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Obama Moves Ahead With US African Command

Obama Moves Ahead With US African Command

Pambazuka News
December 17, 2009

Concerned over the supply of oil to the US and a supposed need to continue the global ‘War on Terror’, President Barack Obama has essentially maintained the militarised approach to Africa that was the hallmark of his immediate predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The escalation of AFRICOM (United States African Command) activities underlines a troubling commitment to an approach based on might and dominance, one entirely at the expense of promoting sustainable economic development and democracy.

In his July 11, 2009 speech in Accra, Ghana, US President Barack Obama declared, ‘America has a responsibility to advance this vision, not just with words, but with support that strengthens African capacity. When there is genocide in Darfur or terrorists in Somalia, these are not simply African problems – they are global security challenges, and they demand a global response. That is why we stand ready to partner through diplomacy, technical assistance, and logistical support, and will stand behind efforts to hold war criminals accountable. Our Africa Command is focused not on establishing a foothold in the continent, but on confronting these common challenges to advance the security of America, Africa and the world.’

And yet all the available evidence demonstrates that he is determined to continue the expansion of US military activity on the continent initiated by President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s and dramatically escalated by President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. While many expected the Obama administration to adopt a security policy toward Africa that would be far less militaristic and unilateral than that pursued by his predecessor, the facts show that he is in fact essentially following the same policy that has guided US military involvement in Africa for more than a decade.

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