The presidential adviser for national security, John Bolton, tried to adapt to the African continent the slogan ” America First “, or ” America first “, which guides the foreign policy of the Republican administration.
Although he boasted of exposing this vision less than two years after the arrival of the businessman in the White House, his government had not previously shown a particular interest in Africa – – which we really only talked about in Washington when Donald Trump described some African states as ” shitty countries ” at an in camera meeting.
The ” New Strategy for Africa ” translates into a confirmed mistrust of multilateral institutions, a promise of parsimony with US taxpayer money, and cold-war competition with US rivals .
” The major competing powers, China and Russia, are rapidly expanding their financial and political influence across Africa, ” said John Bolton in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington.
” They deliberately and aggressively target their investments in the region to increase their comparative advantages over the United States, ” he said, denouncing pell-mell ” bribes “, ” opaque agreements “, recourse Chinese debt to ” hold African states hostage ” or Russian looting of natural resources.
- The UN criticized –
However, according to the Trump administration, ” the predatory behavior of China and Russia is holding back economic growth in Africa ” and ” pose a significant threat to US national interests “.
But while the US government ensures – like all its predecessors – want the prosperity, independence and good governance of African countries, its policy seems to open the door to some disengagement, at least in traditional forms.
The United States, which always makes fighting Islamist terrorism one of their priorities, wants African countries to take charge of their own security. And will plead to ” rationalize, review, or end ” UN missions that do not promote ” lasting peace, ” warned John Bolton.
” Our goal is to resolve conflicts, not to freeze them indefinitely, ” insisted the former US ambassador to the United Nations, a ” hawk ” very hostile to multilateralism. He cited as an example the UN operation in Western Sahara, recalling having participated in its establishment in 1991 while working at the US State Department.
Asked about these statements, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Aziz Haq replied ” not to be aware of impending cuts in the budget (peace operations) from member states “. ” Our mandates are established by the members of the Security Council ” and it is their responsibility to adapt them if necessary, he added.
More broadly, John Bolton has promised to scrutinize US economic aid – an exercise ” soon ” finished – to ensure that it delivers results, while the White House tenant wants to drastically cut budgetary resources allocated to diplomacy.
” Unfortunately, billions and billions of dollars of US taxpayers have not produced the desired results ,” said John Bolton. ” From now on, the United States will no longer tolerate this long tradition of unsuccessful aid, assistance without accountability, and support without reform, ” he said.
In South Sudan facing a civil war after receiving significant US assistance, including, ” we will no longer provide additional US loans or resources to a South Sudanese government led by the same bankrupt leaders who perpetuate this horrible violence, “insisted the counselor.
” This approach seems particularly counterproductive to me and risks bringing our potential partners closer to Beijing, ” Abraham Denmark, expert at the Wilson Center think tank, said on Twitter. ” Can not we be interested in Africa for its own merits and not make it into a chess pawn with China?”