Pentagon warns of rising Chinese and Russian influence in Africa – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – February 9, 2019)

A senior U.S. military commander, describing Africa as a potential “failed continent,” has warned that Russia and China are aggressively expanding their influence across Africa in a new era of “great-power competition.”

The testimony this week by General Thomas Waldhauser, head of the U.S. military command for Africa, was a glimpse into the emerging world view of President Donald Trump’s administration, where Africa is seen largely as a battleground for superpower rivalry.

Gen. Waldhauser, testifying before a U.S. Senate committee, spelled out what he sees as evidence of the “harmful influence of non-African players” on the African continent – while excluding his own country from that description.

One of the U.S. strategic goals, he said, is to “decrease the potential for Africa to become a failed continent.” His words sparked anger on social media among many Africans, who saw it as a highly exaggerated and pessimistic view of their continent. Some noted that U.S. military intervention in Libya had contributed to the failure of that North African country.

China and Russia are both making inroads across Africa, the U.S. commander told the Senate committee. “The Chinese bring the money and the Russians bring the muscle,” he said, quoting a Congolese politician and calling it an accurate description.

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