Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Piracy draws China back to the ranks of maritime giants

December 24, 2008

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has forced China to send its navy far afield and return to the ranks of maritime powers in the same seas where the last great Chinese fleet operated some 600 years ago.

By Pascal Mallet
AFP

On Friday, two Chinese destroyers and a supply ship will set sail for the Gulf of Aden — the first time in recent history that Beijing has deployed vessels on a potential combat mission well beyond its territorial waters.

That China, the world’s fourth biggest economic power and climbing, would have an interest in the freedom of the seas — where most of the world’s cargo is transported — is not a surprise.

Seven of the roughly 100 ships attacked by Somali pirates since the beginning of the year have been Chinese, and at least one from China is still thought to be in the hands of the attackers.

But the decision is both historic and could have far-reaching consequences.

Historic, because the last time ships were sent so far — coincidentally to the east coast of Africa and the southern Gulf region — was under Admiral Zheng He in the 15th century.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081224/w
l_africa_afp/somaliapiracychinamilitary_
081224115330

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U.S. Helps African States Fend Off Militants

December 13, 2008

Thousands of miles from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, another side of America’s fight against terrorism is unfolding in this remote corner of West Africa. American Green Berets are training African armies to guard their borders and patrol vast desolate expanses against infiltration by Al Qaeda’s militants, so the United States does not have to.

By Eric Schmitt
The New York Times

In an exercise last month near Bamako, Mali, American troops helped soldiers from Mali and Senegal in West Africa learn to guard their borders against infiltration by Islamic militants.  Photo: Michael Kamber for The New York Times

A recent exercise by the United States military here was part of a wide-ranging plan, developed after the Sept. 11 attacks, to take counterterrorism training and assistance to places outside the Middle East, like the Philippines and Indonesia. In Africa, a five-year, $500 million partnership between the State and Defense Departments includes Algeria, Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia, and Libya is on the verge of joining.

American efforts to fight terrorism in the region also include nonmilitary programs, like instruction for teachers and job training for young Muslim men who could be singled out by militants’ recruiting campaigns.

One goal of the program is to act quickly in these countries before terrorism becomes as entrenched as it is in Somalia, an East African nation where there is a heightened militant threat. And unlike Somalia, Mali is willing and able to have dozens of American and European military trainers conduct exercises here, and its leaders are plainly worried about militants who have taken refuge in its vast Saharan north.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/13/w
orld/africa/13mali.html?_r=1&hp

Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

December 6, 2008

The world is about competition.

Do you get the feeling that China and Russia are slicing up the world pie?  Or want to?

At Peace and Freedom, we get the feeling that Russia and China are grabbing all the economic value from the world and leaving the U.S. to happily make subsidized cars in Detroit. Case in point is the current global foray of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev  who is wrapping up a gigantic business trip to nations like Venezuela and India.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) waves as Indian Prime ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) waves as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh looks on at a welcome ceremony in New Delhi. Singh hailed a landmark nuclear deal signed with Russia on Friday as a “milestone in the history of our cooperation” after meeting in India with Medvedev.(AFP/Raveendran)

Like it or not, where the U.S. isn’t, China and Russia thrive.

Earlier this year China’s President Hu Jintao completed a multi-nation trip to Africa.  Mostly, he seized opportunities to cheaply exploit raw materials desperately needed by China’s industrial dragon.  President Hu even went to Sudan despite international condemnation of the genocide in Darfur.

A Chinese bank employee counts stacks of hundred yuan notes ...

China also has recently completed the largest seaport in the world at Gwadar in Pakistan.

Russia and China often work in tandem — as they do in behalf of  Iran.  China and russia have the lions share of the business dealing with Iran, so when the U.S. proposes sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program, China and Russia block the effort together.

Human rights takes a back seat in Russian and Chinese business.  And both nations have their top guy out there globally beating the bushes in favor of homeland businesses.

When the U.S. was agast at human rights abuses in Myanmar, China objected and protested the junta.  China wants Myanmar’s oil.


Homeless, displaced refugees in Darfur.  But China still pours money into Sudan in exchange for oil….

Add this to the many challenges of Barack Obama.  Sitting in the U.S. watching the United Auto Workers kill off the car industry as we gear up to produce environmentally pure “Made in the U.S.A.” windmills might be fine for some; but we’d like to add our voice to those that believe the U.S. needs to be a major global business.

We need to think big.  We need to redevelop  the U.S. infrastructure with jobs and billions of dollars of spending.  But we also need to hunt out and drag home a lot more of the global market.

Wherever the U.S. is shy to go in the world: Medvedev and Hu Jintao do not fear to tread.  They have been — or they plan to go.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

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Extra:

China Now Holds Most of U.S. Debt

China passed Japan to become the U.S. government’s largest foreign creditor in September, the Treasury Department announced yesterday, reflecting the dramatic expansion of Beijing’s economic influence over the American economy.
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China’s new status — it now owns nearly $1 out of every $10 in U.S. public debt — means Washington will be increasingly forced to rely on Beijing as it seeks to raise money to cover the cost of a $700 billion bailout. China, in fact, may be the government’s largest creditor, period. The Treasury does not keep records on domestic bond holders. But analysts said China’s holdings are so vast that the existence of a larger stakeholder in the United States now seems unlikely.

By Anthony Faiola and Zachary A. Goldfarb
The Washington Post

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/18
/AR2008111803558.html?wprss=r
ss_business%2Feconomy