Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Americans Bring Democracy, Chinese bring Things We Need

Andrew Meldrum confirms my heuristic that the Revolutionary army that rules Rwanda is praying in the direction of communist Beijing, as Rwandan journalist Fred Mwasa points out:
“Americans bring democracy, but the Chinese bring us things we need, like new roads and buildings,” quipped Mwasa. The Chinese have built a sports stadium and the new parliament building. Mwasa said they built them at very competitive prices and they hired lots of Rwandans for the jobs."
Paul Kagame is pushing the RPF ideology “The history of Rwanda is the history of it’s military" (RPF top strategist Frank Rusagara) into the east african community:
" regional integration should go beyond economic integration to co-operation in the area of security to safeguard the gains accruing from economic integration.
East Africa is faced with the problem of piracy in Indian Ocean waters and the threat of the Al-Shabaab militia in lawless Somalia.
Also posing a threat to regional security are the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, the Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda and the Front Nationale Pour la Liberation in Burundi."
I fully agree with @SIDeastAFrica who commented on these developments with:
@SIDeastAfrica Are we seeing the militrization of the East African Community?
About a year ago the Rwandan Patriotic Front used Paul Kagame's speech at West Point to justify it's road to totalitarianism and it's policy of assassination and intimidation of political opponents in Africa, Europe and the US:
"contrasting the response to the 9/11 attacks in New York and the genocide in Rwanda, President Kagame pointed to the need to enhance international response, solidarity and cooperation, so that international threats "carry the same weight and meaning to all countries irrespective of which interests are at stake" and not only when the interests of powerful nations are threatened."
While Paul Kagame was bragging, at a UN conference on peacebuilding in Kigali, about his achievements in peace building, Burundi's President Nkurunziza did what he is supposed to, praise the great leaders of the region:
"Nkurunziza commended the regional Heads of State who played a role in returning peace to his country, including the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, as well as President Kagame and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. "
How does this RPF ideology fit into the Africom paradigm? March 26 2008 Thomas P. Odom, principal military advisor on Rwanda to the U.S. Department of Defense and National Security Council throughout his time in Rwanda from 1994 to 1996 links  to the report Peacebuilding in the Context of the Rwandan Defence Forces  by his "good friend" Frank Rusagara. In 2009 Frank Rusagara gave US Africom three recommendations:
• embrace new strategic thinkers and innovative concepts of security, such as ‘human security,’ for peace-building in Africa;
• explain ARCIOM to their African peers—the command cannot simply rely on senior DOD officials to brief senior African government officials; and
• enhance African capacity for peacekeeping operations.
When Frank Rusagara speaks of  "home-grown peace-building" he means that US Africom should stand by while RPF operatives crush dissent through it's Ingando process:
"A central aspect of this case was the local ownership and management of the process, with a limited role for international agencies. Ownership and management in this sense referred to: the need for home-grown peace-building processes; making peace a positive-sum game; the need for local capacity in order to be able to say no to a paternalistic and patronising international community; and that the process should not be one of scapegoating but of collective responsibility."
Retired Lieutenant Colonel Thomas P. Odom describes with pride how he humiliated a former general of the Habyarimana government at one of these ingando sessions. Andrea Purdekova recently published a report on Ingando. Two Rwandan refugees in South Africa give good insight into what  Rusagara's RPF stands for:
"Kayitare and Nshimyimana are able to cite many examples of how Kagame’s authoritarian governing style has created a military state that uses fear and intimidation to control the population. Kayitare explains that the DMI has extensive networks of civilian informants that the government can use to monitor its population"
How many more Thomas P. Odom's are walking around in Africa?


Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in your thoughts about Stearn's latest blog post that reviews the China/DRC infrastructure for minerals deal, Vincent.

The section "Implications for China Policy Towards DRC" I found rather illuminating.

Given China's ambitions on the world stage, and the simple fact of being a member of the IMF, World Bank, WTO, etc, it was more or less forced to draw down this deal. Kabila was then, ofcourse, forced to draw down because his leverage- China- buckled under IMF pressure.

One can interpret this in many ways but I really do feel that Africans cannot hope to just "get the things we need" given China's desire to be a great power and, as such, play the IC game.

Its fine to want to get those things. But if Africans continue to fail to figure out how to produce and maintain those things on their own how can they say they are truly sovereign states?

This report suggests that China, while deeply aware of the DRC's "governance" problems, more or less sees development as more important that "governance". This isn't surprising given its a totalitarian state. For Africa's dictators, it is this view that likely encourages them to seek out China aid but one would hope, given the Arab Spring, they don't become too enthralled by this perception.

China, like Germany in the early 20th century, wants to be a great power. Well, the other great powers are mostly cool with that but they will force China via various means to either play by the rules or risk isolation. And one "rule" is abiding by the financial system and its tenets for handing out aid to the poor to keep that system functioning.


Vincent Harris said...

It reminds me of Sarkozy's foreign policy shift concerning Africa. Sarkozy still wants a leading role for France in Africa and the world, but takes another road to get there. (Communist) China's goals most likely haven't changed, the strategy has.

The report seems to suggest that China is gaining confidence in international institutions to advance it's interests.