Mr. S.D., a regular reader here, found this very interesting article, and it definitely raises the stakes of the game now being played out in Africa, for it makes clear that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe means for Japan to play a much more geopolitically vigorous role on the world stage:
There's two paragraphs here that caught my eye, the very first one in fact, and then one further down in the article:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said his country is to invest $30 billion in Africa, with a focus on boosting infrastructure on the resource-rich continent. Tokyo competes with Beijing for influence in the region.
While Abe's government has been relatively successful in reaching out to African nations, its influence is dwarfed by Japan's rival China. In 2015, China's total trade with Africa reached about $179 billion, compared to Japan's $24 billion.
The nature of Japanese investment is also worth looking at:
The new investments, announced on Saturday, would be divided out over a three-year time period, with some of the money going to improve labor productivity and health care.
What is interesting here is that Japan's investments in Africa, like China's, appear to be of a very different nature than America's, which have been largely to form a new command structure in the region and to beef up military presence. China's pattern, in response to this, has been to invest in infrastructure: roads, hospitals, building schools, and so on. Of course, none of this is altruistic, for China's real goal is to build markets for products and trade, and resource-rich Africa is, to be blunt, the last great developing market in the world, with an enormous pool of virtually untapped human creativity and invention. Notably, Mr. Abe's Japan is pursuing, at a smaller scale, the Chinese pattern, and in the long run, this portends yet another reversal over the long term for American policy: the orient sends hospitals, the USSA sends tanks, rockets, drones, bombs... you get the picture.
As I blogged yesterday, even vowel-impaired Zbigniew Brzezinski is having second thoughts about the policy of American unipolarism and interventionism, and recognizing it as an utter failure, albeit the word "failure" never leaks from his pen.
One area that China and Japan will increasingly confront American policy in the region is over education (see today's Tidbit), and the attempts by American high finance to privatize African schools and harvest profits and wealth from the continent. Indeed, one may view such efforts as a kind of corporate neo-colonialism, and rest assured they're quietly discussing how to confront and edge out this American attempt at cultural influence in Tokyo and Beijing. Mr. Abe's government will, of course, quietly continue to mouth support for Washington's policies, while Japan continues to rearm under his government. And that rearming, as I've suggested before, is less because Japan wants to continue to be a satrapy of Washington, and more because it realizes the American empire is waning, and that Japan will increasingly have to steer a much more independent foreign policy.
The other area to watch, of course, is the expansion of radicalized Islam in Africa, and here the two oriental giants will doubtless come into further conflict with American policy. Japan, almost alone of all nations in the world, has a very strict policy against Muslims emigrating to that country, and this for rather obvious cultural reasons. How will one know if this reading of events in Africa is anywhere near the truth, and that Japan is pursuing an increasingly Washington-independent policy? Well, watch for it: expect the usual crowd of globalists to call for a reform of Japan's domestic policy in this regard. Japan cannot be a major competitor if it is dealing with a European-style refugee crisis.
And watch for Mr. Abe's Japan to flatly refuse to take the gambit.
See you on the flip side...