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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rampant disease no surprise amid Anachronistic relations with Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa
21st century Colonialists go home; Give up gutting, gunning and running
Editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

mira Woods is Global Client Principal for Social Impact Programs at a technology firm committed to social and economic justice (ThoughtWorks). From 2003 to 2014, she was co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies and an expert on US foreign policy with a special emphasis on Africa and the developing world. She has written and interviewed in a variety of media on a range of issues from debt, trade and development to U.S. military policy. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Africa Action (Chair), Just Associates, Global Justice and the Financial Policy Forum. She is also a member of the advisory committee of the Zimbabwe Alliance, the Humanity United/Trustafrica Liberia program, and the Network Council of Jubilee USA.

Emira Woods’ many subject/issue interests include Africa, Debt Relief, Democratization, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Financial Flows and Investment, Food Aid, Foreign Aid, G8, International Financial Institutions, International Gender Issues, International Monetary Fund, Liberia, Organization for African Unity (OAU), US State Department, Structural Adjustment, Sudan, treasury, US Agency for International Development (USAID), US Economic/Trade Policy.  Emira Woods took academic credentials at US universities, Columbia and Harvard.

Colonial past meets “Modernity”

In the days of colonialism, European colonizers looked to Africa’s resources to drive Europe’s (the British Empire’s) economies and “the quest to dominate” expressed itself “most directly through military power and military might,” explains Emira Woods. And in contemporary times there is “a thirst for key resources for the global economy and access and control of those resources have often been the key determinant of foreign policy” — an old happening.

What is happening is “not a new phenomenon,” Woods says, “but it is increasingly worrisome in this twenty-first century that the dependence on vital resources, particularly natural resources coming from Africa – this dependence is not only a US dependence; but also European and Chinese and many other countries “looking to Africa’s resources as a means of growing their own economies.”

Rising oil and gas
Rising extraction
Rising aggression

In a January 2013 interview with Press TV, Emira Woods said there has been “an extended US military footprint in and around the African continent that coincides with the increased significance of resources from Africa over the past few years.”

Although countries of the continent such as South Africa, Algeria and Nigeria have opposed the militarist deployment of US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the command has moved its headquarters to Stuttgart, Germany, US-Africa policy has grown in militarism commensurate with Africa’s growing significance as producer of oil, natural gas, and other vital resources. “The programs of AFRICOM,” Woods said, “have extended from training and equipping African armies to … increased use of drone technology — not only for intelligence gathering but also, particularly in places like Somalia, for more lethal purposes.”

War/Conflict-Forced Migration
As the colonialists of old, the Americans today take (plunder, pillage) using lethal occupation, force and threat of force; yet Woods persists in asking the rhetorical “if”, “If the ultimate objective here is to secure African natural resources, whatever happened to investing within the economy, opening it to foreign market and investment?”

ad Europe, the British Empire, the United States, any one of these, invested in vital infrastructures on the continent of Africa, there would be no dire poverty today, no preventable and curable disease, no deplorable living conditions on the continent. What the West has done, and continues to do against the peoples of Africa is brutal, UNCONSCIONABLE. This is my opinion.

Africans are disappointed with the Obama tenure. What this government has done and failed to do, Woods says more moderately than I, has caused “concern and actual resentment.”

Africans’ “high hopes have been … dashed” in the absence of “bold leadership needed to actually change the status quo of how the United States engages with Africa to create a truly mutually beneficial relationship” – a mutually respectful foreign relations ethic “where Africa’s rise  …is actually supported and bolstered by visionary US leadership from the White House and beyond.”

Beyond colonialist past

The United States is out of step with the contemporary world and needs to embrace real change, Woods has suggested in other contexts.

If the United States wants to be in step with the twenty-first century and centuries to come, she says, its leaders must not only “pay attention to Africa,” but must also adopt new approaches: “trade and investment” policies with the continent that step “away from policies that favor extraction of Africa’s resources and militarization of the continent.”

Sources and notes

Emira Woods bio brief, http://www.ips-dc.org/authors/emira-woods/

Press TV

“Oil-hungry US planning drone bases across Africa: Emira Woods” Press TV interview with Emira Woods, January 29, 2013, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/01/29/286251/us-militarizing-africa-in-pursuit-of-oil/

Real News

“Is Obama’s Trip to Africa about Investment or the Extraction of African Resources?”  

“For Africa Trip, Obama Urged to Prioritize Development” – WASHINGTON, June 24, 2013 (IPS) – “Advocacy groups here are urging U.S. President Barack Obama to focus on more than just economic development during his upcoming trip to Africa” by Cydney Hargis, http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/06/for-africa-trip-obama-urged-to-prioritise-development/


A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora


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