Small Wars Journal

How AFRICOM Plans to Counter Russian, Chinese Influence in Africa

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 9:06am

How AFRICOM Plans to Counter Russian, Chinese Influence in Africa by Diana Stancy Correll - Military Times

U.S. Africa Command officials have long cautioned that Russia and China are trying to expand their control in Africa. But the command believes the U.S. can foil that influence by developing strong relationships with African states and becoming their “partner of choice.”

“I think the most important part of our approach is, it’s about relationships, it’s not about access to a resource or to a mineral, or to sales of U.S. equipment,” AFRICOM director of operations U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler told reporters Jan. 16. “I think the relationships we build will have a far-lasting impact.”

U.S. troops in Africa are there primarily to help overthrow the Islamic State and al-Qaida-linked groups like al-Shabab, as are troops from allied nations like France. But Russia and China are largely absent from the effort to eliminate terrorism in the region, according to AFRICOM.

“It is important to remember that outside of selling arms for their own economic benefit, China and Russia are not doing much to help counter extremist groups to rob Africans of their future,” U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, AFRICOM deputy director of intelligence, told reporters…

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