A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
July 11, 2012“Why does the United States place its strategic interests in the hands of the elite of a warlike minority in the heart of Central Africa?”
The United Nations has finally released a report
detailing Rwanda’s latest destabilization of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. As usual, the delay was caused by the United States, which routinely blocks criticism of its military and political client-state, Rwanda, which has since 1996 been deeply complicit in the death of 6 million Congolese. The United States is, therefore, also liable for the genocide in Congo – the largest mass killings since World War Two.
Apologists for U.S. policy in Central Africa are fond of using the word “strategic.” The United States, they say, arms and protects Rwanda because America has “strategic” business and defense interests in the Congo’s vast mineral deposits. The infinitely corrupt Congolese strongman Mobutu Sese Seko
used to be Washington’s attack dog in Africa. But, in the mid-90s, the Americans opted to back an invasion of eastern Congo by the Tutsi-minority regimes in Rwanda and Burundi, and the other U.S. client-state in the region, Uganda. Washington chose to put its strategic interests in the hands of a small but highly militarized people, the Tutsi, rather than help the Congolese government maintain control over its own territory.“A formula for endless war.”
Why would the United States choose such allies to protect its so-called “strategic interests.” On the face of it, this would seem like a formula for endless war in the region. Even before the mass killings of Tutsis in 1994, they never comprised more than 15 percent of the population in Rwanda or in Burundi, where Hutu people make up the vast majority. Having lorded it over the Hutus during and prior to the arrival of European colonialism, and having massacred
many Hutu in both nations
after independence, the Tutsi are not loved by their fellow countrymen. They have since become a primary source of destabilization and genocide in Congo. So the question is: Why does the United States place its strategic interests in the hands of the elite of a warlike minority in the heart of Central Africa? Why would Washington invest millions in minority-ruled governments of tiny countries like Rwanda and Burundi, which can only be sources of permanent instability in the region? Don’t the Americans understand that support for tiny, aggressive elites guarantees continued chaos?
The answer is: Yes, they do understand. Since independence, U.S. policy in Africa has almost always been to choose chaos in those places where it cannot rule directly. And chaos brings genocide. The U.S. reasons that, at any given moment, chaos contains many options, an infinity of possibilities for superpower action – whereas stable regimes with broad popular support provide less room for the foreigner to maneuver, less possibilities for a quick change of policy or regime.
Which is one reason that China looks good to Africa and to much of the rest of the formerly colonized world. The Chinese do not foment coups, or encourage whole regions to become saturated in arms. They just want to do business in a stable environment. That’s why China has surpassed the U.S. as Africa’s trading partner, and why U.S. imperialism will ultimately be defeated. Because nobody wants someone around who spreads chaos and mass death everywhere he goes.For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.