of influence - be it the Monroe Doctrine, the British Commonwealth or French-speaking Africa. Moscow and Beijing have not yet shown coordination in their respective efforts on the African continent, although the absence of visible conflicts of interest still indicates the existence of an informal separation of duties and zones of influence between the two states in this region.

The renewed interest of the Russian Federation in Africa was caused by Western attempts to isolate it politically and economically. Until the 2014 year, despite previous provocations, Russia, apparently, was steadily following the path of economic and political integration with the countries of the Old and New Worlds. But this course was rudely interrupted by a number of factors, such as: NATO’s eastward expansion, regime change in Ukraine and a campaign to demonize Russia in general.

Perhaps Moscow would not have felt compelled to encroach on what the West always considered to be its legitimate sphere of influence, especially if its state security interests along its own borders were respected by Western countries.

What can Russia offer?

Actually, a lot of things. Take the recent Russian-African economic forum held in Sochi on 23-24 on October 2019. According to its results, more than 500 agreements worth 12 billion dollars were signed. This international event was attended by the leaders of 50 African countries and eight African international organizations. Based on the results of the event, economic development and mutually beneficial business relations occupy a high place in Moscow's list of priorities regarding the prosperity and political stability of African states.

In a similar vein, the American information resource Bloomberg reported that the Russian Railways concern is negotiating a contract worth $ 500 million to upgrade the railway network of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In parallel, Rosatom will coordinate with Ethiopia the details of the construction of a nuclear power plant.

In addition, Moscow’s cancellation of 20 of billions of dollars in debt by various African states is also expected to lead to new economic cooperation projects. Despite the fact that these impressive numbers are still fading compared to Chinese investments in the region, they suggest that African countries are not averse to having more than one non-Western economic development partner.

The zone of cooperation with African countries, where Russia is really ahead of China, is in the security sphere. In this segment, there may indeed be a tacit agreement with the Celestial Empire on the division of responsibilities. The preference given to Russia in the field of cooperation on national security is due to a whole set of reasons. These include relations that developed during the Cold War and the proven reliability and longevity of the Russian weapons on local battlefields.

Among other things, it is extremely important for Africa that Russia has regained its world authority as a military power that is capable of waging military operations of various types and of various sizes, combined with Moscow's ability to withstand Western military threats. And this is very important for developing countries, which during the period of colonial dependence have already suffered troubles and upheavals at the hands of the “white man”.

But why is the military partner of the "black continent" not China? Although the recent military achievements of the Middle Kingdom are impressive, Beijing showed neither the desire nor the ability to demonstrate its ability to defend distant allies with the help of military force.

If Chinese investment and assets on the African mainland are exposed to the militaristic threat emanating from the same NATO bloc, then the Chinese armed forces are unlikely to be there to protect them. At the moment, it is more likely that the PRC will rely on the Russian Armed Forces for such defense of its assets in Africa. For this reason, Moscow and Beijing could potentially form an extremely effective military-economic tandem, which the Western powers will find it difficult to resist.

The security aspect of Russia's participation in Africa seems attractive to a number of African states concerned about American plans in the region, especially after the failure of US-sponsored “color revolutions” in the Middle East. Some African states, including Sudan and the Central African Republic (the latter is clearly located in the French sphere of influence), have openly expressed interest in deploying Russian military bases on their territory.

In addition, Russia's geographic and geopolitical goals were demonstrated by the visit of two strategic Tu-160 bombers to the Republic of South Africa, which received significant positive attention on the social networks of this country. Combined with the growing presence of Russian fleet in the oceans, made possible by the recently built modern warships with cruise missiles, Africa is beginning to recognize Russia's presence as a guarantor of political stability.

Risks and Dangers

The greatest danger to African developing countries, of course, is that the United States, accustomed to the idea of ​​its dominance, is unlikely to simply accept any challenge to its influence on this continent. Sometimes this rejection of reality takes on comic proportions: for example, Facebook prohibits pro-Russian pages that allegedly “interfere” with African politics - a step that clearly indicates that it is the White House that considers itself the owner of this vast stretch of the Earth.

But American politicians are unlikely to stop on the hysteria on Facebook. Probably, death squads and paramilitary groups associated with the CIA jihadists, or even Pentagon support from local despot rulers, who will serve as local proxies designed to roll back Russian and Chinese influence, will again be seen. The most frightening aspect of modern US politics is the willingness to plunder the country and plunge it into a civil war if it seems that the state can slip from Western orbit to Russian and Chinese.

It is still difficult to predict how future proxy wars will develop. However, the experience of the United States in other regions suggests that their covert action tools have largely lost their former effectiveness in the process of achieving US foreign policy goals. Moreover, the American reputation as a reliable international partner is so badly tarnished that it is likely to work against Washington in an attempt to recruit proxies on the African continent.

An alternative would be, as in the case of Syria, the direct deployment of the American armed forces in the field of operations on the territory of the SAR in order to avoid a complete defeat in the region, both moral and geopolitical. But it remains unclear whether such an aggressive policy towards Africa will find political support in Congress and among the American public.
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  1. Amateur
    Amateur 19 November 2019 06: 33
    If Chinese investment and assets on the African mainland are exposed to the militaristic threat emanating from the same NATO bloc, then the Chinese armed forces are unlikely to be there to protect them. At the moment, it is more likely that China will rely on the Russian Armed Forces for such defense of its assets in Africa.

    I read a lot of different things. But such a thing! And for some reason, the emoticons on the site were canceled. There were just suitable ones.
  2. Cycle boss
    Cycle boss 19 November 2019 06: 41
    I think in the future we will see yellow Africa. We only forgive debts, China is building. It is not surprising that it will set up military bases.
    1. bessmertniy
      bessmertniy 19 November 2019 11: 39
      The Chinese, unlike Russia, will not miss their benefits. And it’s somehow strange to still forgive debts when their people are already living worse than Africa.
  3. Maki Avellevich
    Maki Avellevich 19 November 2019 07: 00
    Africa cannot follow the road of Russia or America. or Finland.
    their minds, their roads.
    1. To be or not to be
      To be or not to be 21 November 2019 13: 47
      "Do not go children to Africa for a walk" .. She herself choose her own path At the same time, everyone wants to profit from Africa .. And there are other options in the world [media = https: //]
  4. rocket757
    rocket757 19 November 2019 08: 27
    will such an aggressive policy towards Africa find political support in Congress and among the American public.

    Africa is big, but whether there is a place for all interested parties there is a question.
    In our world, it does not quite work out that the one who did not have time is late! It all depends on who was in no hurry? Maybe "move" everyone else.
    In short, time will tell, and the events ahead are the most diverse.
    SOVIET UNION 2 19 November 2019 09: 00
    Which way will Africa go? Does she have a choice? At least Russia, even the United States, capitalist countries. Predators here and there. The most reasonable thing is to launch not one predator, but at least a couple. In order not to gobble up and compete with each other. Launch Russia, Russia will not be able to present the whole range of modern technologies. launch the USA, they will devour the owners. There in Bolivia, they gave the contract for the development of lithium to the Chinese (and lithium there is 43% of the world's reserves). not the Americans, so immediately a coup! Do Africans need this?
    1. Boris55
      Boris55 19 November 2019 09: 39
      Quote: SOVIET UNION 2
      Which way will Africa go? Does she have a choice?

      Will go with Russia - each nation will retain its identity and development.
      If he goes with the West or China, he will dissolve in the general mass of the "official".
  6. Lexus
    Lexus 19 November 2019 10: 23
    Africa has been following the "Russian" path for a long time. In terms of the sale and export of resources to capitalist countries and China. No, the grandmothers stolen from our pensioners will be taken, only there will be no return. There are no debts to Russia. They have already been accustomed to this. What other questions?
  7. The comment was deleted.
    1. bessmertniy
      bessmertniy 19 November 2019 11: 42
      Something is not visible in our stores of goods and products from Africa. But they could pay for their debts. Even with their miserable souvenirs. hi
      1. RUSS
        RUSS 25 November 2019 11: 29
        Quote: bessmertniy
        Something is not visible in our stores of goods and products from Africa

        But what about potatoes from Egypt? laughing
  8. ccsr
    ccsr 19 November 2019 12: 04
    Oleg Orlov
    In combination with the growing presence of the Russian fleet in the oceans, which was made possible thanks to the recently built modern warships with cruise missiles, Africa is beginning to recognize Russia's presence as a guarantor of political stability.

    This is a fantastic conclusion, especially when you consider that even the USSR could not become a guarantor of stability in Africa, when we were much more powerful.
    No need to build illusions - this will save us from disappointments in the future. In our history, we have already soaked up various crap with our "brotherly help" that the main principle should be the slogan - "money in advance." Of course, the poor do not have them, so let them pay with what we need, and with minerals in the first place. All other projects with loans must be bypassed - Africa will never become a solvent borrower. At least for the foreseeable future.
  9. Maalkavianin
    Maalkavianin 19 November 2019 16: 31
    Yes, what can they choose even if, for the most part, they are still fragmented into tribes and periodically cut each other, sold, betrayed. They have no self-awareness of a certain whole nationality, commonality with common goals, common future. Whatever anyone says about America, that country has proved its right to life. Our grandfathers-great-grandfathers also proved this right. They do not give the right to go their own way - they uphold it. Usually with arms in hand, not by democratic voting.
  10. Ross xnumx
    Ross xnumx 19 November 2019 17: 17
    Russia or the USA? Which way will modern Africa go

    Someone forgot, but I recall that the relationship between the USSR and other countries, including Africa, followed the method of relaxation and even some material benefits for an ideological victory. All Soviet people sacredly believed that it was socialism that brought complete liberation from slavish dependence. Much, including gratuitous aid, was perceived by citizens against the backdrop of universal sufficiency (in the USSR there were no working beggars, and retirees didn’t go around in the garbage bins, which were also few), as a good cause. I even remember the times when we raised money at school to help countries in need.
    Young people coming from other countries studied, worked, lived in the USSR and in fact saw all the victories of socialism.
    The modern consumer society, which is so successfully modeled in Russia, offers what? Gratuitousness of help due to the impoverishment of the poor? Tell, tell, what euphoria can occur in people with pensions of 13 and salaries of 000-10 thousand ...
    The mutual benefit of cooperation is the right thing. Prerequisites are available. Moreover, a significant gift was made to African countries - debt relief. But, excuse me, how can Russia, with its 146 millionth, many years of declining population, able to raise 1 inhabitants of the African continent?
    China rose only due to the fact that the West provided technology and production to a cheap labor market. What technologies can Russia put on a continent that is semi-literate, hungry, with high child mortality and mass illiteracy? Are there any such possibilities?
    Africa (it just seems to me) will follow the one whose beads will be brighter, the mirrors are bigger and the carrots are juicier (even drier, even from ... alumina, but in bright packaging) ...
    And now, let me ask you, what kind of cunning plan is this against the background of all obligations, promises, decrees and promises "fulfilled" to its own people?
  11. bandabas
    bandabas 19 November 2019 18: 56
    We are rich. Only these 20 billion are earned at the expense of generations, which they are now stupidly throwing. For the same penny pensions.
  12. Polymer
    Polymer 19 November 2019 19: 00
    If only the sad experience of "Russian America" ​​is not repeated. In the end, from the standpoint of the present day, everything was in vain, everything was in vain.
  13. evgen1221
    evgen1221 20 November 2019 03: 27
    What else return to Africa in our country, there is no technology, no idea, no population to promote something there. Just debts written off by the next wide gesture that no one except us will understand.
  14. NF68
    NF68 20 November 2019 16: 43
    Russia or the United States?

    China should not be forgotten.
  15. iouris
    iouris 22 November 2019 22: 01
    Actually, first you need to figure out which way the Russian Federation is going: to Russia or from it. The United States is also not so clear. So it’s better to let Africa stand aside, perhaps the cradle of future civilization is located there.