Poor Burundi. Landlocked, tiny, and known mainly for ethnic conflict, it was for years the subject of one of the most intense international peace-building efforts in history. By the time the Arusha Peace Agreement was finally signed in 2003, 300,000 Burundians had died in a civil war rivaling in ferocity that of its neighbor Rwanda. Huge sums had been invested in grassroots workshops, high-level meetings and summits to end the fighting.
The corporate consolidation of the global economy through past and pending free trade deals does not bode well for any of us, but least of all for natives of the African continent. In a system dependent on racism (dividing the masses), it is inevitable that many African countries will feel the heel of the corporate boot on their necks, just as the African-American community currently experiences, only way worse. African-Americans are coming out in opposition to the TPP and TTIP for good reason. Stopping these horrible deals, which redistribute wealth upwards, will help limit the destruction of African lives and livelihoods. As for the rest of us, opposing the TPP is not enough. We should be demanding debt-forgiveness for many of these African nations if we really want democracy to stand a chance here and abroad. We can either protect their human rights or allow corporate rule–with its essential racism, war, and exploitation–to march unchecked.
The main reason that democracy is not working in Africa is that it is still very much a tribal continent. The countries themselves were colonial constructions… (with the exception of Ethiopia) Tribes that have always been deeply antagonistic to other tribes were thrown together in the same country. Democracy became just a way to bring a leaders tribe to prominence and to subjegate the other tribes in the process. No amount of money could fix this mess until some sort of common purpose is arrived at for each.
Actually, it’s been the policy of Western elites for some time to bribe strongmen to rule their countries with iron fists… to make them “safe” for corporate plunder. THAT pattern is hardly reserved for Africa.
What Ms. Epstein maps out with scholarship is the merger between The Shock Doctrine (Naomi Klein) and the methodology preferred by State Dept. figures (as exposed by John Perkins in “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”).
Since the U.S. MIC and its war profiteers make enormous sums from wars, spreading conflicts, and ensuring the CALL for more weapons… much that is defined as AID is little more than the armed means for further conflicts.
If systems of trade and AID were just, then any deals made with totalitarian devils and other local czars–which resulted in Swiss bank accounts for them and worse conditions for their people–would call for bank raids and a RETURN of all that ill-begotten wealth to those who require it: citizens in need and programs that support them.
As it stands, a long-term system of bribery means that Uncle Sam’s most favored corporate partners get to do as they will (Aleister Crowley’s favored memo), and The People be damned.
Indeed. Your comment and this excellent article explain why the U.S. military established “AfriCom” during the Bush regime. Why we have “boots on the ground” in countries all over the world, including Africa which has already been profoundly exploited by the colonial powers for centuries. We are there to protect present and future capital investment and to try and reduce similar influences being exerted by China. The myth about U.S. foreign policy is that it is largely benevolent. The truth is that millions of innocent people have died as a direct result of our planetary ambitions. Check out a book by John Perkins called “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” for more details about how our “national interests” are actually realized.