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Mission Creep in Darkest Africa
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`Take up the white man’s burden’

Rudyard Kipling, poet laureate of British imperialism

The British Empire, which at the end of the 19th century ruled one quarter of the earth’s land surface, is long gone. But its robust successor and heir, the United States, has set about enlarging it.

As I sought to explain in my last book ‘American Raj – How the US Rules the Muslim World,’ the US imperium exerts its power by controlling tame, compliant regimes around the world and their economies. They are called ‘allies’ but, in fact, should be more accurately termed satrapies or vassal states. Many states are happy to be prosperous US vassals, others less so.

The US power system has successfully dominated much of the world, except of course for great powers China, Russia and India. Germany and much of Western Europe remains in thrall to post WWII US power. The same applies to Canada, Latin America, Australia, and parts of SE Asia.

There is one part of the globe that has remained free from heavy US influence since 1945, sub-Saharan Africa. But this fact is clearly changing as the US military expands its operations the width and breadth of the Dark Continent.

We are seeing a rerun of the fine old 1930’s film, ‘Beau Geste’ which was taken from a cracking good 1924 Victorian novel by C. Percival Wren. Set in French North Africa, Wren’s dashing French Legionnaires end up defending a remote fort against masses of hostile Arab and Berber tribesman.

The novel and film negatively shaped western attitudes to the Arab world and its peoples but glorified the French Foreign Legion. Wren claimed to have been a member of the Legion which was the primary enforcement arm of France’s African colonial empire.

The famed Legion, which fought from Mexico to Indochina, has now shrunken to a pitiful 8,000 men. France’s thread-bare finances proved a deadlier enemy than Saharan horsemen.

Even so, the Legion is still used by Paris for sudden shock interventions across West Africa to support client French regimes and punish those who challenge the status quo. I’ve lifted many a glass with Legionnaires. They are an amazingly tough bunch: you never know whether they are going to kill you or buy you drinks.

US troops have now stepped into the boots of ‘La Legion.’ Almost unnoticed, US Special Forces – our version of the Legion – have been slipping into Africa, the newest and most exciting market for the Pentagon.

Creation of the new US Africa Command in 2007, with headquarters in Germany, was discreet but it signaled active US military and geopolitical interest in resource-rich Africa, a key target of Chinese interest. No one in Washington seems to know how many US troops operate in Africa, but it’s at least 12,000 not counting mercenary contractors and CIA units. There was consternation in Congress when these facts emerged last week.


The key US base in Africa is at Djibouti, a poxy, fly-blown French colony on the Red Sea that is also shared by the Legion and, curiously, a Chinese naval station. US forces in Djibouti operate into Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Central Africa. US forces in West Africa operate in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Liberia, Uganda, and anywhere that pro-US regimes are under pressure. Mali and Chad, where nomadic tribes battle the central government, are key operating regions. Both are under nasty dictatorial regimes backed by Washington.

As in the British Empire, the ‘natives’ are kept under control by small numbers of skilled Western troops. There’s no need for big battalions of regulars. The key is western air power and intelligence. Particularly so in often barren sub-Saharan West Africa where French and US warplanes patrol the skies. `We have the Maxim gun (machine gun) and they have not’ wrote a Victorian poet. Nothing much has changed.

France’s previous president, Francois Hollande, charged into a local tribal squabble in Mali, a key uranium supplier, between black town dwellers and nomadic Tuareg and assorted Islamists. Unable to afford the spreading war, France asked for US help and got it. The bitterly anti-Muslim Trump administration could not miss a chance to attack Muslims in West Africa under the banner of ‘anti-terrorism.’

A ‘terrorist’ in this case is anyone who challenges the western-dominated political order, from Malian nomads to Central African Republic rebels. In the brutal dictatorial regimes of former French West Africa the only effective opposition comes from groups calling themselves Islamic. This pulls the chain of the Trump administration and its Christian fundamentalist allies at home who seek to uproot fast-spreading Islam from Africa.

So off the US military charges into Africa, with little understanding of the region and even less strategic planning. It’s Vietnam-style ‘mission creep’ all over again. Washington is still trying to figure out what happened to Herzegovina in the Balkans while it plunges into darkest West Africa. That’s why Trump and French president Emmanuel Macron are so chummy these days.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Africa, American Military 
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  1. FKA Max says: • Website

    It’s Vietnam-style ‘mission creep’ all over again.

    And just like in Vietnam , another (or the most) important player and interested party in that region that hardly gets mentioned in connection with these military interventions, but who has ample interest in troops being send into sub-Saharan Africa to protect its flock, is the Vatican. I have briefly commented on this before here at the Unz Review:

    Why are there and why do they want more U.S. troops in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Again, I believe, because it benefits the Vatican:

    STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. should send a 5,000-strong security assistance brigade to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help stabilize a country ravaged by more than a decade of war, a prominent U.S. military analyst recommends.
    O’Hanlon sounds like a pretty Celtic-Catholic name to me… he seems to be a Catholic Neocon…

    He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kinshasa, Congo in the 1980s. O’Hanlon is reasonably fluent in French, having taught physics in French in the Peace Corps for two years in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1980s.

    Michael O’Hanlon on dangers facing US mission in Niger

    Africa is the primary growth region for the Catholic Church:

    African Catholics have more than tripled in number since 1980 to more than 200 million, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research


    The Congo, the Philippines, and Mexico Likely to Lead Growth in Numbers of Catholics


    In Africa, Pope Francis will find religious vibrancy and violence


    Without taking into account the Vatican element, one cannot fully understand the logic of Invade the World/Invite the World , in my opinion.

    Where refugees to the U.S. come from



    • Replies: @Anon
  2. Issac says:

    No surprises here. Africans have immense resources and few of the people necessary to make use of them or even harvest them for sale. Global powers the world over want these resources and in return Africans want to export their useless biomass elsewhere and receive international remittances or bribes for the big chief. In all likelihood the Chinese, Americans, and Europeans are carving up their respective zones of near-future influence. The looming question of this century will be how any of them deals with the African population boom. The one thing absolutely nobody wants out of Africa is more African immigrants, and yet, that will be the chief export of Africa for the next century.

    Unfortunately for those of bleeding hearts, no cessation of African colonialism will stop them coming to Europe. Indeed, the only means of keeping the Darkest Continent from flooding Europe and re-creating African problems therein will be massive intervention on the part of Western military and mercenary forces.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  3. @Issac

    Nah, it’s a no-brainer.
    Sink every boat that leaves north Africa as soon as it enters European waters.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @Mork D
  4. Tell me again, how does imperialism and war benefit ordinary Americans? Oh yeah, you can’t, because it doesn’t. Imperialism and democracy are enemies, at home and abroad.

  5. 5371 says:

    [I’ve lifted many a glass with Legionnaires. They are an amazingly tough bunch: you never know whether they are going to kill you or buy you drinks]

    Well, you’re still alive, Eric, so at some stage you should have figured out it was buy you drinks.

  6. Colonialism would be doing the locals a favor. Look what happens when they try to govern themselves.

  7. MarkinLA says:
    @Bill Jones

    I prefer training Orcas to capsize the boats and dolphins to drag the swimmers under. That way the SJWs have to stay silent – who wants to kill whales?

  8. Mork D says:
    @Bill Jones

    I only hope that reincarnation is real, and that you are reborn as a poor African, as you clearly lack any kind of empathy whatsoever, and would deserve the fate you’re willing to bestow upon those less fortunate than you.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  9. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @FKA Max

    Are you sure Africans are converting, or is it that black Catholics (remember, no birth control in the Catholic religion) are just breeding like crazy? Steve Sailor has written some sound-the-alarm posts on the topic of crazy African demographic trends.

    • Replies: @FKA Max
    , @FKA Max
  10. MarkinLA says:
    @Mork D

    Don’t you have a bed to wet?

  11. FKA Max says: • Website

    Mainly the latter, “breeding like crazy”, encouraged by both Catholic and evangelical Christian churches and leaders in Africa. Mr. Sailer has done awesome work on this topic, I agree:

    The high-fertility cues start from the top: The longtime president, Yoweri Museveni, has often said that a large population could turn his landlocked nation into an economic power. His wife, Janet Museveni, is a born-again Christian who’s urged women not to use birth control because it goes “against God’s clear plan for your life.”

    Opposition to birth control also comes from the Roman Catholic Church, the country’s largest, and from husbands who consider big families badges of masculine accomplishment, health workers say.

    Melinda Gates: ‘I’m a Catholic, but women need access to contraceptives’

    I mean, one has to look at it, of course, from a biological point of view: the whole essence of biological life on earth is a question of balance and what we’ve done is to practice death control in the most intensive manner without balancing this with birth control at the other end. Consequently, the birth rates remain as high as they were and death rates have fallen substantially. – Aldous Huxley

    What does the Catholic Church do for Africa?

    Many Catholic priests have ties to the intelligence community:

    I am a priest of the Catholic Church having been Received into the Church in London, United Kingdom in 1991. I was parish priest in Prince Edward Island in Canada for several parishes and I now serve the Church in the Diocese of Mzuzu in Malawi.

    Previously I taught in secondary schools in Zambia, Canada and the United Kingdom before becoming an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy. As an Intelligence officer I served in Canada, the United Kingdom and the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf and loaned to the United States Navy.

    Google “Catholic Intelligence Agency” and “Catholics In Action”, “ C.I.A.”, to find out more.

    Immigration and the Catholic Church

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  12. FKA Max says: • Website

    This video might be of interest to you as well. It showcases very well how the Catholic Church operates in Africa:

    “Saving the unborn”

    Published on Oct 10, 2016
    Domtila has spent the past 25 years running a crisis pregnancy center in Nairobi, Kenya that has saved the lives of many babies. She is a mother of six and a supernumerary of Opus Dei.

  13. Dan Hayes says:
    @FKA Max

    FKA Max:

    With three progeny, Melinda Gates doesn’t practice what she (and Bill) preaches.

    So it’s the usual don’t do what I do but do what I say!

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