The United States has imposed sanctions on Russia’s love affair in Africa

The old proxy war in Africa between the United States and Russia has recently been raised, at an opportune time – but the cost to Africa, especially the very Russian SA ruling party, could be dire. As Russia strives for Ukraine’s subjugation, the United States is about to pass a “law to combat Russia’s malicious activities in Africa”, with crippling sanctions against any country that feels it is helping Russia or comforting Russia. The problem is that African countries like it South Africa, (and there are many), are historically close to the mother of Russia. Ivo Vegter, writes in Everyday friend, explains the consequences, given that the SA government’s response will likely be the outrage of the latest imperialist “bullying”. He warns that US initiatives could backfire and drive African countries into Russia’s arms – ironically, just as the Russian invasion drove Ukraine and many neighboring countries into it. NATO weapons. The law of unintended consequences seems to prevail. – Chris Bateman

South Africa at the crossroads of a new Cold War

by Ivo Vegter *

Ivo Vegter

The United States is launching a new Cold War over Africa, directed at Russia. It could only succeed in driving Africa further into the arms of Russia.

There are no laws yet, but it’s likely to happen soon. The US Congress approved Law against Russia’s malicious activities in Africa (CMRAA) with an almost unanimous vote of two parties in April. The Senate is generally expected to approve the bill, and U.S. President Joe Biden will sign it into law.

If so, it would have far-reaching consequences for South Africa, where the government has been consoling itself with Russian President Vladimir Putin, refusing to condemn the country’s brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine or participating in the sanctions imposed on Russia, and now looks set to reap the rewards of being passed over ensure cheap oil that Russia can not sell to other customers.

The bill, which is now before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, addresses the issue: “It is the sentiment of Congress that the United States should regularly assess the extent and extent of Russia’s influence and actions in Africa that undermine US goals and interests. ; and determine how to respond to and counteract such influences and activities effectively, including through appropriate US foreign aid programs; and to hold accountable the governments of Russia and Africa and their officials who are complicit in aiding such malicious influences and activities. ‘

This should shake the backs of our Russian-loving government. Most of the older generation received training and education in the former Soviet Union or modern-day Russia.

The Soviets mainly wrote the ideological documents of the ANC, but the language can be found in Strategy and tactics adopted at every 100 years of the ANC National Conference to this day.

Open to interpretation

The CMRAA bill is admirable in short (South African lawmakers should comment), but it also makes it rather vague.

What exactly constitutes “malicious activity”, for example, is not defined. It is open to interpretation by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who must develop a policy and action plan and report annually to Parliament on its progress.

This program will outline efforts to combat the malicious influence and activities of the Russian Federation and its agents in Africa, including programs and other initiatives aimed at strengthening democratic institutions, improving transparency and accountability of governments, improving human rights standards, labor force, opponents. corruption campaigns, fiscal transparency, control of natural resources and the processing industry, and other prerequisites for good governance; and monitor and report on Russia’s political influence and non-intelligence activities and the activities of Russian, Russian or Russian – funded private military contractors in Africa. ‘

The first part of that goal is admirable. Africa could certainly do with better democratic institutions, better transparency and accountability, less corruption, better human and labor rights and better governance in general, and it should (but probably will not) welcome US assistance in these matters.

References to private contractors will be important for countries like Mozambique Central African Republic and Maliwhich all invited Russian mercenaries to assist the government in stopping an uprising or uprising.

In the case of Mozambique, it will laughput the United States in a strange position to oppose both the Islamist and jihadist uprisings in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.supported by ISIL and Al-Shabaab, as well as the private support provided by Mozambique’s defense forces to help them fight it.

Extension of penalties

The bill also calls for assessing and combating Russia’s public and unofficial political influence and economic investment in African countries.

It will also identify, complicate and even punish African governments, officials and private individuals and companies that have facilitated payments and other prohibited activities that benefit individuals and entities subject to US sanctions related to Russia, or have provided Russian mercenaries or armed assistance. assistance forces.

This will force the African government and companies to accept US sanctions against Russia, which is seriously imposing its sovereignty.

By nature ‘Malign Russian activities‘is under the control of the US Secretary of State, which means that the African government has to lay eggs around anything that could upset the US.

US power

The United States considers South Africa a strategic partners, with a “trusting bilateral relationship”. It supported the fight against apartheid with sanctions imposed in 1986. Since the beginning of democracy, three US presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama) and one future president (Joe Biden) have visited the country.

The United States is a major donor to South Africa, through initiatives such as the President’s Emergency Plan to Assist AIDS, which has benefited from $ 7.25 billion in cash in the United States. The United States has also provided $ 75 million in support of the Covid-19 pandemic. The US Development Agency (USAID) runs programs aimed at developing small and medium-sized enterprises, creating employment, improving training and skills, promoting basic education, combating gender-based violence, and promoting HIV / AIDS care, prevention, and treatment.

Economically, South Africa is the largest trading partner of the United States in Africa. The United States, on the other hand, is South Africa’s second largest international trading partner, just behind China. (Russia can not even get through top 25.)

About 600 US companies operate in South Africa, many of which make the country the headquarters of Africa. South Africa has trade and investment agreements with the United States, both directly and through South Africa’s development community. It also benefits from Africa’s growth and opportunity laws, as well as the US universal electoral system.

Stick, carrot

In short, in addition to sanctions, the United States has plenty of carrots that it can threaten to take away to force the South African government to take a stand in the new Cold War with Russia.

The danger of what can only be described as bullying is the way in which the governments of South Africa and other African countries react.

Ideologically, many consider Russia an old ally on the premise that The Soviet Union supported Liberation of Africa from European colonialism. Many people view America as an empire with a dubious claim to any moral standard. Any classical liberal would disagree with such a position, arguing that the Soviets had cleverly manipulated Africans in their previous zeal to spread communism around the world.

Although the United States is far from being holy, in any kind of conflict between the United States and Russia (or China, for that matter), the United States is certainly less of two evils. At the very least, it adheres to the principles of liberal democracy and human rights by name.

However, the liberal ideal does not fit in with real politics. Because of the pain of withdrawing “soft power” incentives such as aid and investment, or the use of “hardships” such as sanctions, the United States may be able to force some African countries into its camp against Russia.

However, many governments, including in South Africa, will argue with the hard hand of both soft and hard power. Instead, their pride will push them deeper into the arms of Russia.

Victory and tragedy

If the United States becomes hostile, they will argue, the BRICS will have to stand together as a geopolitical counterweight to US rule. It is perfectly understandable that poorer countries are not prepared to take on the economic pain that comes with punishing a country like Russia, no matter how gross its violations.

Being forced to comply with US sanctions will not go down well with countries that value their freedom to pursue their own foreign policy and trade with whomever they please. If the defeat of communism for liberal democracy in the Cold War, the great victory of the second half is 20.þ century, the legacy of communist devotion and the socialist convictions she left behind in Africa is certainly her great tragedy.

It’s hard to imagine that the United States will not win it a new Cold War against Russia. The question is, at what ideological cost to Africa?

  • Ivo Vegter is a freelance journalist, columnist and speaker who loves to deny myths and delusions and covers topics from the perspective of individual freedom and free markets. Follow him on Twitter, @IvoVegter.
  • The writer’s views are not necessarily opinions Everyday friend or the IRR. If you like what you have recently read, support the Everyday friend.

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The United States has imposed sanctions on Russia’s love affair in Africa

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