Africa – our military’s new frontier for mad wars

Summary: Glen Ford shows that Africa is DoD’s next frontier, providing new wars to feed our voracious military machine. It also shows that some on the Left remember their traditional opposition to overseas wars and neo-colonialism, despite the Left’s new obsession with identity politics.

Africa burning


Mass Manufacturers of Slander and Lies

By Glen Ford at the Black Agenda Report.
April 4, 2019.

“Although Donald Trump has gotten a respite from Mueller, the orchestrated demonization of Russia, China, Venezuela, Syria and ‘socialism’ will remain.”

The U.S. has nothing to offer Africa but guns, drones and an extended half-life for the neocolonial order.

Chastened by the long-awaited Mueller report – or at least what we’ve learned about the two-year probe into “Russiagate” from Attorney General William Barr – the U.S. corporate media have been forced to partially abandon their ludicrous claim of “collusion” between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Or maybe the hysteria-makers were finally exhausted by their marathon of lies. But the civil war within the U.S. ruling class will continue to simmer, because it is rooted in real contradictions – primarily, a fear that Trump cannot be depended on to keep up the momentum of President Obama’s global military offensive and thus disrupt the rise of China and its strategic ally, Russia.

The Lords of Capital are painfully aware that U.S. imperialism has been drained of whatever “soft” power it once had in the world and left with only two cards to play: multi-theater, unremitting military aggression and full-spectrum weaponization of the dollar. “Regime change” is the localized manifestation of Washington’s desperate bid to upend and disrupt the emerging new global order, as China returns to its historical place at the center of the world – the position it held when Columbus embarked on his pillages. Therefore, although Donald Trump has gotten a respite from Mueller, the orchestrated demonization of Russia, China, Venezuela, Syria and “socialism” will remain the daily fare of the U.S. propaganda machine that masquerades as journalism. In other words, a step back to “normal.”

“U.S. imperialism has been drained of whatever ‘soft’ power it once had in the world.”

The New York Times can thus continue to personalize its New Cold War hysteria with Putin-bashing – while leaving Trump out of it. For example, in an article this week titled “Russia’s Military Mission Creep Advances to a New Front: Africa,” the Times claims that “expanding Moscow’s military sway on the continent reflects Mr. Putin’s broader vision of returning Russia to its former glory.” The piece is sheer polemics disguised as journalism, citing recent Russian military “cooperation with Guinea, Burkina Faso, Burundi and Madagascar” and Russian “major oil and gas interests in Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Libya, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria” as grave threats to stability in Africa. Yet, in a 1,500 word article, the Times fails to even mention AFRICOM {see their website, and Wikipedia), the U.S. military command that has virtually occupied the entire continent since its inception in 2008, climaxing with President Obama’s 2011 assault on Libya that plunged the whole northern tier of the region into flames.

By 2017, according to journalist Nick Turse, AFRICOM was “conducting 3,500 exercises, programs, and engagements per year, an average of nearly 10 missions per day, on the African continent…” a “signal of America’s deepening and complicated ties” in Africa.

“In a 1,500 word article, the Times fails to even mention AFRICOM, the U.S. military command that has virtually occupied the entire continent.”

Africom logo

Nothing Russia has done in Africa comes close to Washington’s deep penetration of the continent, yet the Times writes that “the United States military has a relatively light footprint across Africa.” The U.S. and Europe fund and oversee every African “peace-keeping” mission, including the conflict in Somalia, where the CIA directs a full-scale drone war that has been dramatically escalated under President Trump.

In the eight years that Barack Obama was president, “AFRICOM went from three military bases to 84 bases” on the continent, said Paul Pumphrey, co-founder of Friends of Congo. Six million Congolese have died as a result of interventions by neighboring, U.S.-backed regimes in neighboring Rwanda and Uganda, with the full complicity of Washington. Under U.S. and Israeli tutelage, Africa’s largest nation, Sudan, was split in two in 2011, only to see South Sudan erupt in a civil war two years later that has killed nearly 400,00 people. The United States and France overcame their imperial rivalry in Africa and have partnered to occupy Mali and Niger, where four U.S. Special Forces troops were killed in 2017 and the U.S. is building a huge drone base, to be staffed by at least 800 American personnel.

“Six million Congolese have died as a result of interventions by neighboring, U.S.-backed regimes in neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.”

The U.S. military footprint is heavier and wider, by far, than any other nation, but Times reporter Eric Schmitt apparently feels confident in stating, as fact, that the U.S. has a “light footprint” in Africa because that’s what AFRICOM’s top brass has been saying since 2012. Therefore, it must be true despite the numbers that say differently. Nick Turse, whose reporting got him black-balled by AFRICOM’s high command, wrote in 2018 that the U.S. maintained “34 sites scattered across the continent, with high concentrations in the north and west as well as the Horn of Africa.” The biggest military facility is located in Djibouti, a desperately poor country that has been turned into a foreign base farm for the U.S., France, Italy, Saudi Arabia Japan and China – Beijing and Tokyo’s only bases in Africa, purportedly to patrol against piracy on the Somali coast.

Russia has no bases in Africa, but is said to be exploring establishing one in the Central African Republic, the former French colony where the U.S. briefly imprisoned Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide after overthrowing his elected government in 2004. The talks between Moscow and Bangui have caused consternation in Washington and Paris, anxieties that have been relayed to the New York Times with full confidence that the paper’s private sector propagandists are better liars than any military press spokesperson. The Times dutifully writes that France’s minister of armed forces is unhappy. “We feel very much concerned by the growing Russian influence in a country that we know well, the Central African Republic,” Florence Parly told reporters during a recent visit to Washington.

France knows the country well because it oppressed and exploited the Central African people for generations – an expertise that white Americans tend to respect.

“Djibouti, a desperately poor country that has been turned into a foreign base farm.”

So, Africa is swarming with U.S. troops stationed at bases throughout the continent, second only to the French presence in the region, but the Times can say with a straight face that the U.S. Africa Command has a “light footprint,” while the baseless Vladimir Putin dreams of “of returning Russia to its former glory” through “a more militaristic approach in Africa,” in the words of an American general. There should be little doubt that Russia, the second biggest arms merchant in the world, behind the U.S., is actively seeking African markets for its weapons. What scares the U.S. is that African nations like Guinea, Burkina Faso, Burundi and Madagascar want to do arms and training deals with Russia, to diversity their defense suppliers and create a “multi-polar” environmentin Africa.

U.S. imperialism tolerates only one pole – its own – and instructs its media mouthpieces to vilify all competitors. But the U.S. cannot compete economically with Russia’s partner, China, whose trade with Africa surpassed the United States in 2009. African states are eager to become part of China’s New Silk Road, or Belt and Road Initiative, the world’s greatest public works, transportation and trade project, which offers Africa unprecedented “connectivity” to the planet’s economic center in the East. The U.S. has nothing to offer Africa but guns, drones and an extended half-life for the neocolonial order – and Russia can cut a better deal on the guns.

“Amid the imperial rot, the oligarchs turns on each other, as they did in 2016 in a fit of panic called Russiagate.”

The New York Times and the rest of the corporate media tell tales that only Americans believe, in service of a crumbling imperial, racist order. The U.S. media bubble is a scary place, populated by demons and villains that are determined to steal or destroy an “American way of life” that most Americans – especially Black folks – have never lived.

Having nothing to offer the people but endless war and austerity, the Lords of Capital invent enemies, complete with full-blown fictitious pathologies, conjured histories and fabricated motives. Amid the imperial rot, the oligarchs turns on each other, as they did in 2016 in a fit of panic called Russiagate. A Deep State referee named Mueller has called for a pause in the fratricide among the corporate brethren, but that can only signal an intensification of the lies that corporate media tell against external “enemies” and actual dissidents on home front.

In decline, the Lords of Capital have no good stories to tell. To the extent that they control the domestic narrative, everything becomes slander.


Glen Ford

About the author

Glen Ford has worked in broadcast news since 1970. In 1977, Ford produced and hosted “America’s Black Forum,” the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial TV. Never before – and never since – had a Black news entity received attention from the major world news services (Tass, the Soviet news agency). In 1979 he created “Black Agenda Reports,” which produced more short-form programming than the two existing Black radio networks, combined.

Ford also produced music shows. In 1987, Ford launched “Rap It Up,” the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, and organized three national rap music conventions.

Ford co-founded Black Commentator in 2002, an influential weekly journal. In 2006, Ford and its writing team left BC to launch Black Agenda Report (BAR).

In addition to his broadcast and Internet experience, Ford was national political columnist for Encore American & Worldwide News magazine; founded Africana Policies magazine, and authored The Big Lie: Analysis of U.S. Press Coverage of the Grenada Invasion (1985). He was a founder of the Washington chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; executive board member of the National Alliance of Third World Journalists; and has spoken at scores of colleges and universities.  {From BAR’s About page, edited.}

See his tweets, and his articles at the BAR and at Common Dreams.

Black Agenda Report

About the Black Agenda Report

Founded in 2006, Black Agenda Report is your source for news, commentary and analysis from the black left since 2006. Find their weekly Black Agenda Radio program on Soundcloud, iTunes, or Stitcher.

Their “About” page gives (impressive) bios of their key staff. Also see their Twitter feed. Google suppresses Black Agenda Report in search results. Subscribing to their email updates is the only guaranteed way to see them.

Click here to donate and support their work!

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

Articles about AFRICOM.

This failure of the news media and our political system is an example of the broad institution failure I discuss in A new, dark picture of America’s future.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all posts about Africaabout propaganda, about ways to reform America’s politics, and especially these …

  1. America’s Shadow Wars in Africa, 2012.
  2. A reason for the US military expansion into Africa, 2013.
  3. The deadly, cowardly U.S. drone wars in Africa, 2018.
Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa
Available at Amazon.

Read now about tomorrow’s wars!

Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars
and Secret Ops in Africa

By Nick Turse.

From the publisher …

“You won’t see segments about it on the nightly news or read about it on the front page of America’s newspapers, but the Pentagon is fighting a new shadow war in Africa, helping to destabilize whole countries and preparing the ground for future blowback. Behind closed doors, U.S. officers now claim that ‘Africa is the battlefield of tomorrow, today.’

“In Tomorrow’s Battlefield, award-winning journalist and bestselling author Nick Turse exposes the shocking true story of the U.S. military’s spreading secret wars in Africa.”


15 thoughts on “Africa – our military’s new frontier for mad wars”

  1. Pingback: Africa – our military’s new frontier for mad wars – Don't Drone Me!

  2. Outside of Mr. Ford’s acceptance of “socialism” and a small disagreement of degree on some issues with him, I would say his perspective is pretty much spot on.

    Also, for a black man, he sure looks more white to me – just saying – skin color signifies nothing of substance to me.

    God loves all his children regardless of color and sex.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “just saying – skin color signifies nothing of substance to me.”

      Nicely said. I, like Sally Hemings (Jefferson’s mistress) am 3/4 euro and 1/4 West African. But I look as white as Elizabeth Warren (i.e., Pocahontas whiter-than-white).

      “God loves all his children regardless of color and sex.”

      That nails it!

      1. Your comment concerning your heritage reminds me of a funny story from a few decades past where a contingent of American black athletes journeyed to Central Africa to participate in sport clinics. These black athletes possessed obvious Caucasian genetic traits, causing the “real” Africans to call them “those white guys”.

        Talk of perspective. Simultaneously funny and sad.

      2. Larry Kummer, Editor


        One of the many aspects I liked about the original Star Trek was their casual attitude towards race. It was no big deal. No sermons and moralizing speeches needed (as in “The Next Gen”).

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “It’s has already started in the form of the invasions from the South.”

      The Left has a bad case of post hoc ergo propter hoc. More greenhouse gases, so all extreme weather results from it. The West has interfered in some nations in the South and ME, so all the migrations result from that.

      Both propositions are imo bogus. Many nations of the south and ME are unstable. The gap between them and the West is immense. Modern communication means that they see the gap. Modern transportation makes migration easy. The Left’s desire for destabilization of western civ has opened the borders, which encourages migration.

      1. Destabilization is exactly what they’re going to get. Unlike Limousine Leftists, these people from the South are tough hombres, especially the criminal element. These 4th generation forces- drug cartels and MS-13 – come just as easily as migrant workers. They are no joke. We’re giving them a lot of money in exchange for the drugs we use to kill ourselves with. The are well-armed through their global supply chain and financially solvent. That was my point. We DO mess around with their countries but our need for their drugs and labor are the biggest ways in which we destabilize them and ourselves. They do much to destabilize their countries without our help.

  3. Ouch,
    This (maybe for some here) eye-opening contribution has no heated, well, NO exchange. True, it is from The Left, but I’d say it is quite “spot on” (as per Chad’s comment). I think this contribution’s narrative would “pass” Pat Buchanan’s as well as the Saker’s or the UNZ’s scrutiny.
    There Is a notable pressure on the Alternative News/Commentaries Websites. Very recently, the ICH learned the hard way about this. As I recall, I was raising this kind of issue here and I was dismissed by the Editor for that “we’re just peons and the P2B don’t lower themselves to fight peons.”
    I certainly hope that that indeed is the case…

  4. On an unrelated topic. Of which there was a discussion in the comments about the fierceness of barbarians vs civilized people.

    Probably in response to the assertion that hard times breed hard men.

    Perhaps the best candidates that fit the stereotype of barbarians being fierce vs soft civilized men. Are the nomads of the steppe:

    Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun and Tamerlane

    Perhaps when people are talking about militarily capable barbarians they should be referring to the people of the steppe. Who relative to their small numbers seem to have been the historic equivalent of atomic bombs in terms of the genocidal impact on populations.

    The harshness of the steppe combined with a pastoral diet of meat and dairy products may have helped produce a very athletic and strong people compared to the often relatively malnourished civilized populace of which meat and dairy was a much smaller part of their diet.

    All civilizations despite their great armies seemed to have great trouble dealing with horse riding nomads until the gunpowder revolution. What’s your thoughts?

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”

      That’s a common saying. I’ve never found the source. But it makes no sense. Hard times often create weak dispirited people who give their lives over to tyrants – relieving them of the burden of thought and self-government. And good times often create strong men. The long springtime of Classical Greece produced the men that waged for Peloponnesian War for two generations – fought with such ferocity that it burned away their civilization. The long peace in Europe (1815-1914) produced the generation who fought WWI with fantastic ferocity, ceasing only when their armies were broke and exhausted.

      Also, what do “strong” and “weak” men mean? Describing moral and spiritual strength, mental strength, or physical strength? They are very different qualities. Many Greek philosophers taught that excess in any one of those over the others produced deformed men. True strength came from a balance of those qualities, perhaps even more important than their magnitude.

      “Perhaps when people are talking about militarily capable barbarians they should be referring to the people of the steppe. Who relative to their small numbers seem to have been the historic equivalent of atomic bombs in terms of the genocidal impact on populations.”

      That’s not really true. Civilized states easily and routinely kicked the butts of the barbarian nomads. Nomads could not be exterminated because they lived in areas beyond the reach or interest of civilized lands. The difference is not strength, but stability. Barbarians are there all the time. Civilizations have strong and weak periods – and fall when weak, unable to resist external and internal pressures.

      1. As in kicking the butts of nomads. I only remember alexander defeat of scythians and chinas defeat of xiongnu at the cost of their dynasty. What other examples?

        Perhaps the mongols are the exception.

      2. Larry Kummer, Editor


        Rome and China kept nomads restricted to the plains for centuries.

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