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23 Apr, 2024 08:09

US efforts to lecture Africa backfiring – Politico

‘Vulnerable’ countries are rebuffing demands for reforms and are turning to China and Russia for security, officials have said
US efforts to lecture Africa backfiring – Politico

The US government is facing a “reckoning” over its Africa policy after being ordered to withdraw more than 1,000 troops from Niger and losing access to a crucial drone base, Washington insiders have told Politico.

The US confirmed last week that it is planning an “orderly and responsible withdrawal” from Niger. The West African nation’s transitional government, which previously expelled French troops in a similar fashion, has opted for security cooperation with Russia. Neighboring Chad has also reportedly asked Americans to leave, as part of a wider regional shift away from Western powers on the continent.

Speaking to Politico, anonymous US officials have claimed the developments are down to America pursuing ideological goals when dealing with African nations. Washington has attempted to make aid conditional on democratic reforms and other political demands, which some African leaders have rebuffed, arguing that the US “ignores similar issues with allies in other parts of the world,” according to the report on Monday.

“With most of these governments, they really don’t want to be told what to do,” one source said. “There’s a long history of the West telling African countries how to govern and they’re finally saying ‘enough.’”

Behind closed doors, US officials are increasingly calling for “challenges in democracy” to be overlooked in favor of maintaining access to African nations’ natural resources and keeping China and Russia at bay, Politico explained.

“The fear is, ‘okay, we’re going to walk away, and Russia is going to come in,’” one source said. “Are we really being a good partner if we are leaving when they are most vulnerable?”

Moscow and Beijing have criticized the so-called “rules-based order” promoted by Washington, branding it a guise for neocolonialist policies. The US is using moralistic rhetoric to undermine the development of other nations and to enforce a global economic system that benefits itself and its allies, critics have argued.

According to Politico, part of the failing US strategy in Africa is attempting to paint the Russian presence as “parasitic,” an effort which has not prompted African leaders to reverse their decisions to partner with Moscow.

It remains unclear when or even if US troops would leave Niger, the report stated. One source said Washington may try to negotiate a way for them to stay by offering training services to Niamey’s military.