In early February, The New York Times released information detailing the involvement of the U.S. military in the bungled Ugandan mission to oust the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from northeastern DR Congo. Seventeen military advisors from AFRICOM worked closely with the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) to plan the attack, which the United States further subsidized through the donation of satellite phones and $1 million worth of fuel. Although the United States has been training the Ugandan military for years, this is the first time it has directly assisted in carrying out an operation.
Editor’s note: The Africa Policy Outlook is an annual publication released jointly by Africa Action and Foreign Policy In Focus that highlights the key themes and trends in U.S. Africa policy. See the appendix below for a general schedule of African elections planned for 2009.
As global supplies shrink and the Middle East remains in turmoil, the United States is not without competition in Africa. China and other emerging economies are also looking to the continent and only seeing the oil needed to feed their rapid growth. This is especially true as new discoveries of oil on the African continent seem to pop up every year. Ghana discovered oil off its shores in 2007, Mauritania in 2006, and many other countries are ramping up exploration.
How-to-leave-Iraq plans have proliferated over the past five years. Most of the plans proposed by Democrats have brimmed with rhetoric aimed at scoring points against President George W. Bush rather than working out the messy details of how to end the occupation and what to do in its aftermath. Ten Democratic candidates for Congress have just changed that with the announcement of a plan that sets forth a strategic vision both to bring the Iraq War to an end and to prevent future “Iraqs.”
Having only recently become a U.S citizen, I now join the millions of immigrants eligible to vote in this year’s presidential election. For my native Latin America, none of the candidates is offering a real alternative to the failed policies that have made the U.S. government wildly unpopular among people from Mexico to Argentina.
Victories are within sight for people in a growing number of nations where communities that host U.S. foreign military bases have long fought to get rid of them.
In February 2007, President Bush announced that the United States would create a new military command for Africa, to be known as the Africa Command or AFRICOM, to protect U.S. national security interests on the African continent. Previously, control over U.S. military operations in Africa was divided between three different commands: European Command, which oversaw North Africa and most of sub-Saharan Africa; Central Command, which had responsibility for Egypt and the Horn of Africa; and Pacific Command, which administered the Indian Ocean and Madagascar.
The Bush Administration’s fixation on security and the “war on terror” is already escalating the militarization of U.S. policy in Africa in 2008. In his last year in office, President George W. Bush will no doubt duplicitously continue to promote economic policies that exacerbate inequalities while seeking to salvage his legacy as a compassionate conservative with rhetorical support for addressing human rights challenges including conflict in Sudan and continued promotion of his unilateral HIV/AIDS initiative. The third prong of U.S.-Africa policy in 2008 will be the continued and relentless pursuit of African resources, especially oil, with clear implications for U.S. military and economic policy.
A U.S. Army captain in Africa waxes philosophical. It’s like the old saying, he opines; "give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day, teach him how to fish and he’ll eat forever."