Following the second ever US-Africa summit in Washington (the first was in 2014), the White House launched a massive offensive against African states, attempting to force them to either abandon cooperation with Russia entirely or reshape it in ways that benefit US businesses.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen embarked on an 11-day tour of African countries (Senegal, Zambia, and South Africa) in January 2023 to develop the theses that the US presented to African leaders at the December 13-15 summit. The main thrust is that Russia’s (and, of course, China’s, how could it be otherwise!) actions are allegedly exacerbating economic problems in Africa, and Russia in general has allegedly caused “untold suffering” to the world and created “global economic obstacles,” which is why African economies are being “unnecessarily squeezed.”
In trying to lure Africans, Janet Yellen claimed that the West’s cap on Russian oil prices would save African countries $6 billion per year. She urged African countries to take advantage of this fact in order to obtain significant discounts on oil.
It is difficult to say what all of these rhetorical exercises contain more of: lies, hypocrisy, distortion of facts, or sheer insolence mixed with the arrogance of a world power losing its hegemony.
Start with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, whose American interpretation underpins the entire narrative. The widely circulated Western version of this conflict, created by the United States and repeated by Kyiv, is well known in: Imperialist Russia allegedly attacked “innocent sheep” Ukraine in order to tear it apart, seize territories, and deprive it of statehood. According to allegations, Russia does not recognize the Ukrainian people’s right to self-determination and does not adhere to the principle of state territorial integrity.
Life itself has long debunked this false thesis: 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has sought to build constructive relations with Ukraine, pouring $400 billion in investment into the country, $200 billion of it through extremely low prices for energy resources imported by Ukraine in exchange for Moscow’s desire to ensure the rights of the Russian-speaking population and good neighborly relations. Russia was duped in both cases: as a result of the bloody 2014 Western-inspired coup in Kyiv, pure neo-Nazis came to power, burning Russians who opposed them in Odessa on May 2, 2014, and good neighborly relations were buried by enshrining in the Ukrainian constitution in 2018 the proposition that Ukraine should join NATO, which Russia vehemently opposed.
Russia offered Ukraine a federal agreement formula that would have helped secure the rights of Russians in Ukraine in an attempt to save Ukrainian statehood, but it was rejected. The palliative 2015 Minsk agreements, which were supposed to grant autonomy to the Donbass and Luhansk regions on a variety of issues, were shamelessly exploited by Ukraine and the West to arm them and turn them into a direct and immediate threat to Russian security. This was acknowledged by Russia’s Western partners, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President François Hollande, who both stated unequivocally that neither the West nor Kyiv intended to implement the agreements.
Furthermore, it became clear that the Ukrainian government intended to launch an offensive on Crimea and the Donbass to carry out ethnic cleansing and destroy any resistance to its anti-Russian plans to integrate with the West.
Russia was forced to respond to these overtly anti-Russian plans.
This is true, but it is not the truth, but rather the fabricated stories of Russian aggression that serve as the foundation of Washington’s entire foreign policy. Meanwhile, the US is illegally occupying a portion of Syria’s territory and stealing its oil, all while screaming loudly about Russian aggression causing “unspeakable suffering” to nearly the entire world. Many other facts from the recent and older history of the aggressive actions of the USA are known to all: the destruction of Libya and its leader Muammar Gaddafi, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia by the forces of NATO and the separation of its historical territories, such as Kosovo, the participation of the USA in the creation of “Al-Qaeda” and ISIS (both terrorist groups are banned in Russia), the support of the once racist regime in South Africa, not to mention the slave trade until the mid-19th century.
In banking, there is such a thing as credit history. So the US is far from having the right to accuse others of destroying statehood. Let us not forget the system of plundering nations created by Wall Street bankers, the Bretton Woods system of the IMF and the World Bank. It has created for the whole world such financial conditions of life based on the domination of the US dollar, that do not allow the supposedly independent states to develop independently and effectively. It has secured the status of African countries (and not only them) as raw material appendages of the Western world. The facts have been known for a long time: Africa produces 90% of cocoa, but receives only 11% of the profits from it. The same is true for all extractable mineral resources in Africa. Niger, for example, has the seventh-largest uranium reserves in the world, but the energy it produces lights up France, while Niger suffers from hunger, disease and lack of development. The same is true for almost all countries on the African continent.
Janet Yellen has come to Africa to defend this system, luring Africans with illusory handouts such as the $55 billion in investments promised in Washington in December for the next three years. Meanwhile, the United States and other Western countries have already provided Ukraine with real $100 billion in 11 months, and this is not the end. This money could have long ago been used to end hunger in Africa, but instead it is going to war with Russia and to the US military-industrial complex, which is profiting from the war.
There are numerous other examples of the West’s, specifically Washington’s, hypocrisy and double standards. Palestine is the most notorious example. The same zeal and enthusiasm on the part of the US to establish a Palestinian state and liberate the occupied Palestinian territories is nowhere to be seen.
In Africa, where the Soviet Union spared no effort, no money, and no soldiers’ lives to fight for independence (particularly in Angola), they can discover without the interference of Washington’s emissaries who their true friends are and who their true oppressors are. They can clearly see who really wants to maintain neocolonial power on this continent under the guise of the pseudo-fight for democracy, and opposes with all their might the unavoidable transition of the world to a qualitatively new multipolar state based on taking into account the interests of all states and peoples, and giving everyone equal opportunities for development and liberation from the Western financial domination that sucks the juice out of the absolute majority of the world’s peoples.
The United States’ efforts to maintain its already lost expansion, at least through Janet Yellen’s travels and false rhetoric to save Ukraine, which is supposedly dying because of Russia, are futile and will not result in the desired outcome.
Pogos Anastasov, Political Scientist and Orientalist, exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook”.