I herewith postulate that “AFRICOM” is probably the best concept to hit Africa since the concept of “Independence” took hold on the continent over a century ago. In my opinion, African leaders, who are overwhelmingly males, opposed to the concept of “AFRICOM”, really see this as a threat to the political hegemony they enjoy at the expense of an ignorant populace. Why else would anyone with a sense of farsightedness oppose such a novel idea of bringing almost instant prosperity to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of poor Africans? Economically, military installations are like hotels in terms of job creation. Wherever they spring up, industries are created to meet their varied needs. Industries bring jobs, more jobs and thousands of jobs.
From the perspective of Liberia, just as Russia was wrong back when they opposed the idea of Europeans accepting American economic assistance, that is how wrong J. Yanqui Zaza
, Ezekiel Pajibo, Elmira Jackson
and others are. Dead Wrong!
“On 12th March, 1947, Harry S. Truman, announced details to Congress of what eventually became known as the Truman Doctrine. In his speech he pledged American support for "free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures". This speech also included a request that Congress agree to give military and economic aid to Greece in its fight against communism.”
“Three months later George C. Marshall, Truman's Secretary of State, announced details of what became known as the Marshall Plan or the European Recovery Program (ERP). Marshall offered American financial aid for a programme of European economic recovery. Ernest Bevin, the British foreign secretary, made it clear he fully supported the scheme but the idea was rejected by the Soviet Union. A conference was held in Paris in September and sixteen nations in Western Europe agreed on a four year recovery plan.” Culled from, (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAmarshallP.htm
) The rest, as they say, is history.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. missile-defense system will be built in Poland despite Russia's anger over the plans, Polish President Lech Kaczynski said on Monday after a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.
Kaczynski expressed confidence over the proposed system, although Poland has held off a formal agreement to host it and pressed for concessions on issues including related military contracts. "The matter of the shield is largely a foregone conclusion," Kaczynski said at a news conference following the meeting. "The shield will exist because for Poland this will be a very good thing," he said. The Czech Republic has already agreed to the radar site. Culled from (http://www.reuters.com ) (July 16, 2007)
The evidence will show that nations which have embraced the military might of The United States have done well economically, and most continue to do so today. Even mighty Russia, at one point had to be rescued economically by the United States.
July 1993: Additional Economic Assistance to Russia
“At the Economic Summit Meeting in Tokyo on July 9-10, 1993, the leaders of the G-7 countries expressed their support for the reform process in Russia and Ukraine. The Summit’s Economic Declaration called for a $3 billion Special Privatization and Restructuring Program, with a Support Implementation Group in Moscow. The United States announced a bilateral aid program of $1.8 billion for Russia and the former Soviet republics.” (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/pubs/fs/85962.htm#economic_assistance)
As can be deduced from the self-explanatory excerpts above, the United States is not exactly the monster some of her political detractors would have us believe she is. In their efforts to derail what is, arguably, the best concept of economic and military engagement the continent of Africa has ever seen, and probably may ever see again, since the concept of independence, there seems to be a rush to judgment as to the merits of the proposed establishment of an Africa Command Structure for the U.S. Military, dubbed, “AFRICOM”.
As matter of historical fact, the exact opposite is true and is borne by mountains of evidence, that even African countries which enjoy excellent relations with the U.S. are also doing well economically, in most cases, as a direct result of the expanded relations with the U.S., such countries as, Egypt, Morocco, Ethiopia, Botswana, Ghana, etc,, even Libya is now scrambling for good relations with the U.S after a hiatus of over ten years.
The current economic might of the sixteen West European nations which defied the objections of the then “Soviet Union” and signed the agreement for U.S. economic and military assistance proves who was right and who was wrong. Had these leaders not done so, they probably would not have been in the position financially to lend economic assistance to Russia when she was in need. Today, Poland and The Czech Republic are again defying Russia, even with a threat from Russia that nuclear missiles would be pointed at their territories, have gone ahead and signed with the U.S. to have missile shields and military bases built on their country’s soil.
In pondering the actions of the men and women who made, what is now obviously, the right choices for their people, often times against the wishes of some of their own countrymen, by embracing the United States in her economic and military largesse, I can’t help but wonder what would be the results for the African people were some of the “Leaders”, to make such courageous choices, putting their selfish interest last and the interest of the “Masses: first, and invite the U.S. to come and setup her bases in their countries.
For decades, since I was in grade school, I have often heard African politicians including Liberians accuse the United States of refusing to fully engage Africa in its military and foreign policy initiatives. It has often been said that the U.S. treats Africa like a “Stepchild”. Enter in September 11, 2002, the infamous “9-1-1”, and an American president with a “global perspective” as opposed to a “Fortress Europe” approach to American foreign policy. He sees the advantage of pre-empting terrorists in their attempts to make Africa their home turf, having been driven out of Asia. He decides that the time has come to fully engage the continent as a full partner in the fight against terrorism on a global scale by setting up a permanent command structure, dedicated to Africa. Shouldn’t the so-called leaders rush to embrace the concept and set up task forces to determine how to harness and maximize the benefits to individual countries that this massive American investment is sure to bring?
What do African leaders do, and how do they respond to such an initiative? Most have out rightly opposed the plan of setting up “AFRICOM” on their soil at worse, and many have expressed skepticism over the idea, at best. Whose interest are these men serving? Certainly not the people’s. Are these men crazy or do they not understand the dynamics of the basic theory of economics? - The management of scarce resources, with the emphasis on scarce, which is what governments are instituted to do, just to paraphrase. Many American cities and states fight to attract army, navy or airforce installations to their locality. When the U.S. Military decides to shut some bases, cities and states spend serious lobbying dollars to keep bases located in their states off the lists.
What makes African countries so special that the leaders should feel that the United States is on a mission to “Militarize the continent” as some skeptics are claiming; or that the U.S. wants to usurp the political will of Africa. Why didn’t the West European leaders think in this manner? We need only to look around Africa to determine that the political and economic will of Africa has already been usurped by its greedy and evil leaders. They beat America to the plate. Let’s look at some examples of political usurpation by the tyrannical minorities: Liberia: The most evil ruler the country has seen in its 160-year existence, Charles Taylor, called Liberia, “My pepper bush”. He waged an extensive war on the innocents and thereafter proceeded to use the country as his private “Piggy Bank”, extending his reign of terror to neighboring Sierra Leone. Zimbabwe: A greedy and evil ruler, Robert Mugabe, inherited a country with a booming economy and proceeded to systematically destroy it. Today the economy lies in ruins, inflation is over 3000 percent, and the Zimbabwean Dollar is worthless. Why? Because he believes he is God’s gift to the Zimbabwean people, and he will shove himself down their throats, with or without their political consent. Congo: A country, arguably, one of the richest in Africa, if not the richest, endowed with nearly every commercially viable mineral in the world, but kept poor because of the greed of one man, Mobutu Sesse Sekou; Angola: Rich in oil and other natural resources but kept poor because of the greed and evil designs of one man, Jonas Savimbi. I could go on and on because there is no shortage of these maniacal idiots in Africa
In my opinion, there seems to be a dichotomy between African leaders’ supposed desire to enhance development of their countries, and their reluctance to embrace the surest and quickest way of lifting their people out of poverty - massive infusion of capital. Are the “leaders” sincere? I have often found myself wrestling with this question. However, I don’t wrestle anymore, but have concluded that the leaders are NOT sincere about developing means to enable the people to support themselves. The key phrase is “Enabling the people to support themselves”. That’s it, I have dared to accuse African leaders of intentionally subjugating their people to poverty as a means of controlling them forever. It is my considered opinion that economic emancipation is the best way to assist someone. The old people say, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. In simple terms, give him economic emancipation.
I will dare to make another categorical statement regarding African “leaders: African “leaders” deliberately keep their population poor as a means of controlling them, thereby sustaining their stranglehold on the country. The best and most effective way of controlling someone is to keep that person uninformed, and poor. The opposite is equally true, the best means of emancipating a person is to educate him and give him a job. Let the pundits argue the merits of these statements.
In his testimony to the United States Congress on August 6, 2007, Dr. Wafulu Okumu, head of the. African Security Analysis Programme, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, South Africa spoke on the topic, "Africa Command: Opportunity for Enhanced Engagement or the Militarization of U.S. -Africa Relations? He had this to say regarding “AFRICOM”, "First, any country hosting the command will be criticized for violating Africa’s common positions on African defence and security, which discourages the hosting of foreign troops on the African soil. In particular, it is thought, such troops could be used to undermine the Continent’s Non-Aggression Pact, solemn declaration on common African defence and security, and other positions on hosting foreign bases in Africa.” Africa’s defence and security? What utter nonsense.
My response to that garbage is disappointment, disappointment. In my opinion, Dr. Okumu is either an educated fool or worse, he is an advocate for perpetuating the continued existence of poverty in Africa. I would like to ask Dr. Okumu, why are Soweto residents still living in slums, and why is armed robbery so rampant in South Africa after several ANC administrations? While I await his answer, I would like to proffer one of my own POVERTY.
For decades African academics and politicians alike have kept the people of Africa focused on the effects of slavery. African American leaders do the same to their people in America as a means of perpetuating the existence of the NAACP and other so-called activist organizations. In other words these institutions use the past as a “Raison d’etre”. It is certainly not my intention to ameliorate the negative effects of slavery, but, in my opinion, it is high time we stop blaming the failures of Africa on slavery. Africans are not the only people to have known or experienced slavery. Yes, that is the shocking truth! Contrary to popular belief,. Americans were more or less enslaved by the British, and had to fight a bitter war to be emancipated; The Japanese enslave and killed millions of Chinese, Koreans, Cambodians, Vietnamese, etc; Britain also enslaved Indians and Pakistanis; Germany enslaved and murdered millions of Jews, Liberians enslave other Liberians, even today; just to name a few. All of these countries and peoples are now getting along and enjoying economic prosperity from each other. The only ones still holding onto the past are Africans.
African “leaders” preach “African solutions to African problems”, i.e. Dr. Okumu. What does that mean in a world which is now a “Global village”? I present to you the African interpretation Only African “leaders” should be allowed to kill, maim, destroy, and impoverish Africans, and no “White Man” should be allowed to stop them. That’s the true meaning to the stupid phrase, i.e. Darfur, Sudan; Sierra Leone; Rwanda; Somalia; Angola; Congo; Liberia; Ivory Coast; Chad; Guinea; Togo; etc.
For a country coming out of decades of war and senseless destruction, as Western Europe was, after World War II, a country burdened with 80 percent illiteracy and 85 % unemployment, Liberia needs massive infusions of capital to resuscitate her economy, educate her people and provide jobs for her people. It is said that. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. I have yet to see good intentions putting food on anyone’s table or sending their children to school. This is the job of capital. Aid will not accomplish this economic feat either. At the present pace, the Liberian populace will be waiting for the next hundred, if not thousand years to achieve some degree of economic emancipation, i.e. just a job.
“AFRICOM” offers the potential of immediate infusion of millions of dollars in construction jobs, creating hundreds of industrial suppliers, stimulating massive trade, because when people earn money, they must spend it, hence trade, thus spurring additional trade, all of this long term. The president, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf, has seen the vision and is attempting to capitalize on it, and harness the huge potential it presents. Contrary to what the pundits have to say, she is certainly not offering Liberia up on a silver platter. This is a woman who was successful in wrestling twenty one additional benefits for Liberians from a contract approved by the Gyude Bryant Government between Mittal Steel and the Liberian government. She is not as stupid as our Liberian male negotiators. Contrary to what Mr. J. Yanqui Zaza thinks, she knows how to negotiate, and when she finds herself lacking, she also knows where to go for help, i.e. her request to Harvard University to assist in reviewing the Mittal agreement. In my lifetime, this is the first I have seen the government of Liberia renegotiate a contract for the express sake of securing additional benefits for the country. Our previous “Educated male negotiators” have always been quick to capitulate, have taken huge sums of money for themselves, and run leaving the country and its people to deal with the aftermath, i.e. Firestone, Bong Mines, LMC, LAMCO, etc.
God has raised-up a “Moses” for Liberia and “his” name is Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Why don’t we give the woman a chance to introduce what are revolutionary ideas to Liberia and Africa, and let history be the judge of her legacy, instead of fighting her every step of the way? Men, of which I am included, have had 158 years to turn Liberia around. What have we done? Steal, rape, destroy, maim, murder and partition Liberia and its people. Now that there is a new day in Liberia, we need to rally around this president and ask ‘What can I do to assist?”. Instead of sitting on the fence and writing garbage with the intent of denigrating her sincere efforts to restore the years the locust have eaten.
May God grant us the fortitude to accept the things we cannot change, the understanding to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
2007 by The Perspective
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