Why are US Troops Present in 53 Out of 54 African Countries?

US troops are currently present in 53 out of 54 African countries, without Congress’ knowledge or approval. Missions tend to be small and carried out under the radar.

On October 4 2017, four US soldiers were killed in Niger by what the US military alleged were “ISIS-affiliated militants travelling by vehicle, carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.” Africa hosts some

South Carolina senator at the time, Lindsey Graham – a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services – would initially admit that he did not know about the presence of 1,000 US troops in Niger.  He would soon pledge his support to those troops, stating that the US military “determines who the threats are.”

“The war is morphing,” Graham said. “You’re going to see more actions in Africa, not less; you’re going to see more aggression by the United States toward our enemies, not less; you’re going to have decisions being made not in the White House but out in the field.”

It is a fundamental American myth that the American war machine has always fought against terrorism.

Following on from the propaganda machine of WWII, America has always been at war against its enemies, not the ideologies of said enemies. This was the same belief that fuelled the physical brutality and torture meted against black slaves in the US. Although already fully oppressed, they had to be crushed with physical violence, because they were threats to white America. The US army determines ‘who’ the threats are, not ‘what’ the threats are.

US military troops have long been accused of imperialist ideologies. Military veteran turned author, Bevin Alexander, wrote a book in 2005, titled, How America Got It Right: The U.S. March to Military and Political Supremacy. Two years later, Alexander published a book on the Nazi war machine: How Hitler Could Have Won World War II: The Fatal Errors That Led to Nazi Defeat.

Alexander would apply this same logos to his 2008 publication of, How the South Could Have Won the Civil War: The Fatal Errors That Led to Confederate Defeat. In it, he appeals to the reader not to take from his book any pro-slavery or pro-aristocratic sentiments.

“I sincerely hope no reader will conclude that this book’s title implies in any way that I am advocating some reappraisal of the Lost Cause or some nostalgic longing for what is gone with the wing,” he writes.

Yet, How America Got It Right speaks to the pro-imperialist sentiments of the US military since its victory in World War Two. It is no surprise that Alexander would pen a book titled: Korea: The First War We Lost.

Washington has spent billions of dollars in its African Command (AFRICOM). In December 2018, President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton announced: “Under our new approach, every decision we make, every policy we pursue, and every dollar of aid we spend will further US priorities in the region.”

“Our first priority, enhancing US economic ties with the region, is not only essential to improving opportunities for American workers and businesses. It is also vital to safeguarding the economic independence of African states and protecting US national security interests.”

Today, Africa holds the highest number of US military deployments after the Middle East. This number rose from three per cent to 17 per cent between 2010 and 2016.

Currently, China is Africa’s top trade partner. The USA’s economic trade with Africa lies in energy, finance and aid. 90 per cent of US-Africa trade, for example, is in crude petroleum exports.

China’s strategy for neocolonialism is financial; the USA’s strategy is militarisation. By indebting the continent into billions of dollars that it cannot afford to pay back, China’s power over Africa grows. The US, on the other hand, is following its centuries-long strategy of creating a huge ideological monster out of a smaller enemy.

The US wants to “defeat violent extremism in West Africa,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said.

“This area is inherently dangerous. We’re there because ISIS and Al Qaeda are operating in that area.”

Neocolonialism plagues Africa. The USA, China and, now, Russia, are on the hunt for imperialism in the continent. The same hard power techniques the US operates in Latin America is slowly and secretly taking over Africa. Once again, the rise of the continent would be destroyed by the imperialist war machine of the Pentagon.