AFRICA’S OFFSHORE DIPLOMACY; CAN IT BE PLAYED AT HOME?

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From the blindside of history, there comes an old misery. From the blindside of suffering, there comes anguish. The African eye, even in vertical and horizontal projections, would still have a twisted view. A worldview, for over hundred years, has still not been found in the Black soil. Actors of history are not the bearers of its consequence; but the offspring of those who suffered in anguish, out of an archaic gesture must try humanely possible to escape all the associate predicaments. Character and determination are inseparable when options for survival become narrow. Convictions cannot be imported, when values, needed to mechanize them aren’t compatible. And that is why lessons drawn from books, during hard times seem too delicate to reason through.

Knowing that your history has been severely distorted is not enough to sterilize the grounds of your actions. Destinies of nations are meant for those who want to shape it, and it is with values and cultural maxims in strict executions of core convictions that make history possible to be written. It is so in other civilizations, but in Africa, the gods punished us by fulfilling our wishes too completely!

The history of Africa’s coup plots is not necessarily repeating itself. It is the characters of the men and their approaches to politics and foreign policies which have come into replay. The very characters, which validated Africa to be prisoners of corruption, poverty, human rights abuses, diseases, and other absurdities, are the same characters that are in grand-style exhibitions today. The approaches, as inept as it was in the 1960s have been pitifully the same.

The actors of international politics are familiar; United States, Russia, and Western Europe, this time, United Arab Emirates, China Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and what we now call the Muslim brotherhood have joined the play. In the 20th century, world powers used what we call conventional warfare (war, involving military battles), now they have advanced to what we now call the hybrid war. With disinformation, misinformation cyber attacks play more on psychological. Polarities of economic strength which China has redefined also has intensified. Africa, due to prolonged economic stagnation and unsuccessful political history had been both spectators and scapegoats. Whiles, we rot into poverty, corruption and diseases at home, we simultaneously help other nations abroad, to determine our destinies.

Allurement and coup plots were the elements on our negotiation tables with the Whites during the post-colonial 20th century. Contemporarily, nothing has changed. Different actors, with the same approach. Characters of laziness, poor statesmanship, inability to analyze day-to-day situations, educational backwardness, intellectual stagnation, poor diplomacy, and a high sense of passivity.

The CIA and the KGB of the United States and Russia respectively, in International Relations, have no permanent friends or enemies. In IR, there is nothing like affection, only alliances with shared interests exist. The fate of allies and adversaries determines the outcomes of negotiations which sometimes result in war or peace. The basic principle of these maxims emerged, not from theoretical premises, but as a result of power politics defined within the scope of international security and order. Turning history into conflict-prone societies, as if bloodshed was the maxim of peace. Participants of power politics, within the shadows of war, are still the negotiators of peace. Practically, battles would be fought on battlefields, but in true sense, it will be the national interest of those nations which are in conflict. When all arms are laid, disagreement to the power, whose interest triumphed, makes the disagreed revolutionary. The triumphed will try to establish legitimacy through an international order, whiles the revolutionary will seek to distort it. After the Cold war, this was picturesque for both the US and Soviet Union.

The resonance of the power play between the United States and the Soviet Union (now Russia) meant horror in Africa, terror in Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos), anguish in South America, and struggle in the Middle East. For over six decades, Africa hasn’t gotten to the bottom of its ruins; not knowing how they are used abroad.

The horrors, drawn from the cold war in the latter part of the 20th century were defined by various coups and assassinations. By the use of assassins, guerillas, rebels, and poisoning, the United States and the Soviet Union toppled African leaders and their regimes with incredible brutalities. Today, the same anguish still lingers in our backyards. Ideologically, they were fighting over capitalism and communism/socialism. A battle that exhausted all the creams in the democracies America exported. The Soviet Union wanted internationalism for their morally bankrupted communism. So, South America, Chile, Venezuela, and Cuba had to pay the price of communist tenets with their destinies. Countries like Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and East Timor had to receive showers of B-56 bombs for wearing communist caps.

Chairman Mao, after a brutal horror on the Chinese people, will put China in an oracle of politics and will redefine communism within the ambiguities of their cultural revolution. These countries, all enlisted on the enemies of the CIA, will have their remnants exterminated; Africa was the targeted offshoots of the Socialists and Communists. Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, a devoted socialist and ally to Cuba, North Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union, will suffer five assassination attempts before being ousted by a CIA-organized military coup in 1966. Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, also an avowed socialist, after surviving several assassinations attempts, will be poisoned to death by the CIA in January 1961. Wherever there is war, rebel disturbance, violence, guerilla fights, and insurgence, there appear invisible hands of the US or the Soviet Union opposing or supporting by European colonialists in fighting for their interests.

The persistent use of rebel groups, insurgence, and coups had been old tactics of the CIA, KGB, and European intelligence since 1947. Leaders at that time were swayed by racial prejudices. From the beginning, they thought it was old White supremacy and Black conflicts. Drawing unnecessary inferences from the old dogmas of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). But in the 1960s, Nkrumah’s harbor project and Akosombo Dam were less concerned to the CIA than his visit to North Vietnam to meet Ho Chi Minh, even daring to seek refuge in Moscow after he had been ousted in 1966. African diplomats should have thought that it was a fight between communism/socialism and capitalism. Communism and socialism were branded revolutionary, thus being authoritarian and dictatorial were to be demonized. And the United States’ liberal democracy, being the legitimate idea of international order was mandated to cut it off. Such was to be the theme in assessing diplomatic structures to curb Africa’s crisis.

Nevertheless, serious miscalculations were done, foreign tactics and strategies that lingered behind the post-colonial firestorm were off from the negotiation tables. Like the early post-colonial leaders, most of the intellectuals today view these through the lenses of racial prejudice and white supremacism. The sharp contrast between socialist-communist style government, fumed by the Communist bloc that the United State hated was mistaken for a wholesale neo-colonial concept, which the colonials were just playing alongside the Cold war. Realizing that African diplomats had been outwitted by the ideological tensions, the colonial masters drew the Cold war to their advantage; fuming guerillas and rebel insurgence to topple unfavorable regimes to grab mineral fields and resources. Tactics that China is now using. These happened at the expense of the lives of the innocent locals.

Now the ashes of such feeble diplomacy and foreign policies had been blown off by our political whirlwinds. Ever-moving advancements of technology, internet culture, the eminence of nuclear weapons came to restructure foreign policies. Now we are in a new phase; economic autonomy (neoliberalism, Marxism, and authoritarian communism), hybrid warfare, and cyber attacks have been added to military strength within the modern membership of world’s super power politics. Hence, resources like fine metals, uranium, aluminum, crude oil, silicon, gold, and diamonds have to come into the center battlefields for a tug of war game to be played. This time with new players; Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, North Korea, and China joining the United States, Europe, and Russia. Saddam Hussein was accused of getting uranium for his weapons of mass destruction from Africa, after 9/11. And Africa, enriched with all these aforementioned minerals and resources will once again come into the center stage of scapegoating in foreign policies drawn in abroad.

With vehemence, in the 21st century, the international actors are willing to use guerillas, rebels, coups, military interventions, and assassinations to topple, destroy, and set ablaze the regimes who wouldn’t act in their favor.

Sudan, having its Northern sector serve as a strategic point for the Arabian axis (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), has long stayed under the allurements to join the axis. And the 2018-2019 revolution was an opportunity to exploit the Russian-American tensions. These Arabian axes were silent when Moammar Ghaddafi was butchered by Hillary Clinton’s State Department in the name of democracy, turning Libya into one of the most violent and dangerous places in the world.  By supporting military and paramilitary figures, the Arabian axis has fostered instabilities and violence in Sudan, keeping the focus on the right candidate suitable for their interests. In 2019, an agreement was signed on military corporation between Russia and Sudan, as Russia supported a military regime, at the same time seeking to complete the naval base in Sudan. Again, another agreement was signed in September 2021, allowing the Russian company, Rosgeologia to search for gold deposits in Sudan. When Abdalla Hamdok was overthrown and detained by the Sudanese military in October 2021, Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign minister accused Washington of inciting chaos and violence to a stable government. Meanwhile, they had wished for a military regime to be maintained to enable them leverage in Sudan’s territory. Washington also accused Moscow of supporting military interventions by arming groups to fight for their interests. Now that Hamdok had resigned, the fate of Sudanese people would be once again decided by these same actors

Everyone is viewing Sudan as going through a transition process of military-civilian government. But the Arabian axis, like what they had done to Yemen, wants to lock Sudan to their geopolitical tactics, Russia wants the military regime to find gold and peacefully set their naval base, the United States wants it to be democratic for her to be able to use it in the future. Innocent people in Sudan have to pay all these prices with their lives.

In Mali, it was no secret among the locals that Colonel Malick Diaw and Sadio Camara, the chief architects of the August 2020 Coup were Moscow-trained juntas. Following their elections in 2013, after a coup had ousted Amadou Toumana Touré in 2012, Russia had been supplying military equipment to Mali. Negotiating and inciting rebel leaders to overthrow President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK), whom they believed was an ally to Washington. But Assimi Goita who led the May 2021 Coup is also believed to have had military training in America and Europe. Meanwhile, Washington also claimed to have no military ties with Mali. Now that Assimi Goita is the legitimate president of Mali, which international power is he going to serve? Whether he is a puppet or not, the fact remains that his arms and military equipment must have come from either Kremlin or Washington. It must also be established that Coup makers when they become successful get international validation.

Yoweri Museveni had compromised and mortgaged Uganda to China. The central African Republic, through Russia’s ambitions in Sudan, had been consumed by illicit trafficking, crime, and gangsterism. Guinea has swayed her Ecowas counterparts by surprising them with a successful change of power. Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia are still hearing sounds of bombs and bullets every day. The resonance of mechanized arms supply conflicts from the international actors in fighting for their own interest, early in this century is gradually turning Africa into a war zone.

Response to this continent’s changing turmoil, is just mere sanctions, with useless warnings like restoration to constitutional rule and threat to blacklist countries from international communities. As if diplomacy is run like an academic seminar; meetings and events, saturated with ill-prepared speeches and discussions are what the African individual States gather to engage. Without analyzing the nature of their previous political crisis, the Ecowas chairman, Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo, led a group to Guinea after the Coup to tell Mamadou Doumbouya to restore the constitution to get back to democracy. The Ecowas diplomats were not only rendered useless but they were also intimidated and sacked. The Africans, arguably have no idea about what actually goes on between their individual States and the foreign powers. The media space talks more about White oppression and racial prejudice than the dynamics and nuances of international politics. But it is still an offshore foreign policy far from African territories. How do we play it at home?

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