Can this continent be saved

I don't have any conclusions to draw, or insights to offer.  I'll just offer, in no particular order, a short laundry list of some of the horrors visited upon so much of the African Continent.  

  1. The Ethiopian famines
  2. The slaughters in Sudan
  3. Idi Amin
  4. Robert Mugabe
  5. The Civil War in the Congo
  6. Charles Taylor and Liberia
  7. AIDS
  8. Malaria
  9. Ebola
  10. Rwanda

I'm sure if I thought about it more, I could double, or even triple this list.  My question: Why Africa?  Is this the unending legacy of the slave trade or colonialism?  Is this buried deep within African culture?  Is this a by-product of a continent that is so vulnerable to disease, because of its climate, that life has less meaning for those living there?  I'd be very interested in your take on the subject, because I have only questions, and no answers.

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  • Ymarsakar

    I really think this is a look into humanity’s past, where everyone lived in city-states and little empires, fighting it out tribe vs tribe, family vs family, and farm plot vs soldiers rampaging.

    Europe had the same problem, you know. Europe fought for so many centuries they came up with a Rule of War thing, to limit the devastation. The stupid dudes all got killed, overthrown, or beheaded in Europe’s history. And in the 20th century they still kept fighting, so civilization is no barrier to destructive rages. Civilization is not going to save Africa. Empire will, however.

    Europe’s Imperial policies, the British one, was quite effective in lifting up the indigenous population’s living standards. The problem with Empire and Socialism, really, is that it is unsustainable. When Britain had to fight their own wars, their colonies didn’t really get much attention. Same happened to the American colonies, when we got squeezed to pay Britain’s war debt. Britain is too busy to do things for their colonies, while squeezing those colonies of resources for war, war, and domesticity. Loyalty in human affairs has to go bi-laterally. If you are loyal to someone but he isn’t loyal to you, that makes for bad relationships, international or otherwise. Quid pro quo in other words, quid pro quo transactions are the most advantageous and stable.

    Europe is now at peace. Because America served the Imperial role, and fullfilled it for the Long Term by modifying Imperial polices to a unique AMerican flavor. America was founded on decentralized systems of governance, not centralized control. America was found upon the principle of the balance of powers. America instituted a new balance of power after WWII in Europe, where we held the military cards, our allies held the territory and the logistics supply, and all of this was balanced against the Soviet Empire at Berlin and Germany.

    Without the Soviets, the balance of powers relocated, it did not destroy itself. American troops in Germany have served their purpose by making the other countries not field armies. We monopolized power in Europe, because that was what it took to balance the Soviets. Why field an army when you can get the Americans to protect you from your neighbors. In this instance, democracy is a disease, it weakens people’s warlike urges, and makes them vulnerable to a true killer invader. I said this before on other places, but the reason democracy is the cure for terrorism in the Mid East, is because we want to infect them with our disease. Once it takes hold, they will be placid little puppies like Japan and Germany, not very warlike at all.

    Africa would benefit from a dynasty of conquerors who would unite the continent. Africa has more potential than China, but China has what Africa does not have, which is centralized control and unity of purpose, culture, and nationality. China didn’t get this way by peaceful and nationally harmonious efforts. But I don’t see how you can have a bunch of conquerors succede in Africa, since other people will always butt in and interfere.

    Africa became isolationist, and this is the price of isolationism, you’re left behind in the competitive race between peoples and cultures.

    The Nation of Axum, I believe, back in the Eastern Roman times (500 AD) was a naval power in the extreme, and traveled perhaps as far as India and protected the naval trade routes as the US Navy does. Axum retreated into the internal continent of Africa, after some kind of rebellion, and thus lost their sea ports, and became a sole land power. The sea is a very great tool in spreading your culture, trade, and communications. The British Islands knew this very well, and Japan opened their ports to the West because of inherent power as well.

    But the point is that while Europe was out conquering the world and learning, Japan and Africa were sitting in their villages and palaces and contemplating their navel. Competition holds no mercy for the lazy or the slow. Wars weed out the weak, and make people learn, or it kills them. This is very advantageous in the long term, if I say, if you can hold civilization alive in the mean time.

    Nobody in Africa is allowed to fight wars of unification. There’s too much outside interference, good or bad. They are kept down not because people are doing this purposefully, but because Africa started late and their patrons the European colonialists were effete wannabes. European redrawing of the borders would have been okay, if they had implanted some security and the goods, but they withdrew, Europe withdrew because they did not have the stamina, leaving chaos and craziness in their place.

    The old solution of giving them 200 years and letting them fight it out, and the winner takes the spoils, may or may not work. (I go with may not) Europe handled it in a weird way, and make war part of civilization. But there’s no guarantee that Africa can do the same thing, because they either don’t have time or there are too many variables (technology) in the 21st century to do it the “old way” anymore.

    So what new methods are available? America can offer patronage status to Africa. The military is already forming grass roots networks in Africa, what they did not have in Iraq and the ME. Africa doesn’t have oil nor are they a national security risk to America, so the resources devoted there are limited by necessity.

    If a war with China develops, the China-Russian alliance, can be countered by an alliance between friendl ycountrie in the mid east and countries in Africa. With American military bases in Africa, comes security, economic influx, and education. But I don’t see anything other than a war, to put american bases in africa.

    If you put what we have in Germany, and plant it in one of the African nations, 50 years would give you noticeable progress.

    Africa is a lot worse than Iraq, but because nobody cares, it keeps going around in a circle.

    In this world, either you have a tough resource base and a good military and you can go it alone (Russian and China) or you need a patron to protect you (Japan).

    I don’t see many other possibilities, if you want to reconstruct and regrow within 50-100 years in the 21st century. If America had a policy where nations could go into a “Protectorate” relationship with America, meaning we get paid money and get human recruits from the Congo, while the Congo gets representatives in our Senate and House and gets federal aid and protection. Basically a Protectorate would annex a nation and make it into another state. America obviously does not have that policy, because Puerto Rico still isn’t a state, and it has been under the American hegemony for decades .

    It has to be equal, the state asking for annexation into the US has to get as many benefits as it pays out. (Social Security anyone) Otherwise, bad things start to happen in future.

    This is not available to Africa, because America does not realy have a “progressive” Imperial policy. We have some Imperial policies, (Europe, Japan, S Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia) but they aren’t engineered for AFRICA. And that’s that. The luck of the historical draw. Not fair, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

    If I was to go truly radical and picture what would solve Africa incestrous violence, I would do this.

    Set up a policy where each little village can vote to be protected by America, in return they become… some military commander’s retainers. American bureacracy and the state deps wouldn’t work, they would rape and steal from the downtrodden as much as the UN if given the chance. But not the American military. Have a Sergeant be in charge of an African family, to protect and look out for, while the African family works for the Sergeant and gathers intel/trains with/works with/ and fights with. As you go up the military ranks, as Captains and Colonels and Generals, you increase the size. Generals are in charge of entire nations.

    What basically happens is that the citizens of a region becomes the personal retainers and fighters for an American warlord. A military commander.

    Anti-Corruption is handled by the military code of justice and American law. I promise it will be better than how the UN handles their “peacekeepers”. The military will get new responsibilities, yes, but they would also get a huge manpower boost, huge HUUge resource bases in Africa.

    There’s no reason why once the military has stabilized an area, why local leaders can’t be elected and a government formed. This is between doing nothing and annexing african nations as US states. When we get one country up, we’ll just move to another country.

    How is this paid exactly in terms of logistics? That’s pretty easy. It’s about the same price as say, occupation of S Korea, Japan, and Germany. In the long term, we’re talking decades here, the economy of the local protected area will be grown and nurtured. American businesses go there and do business, contractors go, make money, people get jobs, American government gets favorable trade concessions.

    It’s basically Iraq and Afghanistan multiplied 500X over, with an overall 1000% boost in efficiency.

    That’s about it. Who would you trust to save the oppressed and liberate the downtrodden, politicians/diplomats or the American military? It’s quite simple really, only the details are hard.

  • Ymarsakar

    The cost for Iraq in logistics is because of the 150,000 troops. You don’t need that many to protect a village or an area from bandits. Not when you have the help of the indigenous people. You have to remember, Afghanistan was done by SpecOps for a fraction of the cost and time and troops for Iraq. And Afghanistan is going better than Iraq, even with the infrastructure absence and EVEN WITH THEIR BEING on the Pakistan border, where 25 million Pashtuns support Osama.

    Time factors into the cost as well. If we didn’t need to get Iraq up and running, we wouldn’t spend as much there in recon, therefore we wouldn’t WASTE as much because of a lack of anti-corruption institutions.

    If you want to do things fast in Iraq by throwing money at it, the only way to make it go smoother in these times of desperation is to SHOOT the people who skim off the top, and set them up as examples to the others. Mob behavior, basically. Effective, but desperate. If you don’t do that, and you still want to rush Iraq and recon, then you got problems.

  • Ymarsakar

    Oh ya, there’s also the insurgency problem. The Spec Ops in Afghanistan can kill like 150 peoople as part of a short battalion of 400 or something, because they’re out in the boondocks and you can drop bombs on them WITHOUT civilian casualties. Big difference. You fight in the urban terrain anti-guerrila insurgency, and it is like Baghdad. IEDs, car bombs, civilian casualties, safe houses, so on and so on.

    You got to get them OUT of the cities and bomb the crack out of them. The time to do that is when they still hold those cities, draw them out, then smash them apart. If you go around them and take the cities, as it was in OIF, it is like turning on a light in the kitchen, the damn roaches scatter and it’s impossible to find them anymore to spray and kill.

    The problem isn’t in killing the roaches, it is in finding them. Finding them takes time. Time, was not something we had in abundance after 9/11.

    If Bush had devoted as much time in fighting a Long Regular War with Iraq, as he did talking to the UN, we wouldn’t have nearly the insurgency problems. Michael Yon will attest, that foreign jihadists are only a small small minority of the insurgency. Their logistics, backing, and military/local expertise comes DIRECTLY from the Baathists.

    A little out of topic, but I’m just saying, the lessons learned from Iraq aren’t the ones the Democrats would like for you to believe. And this applies to Africa a lot.

  • Skipysan

    Africa fails for a bunch of reasons. First, it refuses to unify and has too many nations and not enough states. That is a legacy of the European Empires which in my opinion were forced by WWII and US pressure to leave the continent too soon. That in turn had ripple effects in other areas like the Middle East.

    There are nations that could lead, like S. Africa but tribalism gets in the way.

    Finally, Africa has resources but gets ignored compared to Asia and Middle East. Look at Darfur. Or Rwanda, they have not gotten half the attention of other places. Zimbabwe has a dictator worse than Hussein. Yet we do not invade there. We condemn S. Africa for hit and run raids into Zimbabwan territory.

    Africa has to unify and have less nations. Only then will it climb out of the pit. Africa would be better off tied to Europe as colonies than as independent nations. France is really the nly European power that still tries to exert influence on the continent……

  • Ymarsakar

    France is really the nly European power that still tries to exert influence on the continent……

    Pity the Africans, for the French will screw you worse than your worst enemy.