[News] The Bolton Speech on Africa: A Case of the Wolf and the Foxes
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 21 11:47:01 EST 2018
The Bolton Speech on Africa: A Case of the Wolf and the Foxes
by Ajamu Baraka <https://www.counterpunch.org/author/cuxere/> - December
Malcolm X reminded us that we had to be careful about the difference
between the wolf and the fox. The wolf for black people were the
hardcore, racist white folks with the hoods and clearly articulated
stance in support of white supremacy. The fox, on the other hand were
the liberals who were supposed to be our friends. Their ultimate support
for white supremacy was always just as deadly but sugarcoated in
diversionary language like “humanitarian intervention” and the
“responsibility to protect.” The game, according to Malcolm, was that
black folks would recognize danger of the wolf and run from the wolf
straight into the jaws of the fox with the consequence being just as
fatal because both the fox and the wolf are members of the same canine
This captures in many ways not only the nature of the ongoing saga of
U.S. politics in general where there is really no substantial difference
in the class interests and fundamental priorities of the two capitalist
parties, but specific policies like U.S. policy in Africa.
In a speech last week before an audience at the right-wing Heritage
Foundation, John Bolton unveiled the Trump administrations’ “new Africa
In what could only be characterized as another example of the White
supremacist racial blind-spot, Bolton revealed an understanding of
Africa and the role played by the U.S. and Europe that was a compete
departure from the reality of the systematic underdevelopment of that
continent by Europe and the U.S.
In Bolton’s world, the predatory powers in Africa were not the European
powers that raided the continent for black bodies to create the wealth
of Europe and then carved up a weakened and devastated Africa among
those same powers in 1884. It wasn’t the U.S. that murdered African
leaders, overthrew African states and imposed brutal neocolonial
leaders. No, the real threat to African states were the “predatory”
Chinese and, for whatever reasons he threw in the Russians, that,
according to Bolton “stunt economic growth in Africa and…threaten
financial independence of African nations.”
Therefore, in typical colonialist arrogance in which Bolton’s analysis
represents objective truth, he states that African states have a choice.
Either surrender to Chinese and Russia interests, or aligned themselves
with the U.S. to secure “foreign aid” and avoid subversion from the U.S.!
Of course, there is a different position, a reading of African history
from the point of view of the African. From that perspective, it was the
predatory practices of European and U.S. imperialist policies that
reduced Africa to its present situation as the richest continent on the
planet in terms of natural resources, land and people – to a balkanized
continent of 54 nations, economically disarticulated, politically
fragmented and still suffering the cultural effects of alien colonial
Whatever the national intentions of China or Russia may have in Africa,
only the most jaded or confused could conclude that economic relations
with these states and in particular with China provides African states a
modicum of space <https://fpif.org/america_vs_china_in_africa/> to
exercise more effective national sovereignty than had ever afforded them
by the European colonial powers that craved up and unmercifully
exploited African labor and land.
But that is the point and the intent of U.S. Africa policy over the last
seven three years since the end of the second imperialist war in 1945.
Bolton and the racist policy-makers in Washington don’t want to see
Africa nations with any space to act independently of the dependence
imposes on them by predatory trade regimes, the world Bank and
International Monetary Fund debt peonage.
While China provides investment in African infrastructure and production
capacities, the U.S. offers Africa militarism and subversion from Libya
to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Bolton didn’t mention in his statement that U.S. strategy for Africa
which centers military recolonization would be a continuation of the
U.S. policies of the last few decades and in particularly during the
Obama administration that saw the expansion of the U.S. military
presence by 1,900 %.
It is clear that the Trump “strategy” offers nothing substantially
different. The policy continues to be more guns, more bases and more
The destruction of Libya that resulted in the enhanced military
capacities of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram in Nigeria,
Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, the disastrous decision to carve up the Sudan
and create yet another colonial entity called South Sudan, military and
political support for PresidentKagame of Rwanda, President Kabila of the
Democratic Republic of Congo, President Museveni of Uganda and expansion
of AFRICOM reflects the murderous continuity of U.S. African policy.
When Bolton claims that in order to assist with African economic
development it is “developing a new initiative called “Prosper Africa,”
which will support U.S. investment across the continent, grow Africa’s
middle class, and improve the overall business climate in the region.”
This approach is not in any way a departure from the Bush-Obama “African
Growth and Opportunity Act,
which made similar claims and focused on a concentration on extractive
trade policies to exploit African natural resources and served as basis
of continued conflict over those resources in nations like the
Democratic Republic of the Congo where more than six million Africans
have died in resource based conflicts.
Bolton’s claim that it is Russia and China that “stunt economic growth
in Africa, and “threaten financial independence of African nations,
“represents another example of either cynicism or the psychopathology of
the white supremacist colonialist mind that renders it unable to
cognitively apprehend objective reality.
Therefore, Bolton’s speech and Trump administration policy was not so
much a new strategy but a cruder reaffirmation of a political stance on
Africa that has always put U.S. interests first, absent the flowery
language and liberal pretentions of Obama’s Cairo speech earlier in his
>From Obama’s “exceptional nation” to Trumps’ “Make American Great
Again,” it has always been about putting the interest of U.S.
The people of Africa must not allow the African continent to be drawn
into competing blocs during last death thrones of a dying neoliberal
capitalist world system.
We say to Bolton, Trump and the neoliberal democrats – U.S. out of
Africa, Shut down AFRICOM, Africa for Africans at home and abroad!
Our radical imaginations can conceive of a world in which the choice is
beyond the wolf and the fox. We are on the side of the majority, the
majority of the world that is suffering the structural violence of
global neoliberal capitalist/imperialist system. But Africans in the
U.S. must make a choice. Malcolm said you cannot sit at the table and
not have any food on front of you and call yourself a dinner. Africans
in the U.S. have been siting at the table of U.S. citizenship and
calling themselves “Americans” while our people are murdered, confined
to cages in prisons, die giving birth to our children, die
disproportionately before the age of five, live in poverty, are
disrespected and dehumanized. A choice must be made, do you throw in
with this dying system or do you align with the working class and
oppressed peoples of the world.
The people of the global South are clear. They can make intelligent
distinctions between friends and enemies, between their national
interests and the national interests of other nations and where those
interest might converge, if only temporarily. But the one thing that are
also clear about is that the U.S. and Europe has nothing to offer for
the new world that must be built. In fact, when Europe and the U.S. are
reduced in power and influence globally, it will be one of the most
important events for collective humanity in the last thousand years.
/*Ajamu Baraka* is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for
Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party
ticket. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda
Report and contributing columnist for Counterpunch magazine. /
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