RUSSIA AND AFRICAJune 2, 2011
I've been blogging this week about the geopolitical realignment happening around the world, a geopolitical realignment that is taking place in the wake of American military over-extension and economic woes, driven by a China and Russia intent upon not allowing the emergence of a "uni-polar world" dominated by one superpower. Yesterday it was China and Africa, today, Russia and Africa:
Notably President Medvedev pledges that Russia will seek to broaden its economic and political support for African states to achieve their own "peace-keeping status" within current international frameworks, namely the G-8. While this may sound at first glance that Russia intends no overt challenge to the influence of the US, UK, and France in the continent, it is not, in my opinion, that at all.
It is, rather, Russia's insistence - as it has insisted elsewhere - that a unipolar world with Washington's as the supreme and dominant voice is not going to be allowed by Russia. His pointed warning against allowing the current Middle Eastern turmoil not to spread southward from Libya and Egypt into the continent is, in my opinion, a warning against those states seeking to manipulate the turmoil to their own geopolitical interest. The presence of India's prime minister in Africa for the celebration of Africa Day is itself a pointed reminder that the three Asian powerhouses - Russia, China, India - are following a more or less regional and coordinated policy, one that, if they play their cards correctly, could lead to a rebirth of that continent (or perhaps better put, a birth), and of a greatly expanded influence for their own nations.
President Medvedev makes a significant statement in this respect: "Nowadays, political dialogue, business affairs and humanitarian interaction between Russia and African states assume a new evolution; it allows us to look to the future with optimism".... Curiously specific and yet vague words for the Russian president to choose, for if we did not know they were by President Medvedev we might be tempted to ascribe them to the sort of self-serving pabulum that emerges from the US State Department. But unlike the State Department, Medvedev, like his mentor Vladimir Putin, means what he says, and is prepared to act upon them.
Africa is a raped, plundered continent. Her peoples have been ravaged by colonialism, but its riches, and their talents, remain. If Russia, China, and India capitalize on the long-standing grievances of those nations against their former European and American masters, yet another massive realignment is in the making. China and Russia have made their own share of mistakes on that continent, but as their trade policies gradually begin to lift those poor nations up, look for their influence to expand, and ours to diminish.