Mission Creep In Darkest Africa

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Eric Margolis via Orinetal Review,

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  a glass with many 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 notwrote 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.

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I Write Code's picture

Africa, Schmafrica.  What, you expect the Chinese to pacify it by themselves?

HowdyDoody's picture

One side effect of the US-sponsored terrorism is that there will be more migrants & refugees trying to get away to Europe. Col. Gadaffi, please pick up the white telephone.

Escrava Isaura's picture

Most Hedges these days only know how to focus on the low hang fruit…….Easy stuff while missing the big picture.

Here’s an example from below.

Jus7tme: This article is exactly right. After a murderous failure in the Middle East, The US military is looking for fresh new locations in which they have not failed YET.

Firstly, Africa is not fresh. Africa is supposed to be resources for the Europeans after WW2 (Bretton Woods Conference). Then, with these resources, Europe produces finishes goods that are sold to the US. With those ‘acquired’ dollars the Europeans then buy oil and explorer more resources in Africa while the US runs their security and the financial aspects.

Secondly, US has not failed in the Middle East. Yes, some setbacks but, for the most part, Middle East is going accordingly to plan, which is to take their resources, and have those resources be sold in dollars thus generating liquidity to Americans and inflation to the rest of the world.  



Manthong's picture

…gee… I am a loss for words  except


Except if you want to want to compete with the Chinese building infrarastructure………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


Byte Me's picture

Have you seen what the Africans actually do with infrastructure?

Déjà view's picture

AFRICOM headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany justifies a lovely assignment...

7thGenMO's picture

...and all for the defense of the continental US!  ///

BennyBoy's picture


The only creep in Africa is the US.

Refuse-Resist's picture

Yes. It's the same anywhere in the world-- they destroy it.

ptolemy_newit's picture

China had helped other developing countries build 442 economic infrastructure projects, including:

1.              The Sana’a-Hodeida Highway in Yemen

2.              The Karakoram Highway and Gwadar

3.              Port in Pakistan The Tanzania-Zambia Railway

4.              The Belet Uen-Burao Highway in Somalia

5.              The Dry Dock in Malta

6.              The Lagdo Hydropower Station in Cameroon Nouakchott’s Friendship Port in Mauritania

7.              Railway improvements in Botswana

8.              Six bridges in Bangladesh

9.              One section of the Kunming-Bangkok Highway in Laos

10.           The Greater Mekong Sub-region Information Highway in Myanmar

11.           The Shar-Shar Tunnel in Tajikistan

12.           The No.7 Highway in Cambodia

13.           The Gotera Interchange in Addis Ababa of Ethiopia



BarkingCat's picture

China is not building any of these things out of generosity towards others. They're building infrastructure so they can exploit the region. I've read that in some former colonial areas the natives wish the change to go away and the British return. The say that the British brought them culture and education while Chinese simply seek to explore them like slaves.

Is it true? Probably.  The Chinese treat their own like slaves.

Bigly's picture

Maybe, but to me this falls under

Not our problem.

amadeus39's picture

Your use of the word "exploit" is not accurate or useful in it's context.


ptolemy_newit's picture


its bilateral trade win/win. have you been to Ethiopia?

China has 300 million middle class, the most billionaires in the world and no one living on the street.

The greatest transportations systems, 350 miles per hour trains, NO POT HOLE in the roads, gardens and parks everywhere.

Everyone works or no lunch.  Children go to school 8 hours a day.  Greatest medical system.

Get a passport.


BrownCoat's picture

@ ptolemy_newit,

I cannot confirm or deny your glowing report of China.

Does 'get a passport' mean "go visit China?"
I would agree. You might want to take your own advice. Get a visa!

baldknobber's picture

Oh yes, when the noble , 500 year planning Chinese do it , it is to help develop the poor countries. When the evil Westerners do it , it is run for the hills the Economic Hit men are here to loot and rape. Sometimes I actually wish I could live in a black/white my side good their side bad state of mind. It must be stressfree

STP's picture

The big difference between the US and China as far as building infrastructure in these countries, is that China builds it, with the express cooperation of the government in helping to lease farm land, extract resources (at a fair price, I suppose, to both) and that's it.   The Chinese don't tell them, how to run their country.  They could careless if it's a dictatorship, kingdom, democracy, whatever.  The US is a different story.  The US often demands regime change, military insertion of troops, bases, with a focus on strategic placement for command and control and maybe, a little infrastructure help, like Michelle Obama holding up a stupid sign.

peddling-fiction's picture

Isaura, our village idiot, spouting nonsense, nonstop.

buttmint's picture

US Army and gunboat diplomacy?

What could go wrong?


Is this a sequel to "ROMANCING THE BONE" by US Army dudes, special ops?

Refuse-Resist's picture

Are you eating cats and rats yet? how do you still have internet service? Isn't Venezuela a failed state now?

BarkingCat's picture

She she is from Brazil. She also lives in the United States. Ironically she not leave the United States while bashing capitalism at every turn.

factorypreset's picture

What is this "capitalism" you speak of?   We haven't had anything resembling true capitalism in this country for over 100 years. 

TuPhat's picture

You don't have to have it in order to bash it.

factorypreset's picture

Capitalism (even corrupted) seems, on the whole to be better for the general population than socialism / communism, but the fact remains that it can and has been and will be corrupted by those in power (especially those who, ironically enough, extoll its virtues).  

ptolemy_newit's picture

Is the Islamic view on finance and economy not just a preference for Productive Capitalism and a statement against Financial Capitalism? Or is the Western economy and finance just too heavy influenced/poisoned by looting principles: as it facilitates a drain from the real economy towards the financial economy. And: Is draining the real economy a good/smart concept? Yet that’s just what Financial Capitalism does. As it widens the wealth gap within economies/societies.


Better said: the Islamic finance and economic models are delivering Productive Capitalism (with all its advantages) and prevents the rise of Financial Capitalism (with all its downsides)


NYSE- what companies have the greatest profits? 

peddling-fiction's picture

"She" is a South American version of MDB, but a flunkie at best.

Maybe "she" is here to bog us down (successfully).

Maybe it is time to give "her" the silent treatment.

Isaura the ZH village idiot.

TexasDave's picture

The policy that is detailed above is anathema to those who love liberty and law, but instead of down voting and decrying something the majority of us understand represents evil we ought to closely study these rare windows into the truth of the banking cabals worldview. 

Destroyed countries and the devastation of people groups is not a failure to the mic and their banking masters. It merely begets more opportunities to seize a tighter grip on the human experience through rebuilding and restructuring under their "wise" leadership. Peace or war, it's all priced into their road map.

The only way their plan is disrupted, derailed, or experiences failure is if the FED ceases to exist, money is sound again, and the current political power structure and all those who are involved from mic ceos to lobbying firms to all federal contractors and employees are ejected from the political sphere. Then you might see their plans and expectations mightily disrupted. Until then it's all part of the plan.


dubaibubble's picture

Africa is damned big, the Chinese need helping to properly loot it

lots of natural resources that the local tribesmen could not possibly use themselves

just spreading the new globalist charm 

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Yah really.   It's that damnable DNA thing again.  Short 2 standard deviations of IQ means you're only fit for making mud pies

amadeus39's picture

Typical American strategy is "I win. You lose. So yesterday. Chinese: You win. I win. Capitalism versus Economic cooperation.


Kobe Beef's picture

As long as the Chinese enforce a "One Child Policy" across the African continent...

Let them have it.

BarkingCat's picture

One problem with the others article is that he fails to mention that the French Foreign Legion means foreigners. The line about not knowing whether they will kill you or buy you a drink is probably accurate. These were a collection of foreign misfits and criminals who joined the French foreign Legions to escape the legal system and stay out of prison. There is truly nothing admirably about these psychopathic misfits

buttmint's picture

Barking Cat...

very true. Here is a good and sad read on the French Foreign Legion getting their asses kicked at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.

A good read.....just swap out FFL for the US Army 10 years later. Same resultP: the Viets are fierce fighters!



HardAssets's picture

Damned Chinese. They’re offering these places actual mutually beneficial trade & development deals. The US is offering them war and destruction. That’s unfair trade practices !

amadeus39's picture

Wow! I'm pleasantly amazed how so many ZHers see things the same way I do.  My hope is rekindled.

Jus7tme's picture

This article is exactly right. After a murderous failure in the Middle East, The US military is looking for fresh new locations in which they have not failed YET.

HardAssets's picture

US foreign policy and military actions are narrowly focused to benefit a few - oil companies, private military contractors, officers bucking for promotion, etc. Of course, the biggest beneficiaries are the private banks who own the federal reserve note and do not want competition from anything of actual value.
The ‘war on terrorism’ is the perfect excuse to intervene anywhere in the world. History has shown that such a policy leads to failure and national decline. Empire over reach is a very old story.

Abbie Normal's picture

"fresh new locations in which they have not failed YET"

Or maybe nobody remembers Blackhawk Down.  That phrase should be changed to "have not failed RECENTLY"

NickPeeMe's picture

We have nothing to worry about Trump is the peace president! LMFAO.....Bwaaaaahahahahahahaha.

slipreedip's picture

The only country swaggering around the world looking for trouble is the United States.

Most  developed countries dont want, and arent actively pursuing war with any other countries.

This constant state of conflict bullshit is cultivated by the US relentlessly.

Look at Trump in SK at the moment.

Yes, there are localised issues in some areas but were not really talking nation states for the most part.

These areas where it is happening have largely been carry over disputes originating pre/post ww1 and 2.

(ie israel etc)

Americas passive aggressive foreign policy and bullying is cast in a poor light when considering some

of the trading links and programs employed by the  Chinese and Russians.

Im not saying their sheets are completely white, but a road and belt initiative to promote travel and 

trade will usually be far more welcome than parking a few battlegroups off the coast.



SmittyinLA's picture

Mission creep my ass, this is all about protecting FOREIGN donor assets by our whored out military and a State Dept on the take. Why is the federal government in a partnership with Soros and Helios towers in Africa other than to provide him with free money and free security?

It's American taxpayer Chumpville.

The military is in Africa to provide security for private monopolies in water, power and communications owned by federal govt insiders-not Americans but paid for with federally guaranteed loans, the water and land acquisition policies are also driving African refugees into the EU, every land purchase authorized some "designated chief" is a displacement of locals.

HowdyDoody's picture

Those bauxite, chromite, cobalt, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, diamond, graphite, phosphate, coal and uranium mines don't protect themselves.

Grandad Grumps's picture

A few years back I had been sent a questionnaire from the US government asking what critical resources we needed to produce our products, where they came from and whether we might need the US military to ensure supply.

Drumming up business?

HedgeJunkie's picture

Odd.  A few years back I was asked by the Census about our Iron Workers, we are along a major rail line.

They asked if you had unlimited resources and unlimited manpower how much product could we turn out.

I answered "Is this a trick question, it would be unlimited once a spur was introduced.  Don't ask me this type of question ever again."

Haven't had to answer since.

amadeus39's picture

By saying "Census" and "government" and "they" we demonstrate how helpless we citizens relly are. Unless we can identify specifically who is initiating policy changes, we know nothing and therefore cannot act.