US Embarrassment in Africa

The US plan to set up its African Command has been unpleasant and out of sorts from the very beginning. An editorial carried by the Gabonese newspaper 'Reporter' has appealed to African countries to say 'no' to the US African Command and not to partake in any activities for the construction of any US military facility on the African continent. Meanwhile, the Algerian government also announced its refusal to allow the US Africa Command to locate within its territories.

US President George W. Bush gave green light to a plan to set up the US African command in February 2007. According to the plan, the Command is set to complete and go into service in 2008. The United States had reportedly intended to build it in Algeria but it was turned down, so it had to relocate it in Stuttgart, Germany for the time being.

The United States claimed that the main purpose of establishing its African Command was to fight the war on terror and provide a humanitarian aid. African countries, however, hold that it has harbored with 'ulterior motives.' Mohamed Bedjaoui, the Algerian minister of state and foreign affairs, questioned that why no one had ever proposed for any anti-terror cooperation with Algeria in the 1990s when terrorist violence went rampant and wrought great havocs? Some analysts hold that the destabilization of the situation in the Middle East region has beefed up the US's dependence on African oil resources. To protect its potential oil interests in Africa is precisely a major reason for the U.S. to set up its African Command.

Even as the Americans asserted their US military forces have come to Africa to combat terrorist activities, African countries are still concerned that the US African Command could become an destabilizing factor in their countries instead of helping to uproot terrorism. In both Afghanistan and the whole Middle East region, the US military forces, hoisting high the banner of anti-terrorism, only plunged these areas into a prolonged turmoil, with their followers enduring repeated terrorist attacks. The Algerian newspaper 'Reporter' warned the African countries that 'they should wake up after seeing the scars of others.' Furthermore, the countries having been under the yoke of a prolonged colonial abyss are also worried about their state sovereignty to be encroached upon.

Americans, having a complex sense of self-arrogance or self-importance, often seem to act in line with their own wishful thinking. Their embarrassment in an initial plan period to set up the US African Command has once again added an obvious, new evidence. Perhaps only by capitalizing on the advantage of its might, the United States would perhaps be able to find a seat for its command on the African continent. However, the role of the African Command will remain doubtful, if it does not taken into fuller account of the desires of African nations and truly serve the stability and development of the African continent.

By People's Daily Online