A moment of peace in a world of war. The Nobel Peace Prize correctly heralds the young democratic Ethiopian leader, Abiy Ahmed Ali, for his efforts “to achieve peace and international cooperation, [specifically] to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.”
But forgive my refrain, the absence of western diplomacy from “Trump” risks obliterating all the good that’s been done.
It may seem trivial to talk about a troubled African country in the face of all the troubling – more germane troubling news of the day. But in these tempestuous times it’s important to acknowledge not just how bad things might be for us, but how bad they’re getting all over the world.
Somali and the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) have probably been the two most troubled places in Africa over my entire lifetime. America holds great responsibility in both cases for the bad situations that began at Independence, and now for the situations as they worsen.
This week’s 70th anniversary of the formation of the Chinese Navy was marked by the arrival of a huge new naval fleet in the Red Sea off Somalia.
With the withdrawal of U.S. and U.K. forces from Africa China has stepped in. Chinese warships have provided a safe escort in the Red Sea for more than 6,600 vessels in the last decade, without any further justification required from those vessels than a call for assistance. Only a few years ago it was U.S. and U.K. warships that provided these safe escorts.
Last week’s Nairobi bombing may not have been against Kenya, but America.
Today global media reran a report by Somali Radio Dalsan shortly after the attack last week. The report claimed that bombing was in direct response to two American actions: (1) the decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem and (2) revenge for the American drone killing of a top al-Shabaab leader.
Have you ever watched a colony of anemones? Touch the biggest one and it immediately begins to shrink into itself. Then even without touching others, all the anemones follow suit withdrawing into themselves.
It’s like the mopane tree in Africa. One giraffe starts to nimble a mopane leaf and the whole forest starts to fold leaves and emit toxins.
Africa’s top 2018 stories resemble the top stories in lots of other parts of the world. But believe it or not, Africa actually started earlier and may be ending sooner than much of the rest of the world, as evidenced by the February resignation of Jacob Zuma as president of South Africa.
The election to Congress of the first refugee, a Somali woman from Minneapolis has caused furor in Kenya as prominent politicians congratulated her in spite of aggressively having demanded the closure of the refugee camp she grew up in.
Ilhan Omar was the successful Democrat candidate to replace Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) who stepped down earlier this year after sexual abuse allegations which he vigorously denied, and he just won Tuesday’s Minnesota Attorney General’s race.
There’s more: Trump vehemently warned voters against supporting her, claiming that Minnesota “had suffered enough from Somali immigrants.”
Don’t be misled by the notion that war arrives as a gigantic catastrophic event, a North Korean slip for example. War can escalate as secretly and effectively as a gang of boomslang snakes slinking into the shed.
The first admitted U.S. soldier killed and the first four additional casualties since Blackhawk Down in Somalia happened Friday in southeast Somalia. Blackhawk Down was a quarter century ago.
In war we focus on battles won and lost. Little question for the need to fight: the causes were reasoned as justified. In chaos spiced with denial and obfuscation it’s like punching a cloud of smoke. You die of exhaustion without landing a single punch.
The resources the U.S. currently deploys in Africa approaches that of the Afghanistan invasion, while 60% of our State Department has been eviscerated. “The growing scale and lack of clear motive for shadow wars and African militarization is a cause for concern,” concludes the UC-Davis’ “nonpartisan” political magazine today.
And it’s not working. It’s making things critically worse.
The Trump Administration’s new military rules of engagement have destroyed years of peace-making efforts that were coming to fruition. Terrorist bombings and conventional attacks are substantially increasing as the U.S. goes on the offensive, particularly in Africa.
So far the U.S. has acknowledged only one soldier killed in Somalia and 4 in Niger, but local reports suggest far more – perhaps dozens – of U.S. casualities as the Africa war explodes.
There’s nobody looking for the big truck, anymore.
It’s hard to calibrate evil in the world today, so much bad is happening. But please note the big bomb blast in Somalia over the weekend. This headlines a new era of discord and danger. America’s unraveling is playing a big part.
The new Trump Travel ban is not as sweeping or as legally flawed as his previous, but it does nothing to increase security. Yet it has two major impacts impulsive Trump acting on his own was unable to accomplish:
Stops many refugees from entering America. Throws red meat to a deplorable base of supporters.
No surprise under the Trump military regime that the wars in Africa are being significantly ramped up. It started in March and by June Trump’s military had 3-4 times as many soldiers on the ground in Africa and was conducting ten times as many drone strikes in any given period as during the Obama administration.
Ambassador Carson’s warning yesterday appears to be true today. There are unsettling ripples all over Africa, all carrying the frequency of Trump mayhem.
Wednesday’s all-so-important Somali election is in real trouble because monitors can no longer go there (or more accurately, come back). Great hopes for Libya’s national coalition collapse. Egypt sends jetboats to threaten Ethiopia’s new dam on The Nile, Eritrea makes a new alliance with Saudia Arabia to destabilize Ethiopia. The Ivory Coast is challenged by new internal military struggles.
It’s all new and hard to unweave, and it’s all related to Trump.