I have come to say that Africa has suffered enough of the burden of history; that it does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War, but rather a pole of stability and opportunity open to all its partners, on a mutually beneficial basis – AU President Sall
African Union President Tells UNGA Continent Won’t Be ‘Breeding Ground of a New Cold War’
by Fantine Gardinier Sputnik News
Since Russia launched its special operation in Ukraine in February, NATO powers have attempted to pressure the rest of the globe to sanction Russia’s economy and condemn the operation. It’s part of a years long effort to push nations to sever relations with Moscow and isolate it (all to no avail).
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Tuesday, Senegalese President Macky Sall, who currently chairs the African Union, said that Africa “does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War.
“We call for a de-escalation and a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine as well as for a negotiated solution to avoid the catastrophic risk of a potentially global conflict,” he added.
The United States especially has pressured African nations to pick sides in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which began in earnest in February, although its origins go back to the 2014 coup in Kiev by US-backed forces. Washington has threatened nations if they break its sanctions against Moscow.
African nations collectively imported $12.6 billion worth of Russian goods in 2020, including 30% of its grain imports, as well as fertilizers and petroleum products, all of which have increased in price thanks to interruptions due to the Ukraine conflict, Western sanctions, and the global problem of inflation.
When US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited South Africa last month in an attempt to woo Pretoria away from its neutral stance, his South African counterpart, Naledi Pandor, told him in no uncertain terms that “We should be equally concerned at what is happening to the people of Palestine as we are with what is happening to the people of Ukraine.”
When South African President Cyril Ramaphosa came to Washington last week, he also told US lawmakers that “if the Countering Malign Russia Activities [in Africa] bill were to become a US law, the law could have the unintended (totally intended, rather) consequence of punishing the African continent for efforts to advance development and growth.”
The latest nation to see protests against France’s military presence and express support for a Russian partnership is Niger, where France has waged a War on Terror-style military campaign against Islamist militants for nearly a decade, and which labors heavily under an unequal relationship with Paris, its former colonial ruler.
Similar claims have been made about China’s growing relationship with African nations, especially those that become part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an infrastructure megaproject initiated by Beijing. Western institutions have claimed China engages in “debt-trap diplomacy” to compel borrower nations to follow its foreign policy, but investigations have proven that on the contrary, it is Western financial bodies like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund that engage in such practices, which Chinese lenders are comparatively “hands-off” and regularly write off poor nations’ debts.
Aside from Ethiopia, the entire continent fell under the reign of European empires during parts of the 19th and 20th centuries, leading to mass death, the destruction of traditional systems of life, and chronic economic underdevelopment. Since African nations gained independence, most have been forced to maintain neo-colonial relationships with their former colonizers, whose resource extraction has continued unabated.
And the Checkmate…
Putin’s Address Marks Game Over for Kiev’s US & NATO Backers
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial draft mobilization on September 21 and vowed to defend the right of the Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to hold referenda on joining Russia, as the latter continues its special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine.
“Once the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions are integrated in the Russian Federation, the game is over,” said Paolo Raffone, director of the CIPI Foundation, a Brussels-based geopolitical think tank. “In fact, the US president has repeatedly said that his country is not at war with Russia and that he does not want to commit US troops on the ground to fight Russia nor he wants to use non-conventional weapons. Due to the domestic problems in the US, it would be difficult to reverse such an approach at least until the presidential elections in 2024.”
The referenda on joining Russia will be held in the four regions of eastern Ukraine on September 23-27. In a Wednesday address to the nation, Putin drew attention to “the policy of intimidation, terror, and violence” pursued by Kiev against Donbass residents and Ukrainians holding pro-Russian views. This policy has become “more massive, terrible and barbaric,” the president underscored.
The Donbass region has been under Kiev’s attacks since 2014, when a US-backed coup d’état saw the democratically elected president, Victor Yanukovich, ousted by neo-Nazi paramilitary groups. The de facto authorities of Ukraine launched an “anti-terrorist” operation against the pro-Russian population of eastern Ukraine in April 2014. Regardless of the efforts of the Normandy Four, Kiev has rejected the path to reconciliation with its breakaway republics outlined in the Minsk Agreements.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s opposition figures, journalists, politicians, and even children who voiced views contradicting Kiev’s agenda have been routinely placed on the list of “enemies of Ukraine” by the notorious Mirotvorets (“Peacemaker”) website, with some winding up dead. After the beginning of the Russian special operation on February 24, Ukrainian military forces and neo-Nazi battalions stepped up purges against pro-Russian Ukrainians as well as the torture and murder of Russian prisoners of war (POWs).
Putin further underscored that Washington, London and Brussels are openly encouraging Kiev to move the hostilities to Russian territory and even resorting to the nuclear blackmail. The president highlighted that Russia will protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty “by all the systems available to us,” adding that Moscow possesses different types of weapons, some of which are more modern than NATO weapons.
West Up in Arms About Russia’s Move
Putin’s address has been met by (the usual) “formalistic hysteria of the West,” according to Raffone. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the US ambassador in Kiev both claimed that Russia’s partial draft mobilization and the referenda are “signs of weakness.” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that the development is “bad and wrong,” while British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace surmised that Putin’s speech indicated that Ukraine is “winning.” For his part, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Warsaw “cannot agree” with the Russian decision.
No matter how western leaders react to Putin’s speech, it is now clear that any military activity against the regions in question would automatically mean a “war against Russia,” according to Raffone. “This is a strong deterrent that worked already in the case of Crimea,” the think tank director argued. “Should the US or some EU states not understand this point, the escalation of the war is a certitude.”