Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Graphic: U.S. Military Presence In Africa

ZeroHedge has had a half-dozen posts on Africa in the past month and except for a fondness for sources framing things, rather simplistically, as neo-colonialist, the series is actually pretty good.

Here's an example from October 26:

Authored by Robert Gore via Straight Line Logic blog,
Empires get stupider and more corrupt as they age..

Why are US Green Berets, four of whom were recently killed, in Niger? Why does the US have at least 36 bases, outposts, and staging areas in Africa, located in 24 countries? Why does a website, TomDispatch, have to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get that information, which contradicts years of assurances from AFRICOM, the US’s African military command, that the US has only one base in Africa, in the Republic of Djibouti? Why is AFRICOM headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany? How does anything that happens in Niger, or most of the rest of Africa for that matter, affect anyone’s way of life in the US? Why do we say the dead were heroes protecting our way of life when the country where they died poses no threat?
From the AFRICOM website:
The United States and Niger have a long-standing bilateral relationship. Our militaries have been stalwart allies focused on working together to deter and to defeat terrorist threats in the West African nation and across the Sahel region.
A war on a tactic, terror, can provide the rationale for anything. Terror is ubiquitous, it can be fought anywhere. Anyone who uses or threatens to use violence in furtherance of political or economic ends can be deemed a terrorist. Any “terrorist” who yells, “Death to the United States!” can be deemed a threat to Americans. Terrorism will never be eradicated, so the war against it is perpetual. President George W. Bush even arrogated the right to wage that war preemptively, before terrorists actually struck the US or its citizens. And that’s how the US finds itself in Niger, its “long-standing” and “stalwart” ally that 999,999 out of a million Americans can’t find on an unlabeled map.
The noninterventionist counsel in George Washington’s Farewell Address and John Quincy’s “In Search of Monsters to Destroy” speech has been relegated to the historical dustbin. The latest in a long line of justifications for America making the world safe for democracy, liberty, global order, or some other good thing came from John McCain. It might have come from McCain’s hero, Theodore Roosevelt (except that Roosevelt made no attempt to hide his disdain for those he regarded as inferior races). Or it might have come from Woodrow Wilson, either of the Bushes, or John F. Kennedy.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

-President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961
When a nation has 36 military outposts on the least developed continent and over 800 around the globe, its running an empire, not Kennedy’s altruistic crusade. 

It’s an empire for which the US can no longer afford to “pay any price,” if it ever could. The proponents and many beneficiaries of America’s imperial power recoil at mundane accounting considerations. However, the US government has over $20 trillion in debt, a fair proportion of which funded its empire, and over $200 trillion in unfunded pension and medical-care promises. Its biggest adversary may one day be the credit markets.....


To partly answer the "Why are Green Berets in Niger" here's GovTrack:

H.R. 3833 (114th): To require a regional strategy to address the threat posed by Boko Haram.
Oct 26, 2015
114th Congress, 2015–2017
Enacted Via Other Measures
Provisions of this bill were incorporated into other bills which were enacted.
This bill was enacted as:
S. 1632: A bill to require a regional strategy to address the threat posed by Boko Haram.
Enacted — Signed by the President on Dec 14, 2016. (compare text)
Frederica Wilson
Representative for Florida's 24th congressional district
Photo of Rep. Frederica Wilson [D-FL24]

Read Text »
Last Updated: Oct 26, 2015
Length: 5 pages

Combine that with CNN reporting on Oct. 23 that Senator Lindsey Graham, warhawk and Senatorial BFF of John McCain, also wants U.S. troops in Africa:
Graham: 'The war is headed to Africa'