According to a recent Council of Foreign Relations report, Russia’s growing influence results from a massive disinformation campaign. Those who read the report with an objective eye will quickly notice the earmarks of America’s disinformation campaign against the Russians. Where Russia-Africa relations are concerned, CFR and other sources cite Wagner PMC, weapons trade, and some form of Russian neocolonialism as major factors of the so-called “Russia shift.” That notorious “domino effect” Washington used to justify the Vietnam War appears to already be in motion in Africa for an altogether different effect.
The truth about shifted allegiances by emerging African nations has nothing to do with Russian skullduggery. What we are seeing in Africa is a continent ready to be unchained from the Anglo-American raping of Africa’s legacy. More and more, African countries are cutting ties with the old colonial powers like France and the UK. And watching key African governments, Mali, Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique, and others, gravitate away from the American hegemony reveals a Russia/Africa cohesion far more powerful than CFR suggests. For evidence of this, we need to look only as far as scholars like the late Norman Hodges, former professor emeritus at Vassar College.
Same Game-Different Name
A paper by Hodges from 1972 lays out why African nations are shunning the West. The piece also reveals that the West’s neocolonial plans have been boiling over for decades. “Neo-Colonialism: The New Rape of Africa” made the point that After World War II, the European colonialists, and later the Americans, perpetrated what the author deemed a “grand charade” where supposedly independent African nations controlled their own destinies. As we see now, decades later, true autonomy from America and its European allies is only now coming to fruition. For those familiar with the case of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, anyone who has proposed true independence for African nations has been eliminated or coerced into line. Hodges contended that the former Colonial powers ruling Africa only promised to turn over power to African peoples while still practising various means of “cruel” manipulation and control.
Another expert on the subject, Christine Ohenewah, wrote “Liberalism: An Obstacle to Black Unification,” a chapter in the larger work for her honours thesis “Blood Diamonds: The Recovery of Black Unification Amidst White Hegemony.” The scholar contends that a new Pan-Africanism is necessary to cancel out liberalism, which she says replaced colonialism. The following quote explains her argument:
“… just as White citizenry assumes a gate-keeping position in the assent to American assimilation, liberalism follows suit by serving as a means of induction into Western global favor. Each invites stratification and dismantling among any potential threats to the empire of White imperialism, both in U.S. internal affairs and in international politics.”
The author points out how proponents of what we now call the “Liberal World Order” sell extreme liberalism as ultimately positive, necessary for “positive interaction among international actors and chances for a peaceful world (Morgan),” and with capitalism as an added benefit. Conversely, opponents of liberalism contend that this ideology reflects Western dominance. And, in its more forceful aspects, is simply an updated definition of Western imperialism. She says liberalism is a rationalisation of the hegemony’s mission to spread so-called Western values so that the global order “remains palatable for the West.” The author also points out how the liberal ideology “demonises non-liberal societies as failed states that are corrupt, lacking, and insufficiently stable.”
This is one of the methodologies whereby the old-world elites and the new order can practice their new form of colonialism under the guise of freedom and liberty. Now that so many African nations have suffered under such a Machiavellian boot for generations, we see Africans searching for better ways and partners. Ohenewah also cites Former Ghana President Kwame Nkrumah, who was deposed in 1966 by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA – See John Stockwell) backed National Liberation Council in a coup d’état. Here is a quote from the Marxist/Socialist and one of the first influential advocates of Pan-Africanism:
“The right of a people to decide their own destiny, to make their way in freedom, is not to be measured by the yardstick of color or degree of social development. It is an inalienable right of people, which they are powerless to exercise when forces stronger than they themselves, by whatever means, for whatever reasons, take this right away from them. If there is to be a criterion of a people’s preparedness for Self-Government, then I say it is their readiness to assume the responsibilities of ruling themselves… never in the history of the world has an alien ruler granted self-rule to a people on a silver platter.” – Kwame Nkrumah
Nkrumah helped his people immeasurably by ramping up the country’s industrial base, eventually creating a free education and healthcare system, similar to what Gaddafi did later in Libya. As a footnote here, Seymour Hersh, who worked at The New York Times, cited “first-hand intelligence sources”. He claimed that “many CIA operatives in Africa considered the agency’s role in the overthrow of Dr. Nkrumah to have been pivotal.” Author Edward Luttwak wrote that Nkrumah was essentially a victim of his own success. He could not be allowed to make Ghana into an example for all of Africa.
The Promise of Equity
So, while the Neo-Imperialists adhere to the worn-out rhetoric that kept Africans enslaved, China, Russia, and other advanced nations play the game from a far more equitable position. The CFR would have you believe that the Wagner and a boatload of AK-47s have finally caused half of Africa to gravitate toward a multipolar coalition. The reality is nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, if an African leader is being targeted for assassination or being deposed, Russia has been party to helping African leadership with the assistance of the private military group. And complaining of Russia selling weapons anywhere by the supreme militarists of planet Earth is the epitome of arrogance and hypocrisy.
Russia’s reopening of the Burkina Faso embassy closed back in 1992 is symbolic for many reasons. Since coming to power in September 2022, Ibrahim Traore has distanced his country from France, its historical partner and former colonial power, and moved closer to Russia. What’s significant in this development, as far as the people of Traore’s nation are concerned, is the deal with Russia to build a nuclear power plant to increase the energy supply. Less than one-quarter of the people of Sahel have access to electricity. And now for a pointed contrast, a telling one.
Expertise France has six projects in Burkina Faso funded by France and the European Union, totalling €25 million, focusing on fragile areas. The thematic priorities are economic and local development, security, and strengthening trust between defence forces and local people. Nowhere in this recent French diplomatic cable is there a mention of building a plant of any kind to supply electricity to the people of Burkina Faso. The quote below does, however, mention security and help for the armed forces:
“Expertise France has six projects in Burkina Faso funded by France and the European Union, totalling €25 million, with a focus on fragile areas. The thematic priorities are economic and local development, security, and strengthening trust between defence forces and local people.”
The document also speaks of the French military and advisers’ withdrawal from the country. A report from France 24 at the time of the French government announcement told of France’s withdrawal of developmental and other aid to the country. France’s foreign ministry also said France is “firmly and resolutely” behind efforts by ECOWAS to reinstate Bazoum in Niger. The French have also been booted from Niger, and protestors supporting the recent coup against the Western puppet Bazoum saw Russian flags being waved as citizens chanted, “Down with France, ECOWAS, and the EU.”
As I said at the story’s beginning, I mentioned the United States developing a theory known as the “Domino Effect” during the height of the Cold War. The theory was first voiced by then President Eisenhower to instil a visual image of falling dominoes to represent the fear that if South Vietnam “fell” to communism, then Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, and others would too. This is what “containment” is all about. Only Western strategy in the past seventy years has been less about containing a political theory and more about exerting unbreakable economic and political control on weaker nations. This National Archives teaching practice will give the reader a hint at how Western propaganda made (and still makes) Russia and other media manipulations seem like child’s play. It’s a cool irony that the dominoes in Africa now falling to multipolarism and that the dam may soon break for any fantasy of containment by the liberal order.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.