venerdì, febbraio 09, 2007

Come gli USA rispondono alla Cina

Dopo l'articolo sulla Cina in Africa, eccone uno sulle recenti mosse politiche statunitensi sul continente nero. Pochi giorni fa Bush ha annunciato la creazione di un comando militare unificato per l'Africa, mentre per ora le attività militari americane venivano gestite dai comandi dell'Europa e del Medio Oriente. E' impressionante leggere in questo articolo l'ammontare delle spese militari degli USA, anche se confrontate con quelle di altri colossi come la Russia o la Cina. Inoltre è interessante vedere come l'attenzione esclusiva degli americani all'aspetto militare e sicuritario delle crisi internazionali possa avere la conseguenza di creare luoghi sicuri che altri - in particolare i cinesi - possono sfruttare a fini commerciali.

US moves in on Africa
Simon Tisdall
Friday February 9, 2007 The Guardian

This week's US decision to create a new Pentagon command covering Africa, known as Africom, has a certain unlovely military logic. LikeRoman emperors of old, Washington's Caesars arbitrarily divide much ofthe world into Middle Eastern, European and Pacific domains. Now it isAfrica's turn.Practical more than imperial considerations dictated the White Housemove. With Gulf of Guinea countries including Nigeria and Angolaprojected to provide a quarter of US oil imports within a decade, with Islamist terrorism worries in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, and with China prowling for resources and markets, the US plainly feels asecond wind of change is blowing, necessitating increased leverage.
Africom's advent also follows a pattern of extraordinary militaryexpansion under President George Bush, not all of which is explainedby 9/11. The American military-industrial complex that so troubledDwight Eisenhower in 1961 has morphed into a boom business with trulyglobal reach. It makes China's business-oriented People's LiberationArmy look like a corner shop.The Pentagon's total budget requests for the fiscal year endingSeptember 2008 have swollen to $716.5bn (£366bn). That is more thandouble Clinton-era spending. In contrast, Russia will spend $31bn ondefence this year and China, according to the International Institutefor Strategic Studies, an estimated $87bn. With Mr Bush as head of thepolice academy, the US is becoming, de facto, the self-appointedglobal policeman it said it never wanted to be.In Africa as elsewhere, this could have the unintended effect ofcreating US-secured regions that are safe for rival countries to dobusiness in - and exploit. Beijing, for example, has cause to bethankful. Sino-African trade, boosted by the grand continentalprogress of President Hu Jintao this week, has risen from about $3bnin 1995 to $55.5bn last year, according to the independent Power andInterest News Report. And Chinese political cooperation is alsogrowing, not only with "rogue regimes" such as Sudan and Zimbabwe butwith more mainstream governments, potentially undercutting US-promotedgovernance and democracy standards.At the same time, there are arguably too strict limits on what the newcommand will actually do. Africom will advance "our common goals ofpeace, security, development, health, education, democracy andeconomic growth", Mr Bush said. But officials say that will notinvolve the stationing of extra combat troops. Nor will it mean USsoldiers reinforcing stretched UN and African Union peacekeeping forces in Congo, Somalia or Darfur.In practice much of Africom's work is likely to involve oversight ofalready extensive, US-funded African capacity-building programmes,including good governance-related assistance schemes and training ofsecurity forces. In many ways it may be modelled on the Horn of Africataskforce set up in Djibouti after 9/11. Like smaller US militaryunits working in Rwanda, Botswana and Liberia, the taskforceundertakes humanitarian and infrastructure projects including,recently, the collation of Somali folk tales.But like Africom, the Djibouti base's raison d'etre remains Americansecurity and counter-terrorism, as seen in its training of Ethiopiantroops and its air and sea support for the recent Ethiopian intervention in Somalia against Islamist militants. By coordinatingand expanding similar operations, such as US special forces in Algeriaand the 10-country Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Partnership,Africom marks the official arrival of America's "global war on terror"on the African continent. It is a wonder it took so long.

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