In Africa, Anthony Brinken believes that U.S. influence abroad is limited

Dakar, Senegal (AP)-Across Africa, US Secretary of State Anthony winked I have witnessed the limitations of American influence abroad.

flash In the face of the growing threat of authoritarianism, emerging extremists, and the continuing challenges posed by COVID-19 and climate change, all of these have stubbornly resisted various U.S. interventions.

And nowhere to go his Last week’s trip to the Three Kingdoms-to Kenya, Nigeria with Senegal – used to be he Clear signs of being able to escape the fierce competition between China and the United States China: A geopolitical power struggle, mainly in ChinaFavored in the past two decades, especially in Africa.

Before leaving the mainland his last Stand Senegal, flash Said he Received unanimous praise from the three leaders he met. but, he Allow “We must judge us based on our behavior, not just based on what I say.”

For some time, the limitations of Washington’s influence have been obvious, but in recent months, President Joe Biden has promoted the statement that “America is back”, aiming to show that the United States has returned to the international arena that his predecessor eschewed. And institutions, this has become prominent in recent months.

In Nairobi, most of the secretary’s visits and driving through the Kenyan capital were carried out in the shadow or literally of a large-scale elevated highway construction project funded by China.

In Abuja, flashThe motorcade coming out of the airport passed by the huge and unmissable headquarters building of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria, where a high-level official just joked about playing with the United States and China With each other ChinaAttractiveness as a partner.

And, in Senegal, The capital Dakar is preparing to host a large-scale China-Less than 10 days after the African trade and investment event flashDeparture on Saturday.

Although the Biden administration’s efforts to help African countries fight the coronavirus pandemic and encourage climate-friendly policies seem to be making some initial progress, the broader picture is not encouraging.

Although the U.S.’s very public appeals and protests were ignored or only partially heard by leaders in Ethiopia, Sudan, and other places, who seemed distrusted or uninterested in government messages, the new wave of authoritarianism has reversed some positive democratization. trend.

“The government is becoming more and more opaque,” flash Said in the Nigerian capital on Friday. “We see this happening across Africa-leaders ignoring term limits, manipulating or postponing elections, using social grievances to gain and maintain power, arresting opposition figures, cracking down on the media, and allowing the security services to brutally execute the pandemic limit.”

he Take Ethiopia and Sudan as examples.

although flash Did not go to any country his travel, he Trigger a crisis his Stop while he During the trip, senior US envoys visited Khartoum and Addis Ababa and pressured the authorities there to abandon their anti-democratic actions.

However, even though Sudan announced an agreement on Sunday flash Back in Washington, neither side achieved unprecedented success.

In Sudan, after a dialogue between military leaders and Molly Phee, the top U.S. diplomat in Africa, a new deadly crackdown on opposition protesters was carried out. flash Forced to formally condemn in a statement.

A hopeful sign is that the country’s deposed prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, subsequently signed an agreement with the military that would put him under house arrest in a military coup for nearly a month. After reinstatement. But a key democratic group dismissed it as “a kind of betrayal.” flash He himself was very cautious and said he Be “encouraged” but still want to see more.

“I urge all parties to further negotiate and redouble their efforts to complete the key transitional tasks on the democratic road led by civilians in Sudan,” flash Said in a tweet. “I also once again call on the security forces not to use excessive force against peaceful protesters.”

In Ethiopia, the US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, rejected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s call for an end to the humanitarian blockade in northern Tigray. The region is home to the insurgents who are advancing to the capital.

At the same time, long-standing corruption, abuse of power, and lack of transparency continue to hinder African infrastructure, development, and poverty alleviation initiatives advocated by the United States.

Moreover, even though Biden has talked about making Africa an important part of U.S. foreign policy, other priorities and urgent developments, including urgent issues in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, are often in the top 10 government positions. moon.

On Friday, the White House announced that Biden will hold a summit of US-Africa leaders next year, “to strengthen ties with African partners on the basis of mutual respect and the principles of common interests and values.” However, the announcement lacks key details, such as who will Participate and when it will happen.

And it’s coming flash arrive Senegal, The third and last stop his The first official visit to sub-Saharan Africa, postponed from August, is a clear sign of priority during the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

In addition to the attention it has aroused in Washington, the impact of Afghanistan’s withdrawal has also made some friends in the United States, including friends in Africa, wonder about the flexibility of their relationship with Washington.This is a particularly worrying issue because China Has swept over to fill the gaps in American interest in Africa and attention to the rest of the world.

The Trump administration’s indifference to Africa fuels this perception unless through the prism ChinaThe rapidly expanding power is Biden and flash Hope to change. E.g, flash Not mentioned once China Named in an important speech called the Biden administration’s African policy he Shipped on Friday.

However China Never far from the top priority of the agenda.

“Our contacts in Africa, our contacts with Africa, are not about China Or any other third party,” flash Talking about Nigeria“This is about Africa.”

“Our purpose is not to let our partners choose, but to give them choices,” he Talking about Senegal“When people have a choice, they usually make the right choice.”

Senegal Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall will co-chair the forum on November 29-30 China-Cooperation with Chinese counterparts in Africa, nodding approvingly flashcomment of.

“We have sovereign diplomacy, and we don’t exclude anyone,” she Said. “There is more than one choice. We have many choices.”

And, as Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama pointed out, his country and other countries want the best deal they can get, which usually means seeking China.

“We see great opportunities for the Chinese,” he said of several major infrastructure projects underway in China. Nigeria“I mean, they have become accustomed to a lot of these huge capital projects and infrastructure projects. We would have chosen any other company that provides services to us at a competitive price, but they do in many areas.

“This is not a problem of one country or another country itself; it is really a problem of the best deal we can make,” he said, comparing Nigeria To a woman pursued by various suitors.

“Regarding the U.S.-China competition in Africa, I mean, I don’t want to sound cynical, almost, but sometimes, if you are a charming bride, everyone offers you wonderful things, which is a good thing for you. . You can take what you can do from each of them.”


This story has been corrected to show that the spelling of the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s last name is Ahmed, not Ahmed.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

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