With the US maintaining major bases of one sort or another in more than fifty countries round the world, the western foreign affairs establishment’s worry about China has always seemed a little hypocritical since China maintains military bases in a grand total of two other countries. And of course, vast investments everywhere.
But it’s particularly absurd when one considers the expansion of Russia which, after decades of withdrawal following the collapse of the USSR, is now re-expanding into some old territories.
Africa was always Cold War contested territory, with the US, UK, France and USSR each having their own spheres of influence. Team Putin has had bases in Eritrea, Sudan and Mozambique for a while, all small-borscht-potatoes as it goes. Now they’ve signed military co-operation agreements with Ethiopia and Nigeria, which is no small thing.
Both countries are growing vastly – Nigeria will have a staggering 400 million people by 2050 – and Ethiopia’s head Abid Abiy is not afraid to use his vast army to dominate the horn of Africa. Most recently he has launched a brutal suppression of the separatist Tigray region in the north.
Western media portrayed this as a Russian initiative, to which the US has belatedly responded. In fact, as always, it is the US trying to encircle the world – or in this case China – that gave Russia no choice but to get into the game.
The US, having ended one two decade war, is well advanced on another.