Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tom Links, I thinks.

Thomas P.M. Barnett links to an article in MSNBC titled “The Next Battlefront.” It’s about Africa, so of course I’m all over it like the Third ID on Baghdad (we must keep our metaphors current).

 Tom comments:

“Pretty good summarizing piece that I'll cite primarily as an example of rising MSM awareness of AFRICOM.”

True as far as that goes. However, the article strikes me as phoned in and formulaic.

I mean, come on:

1.     Associate U.S. with ‘Imperial.’ Check.

“Not surprisingly, the establishment of a major American base in Africa is inspiring new criticism from European and African critics of U.S. imperial overreach.”

You see, U.S. ‘imperial overreach’ is an established fact. Like global warming. So, without running the numbers, we’ll fiat the overreach and queue up the critics.

2.     Unnamed Eurocrat? Check

"If you have soldiers hugging trees and painting hospitals at the same time as they're killing people, the perception of the local populations is going to be altered significantly," says one European official, who spoke to NEWSWEEK on the condition that his identity be kept secret.

O.K. The kid (me) is about tired of listening to certain European ‘officials’ for whom freedom and self determination are second languages. Europe, IMHO, is heading in a direction wholly incompatible with increased liberties and prosperity. Their Bono-Heavy approach to foreign aid while jealously guarding the Common Agricultural and Common Fisheries Policies are, in some part, responsible for the mess Africa is in today (though, consistent with my philostainment approach to life, African’s are at most to blame for their continued acceptance of bad philosophies dressed in worse governments).

3.     Quote an African Leader? Check.

Two weeks ago South Africa's Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota called for a continental ban on Africom and said 14 nations of southern Africa—including South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania—would reject the presence of "foreign forces."

True enough. The article is here, and Minister Lekota did say:

"Africa has to avoid the presence of foreign forces on its soil, particularly if any influx of soldiers might affect relations between sister African countries," Lekota said. 

Minister Lekota also had this to say recently:

Earlier, ANC chairman Mosiuoa Lekota said the continued existence of the tripartite alliance was the only way South Africa would ever become a socialist country.

Seems Minister Lekota doubles down as the Minister of Defense and the Chairman of the ANC. Perfect for indulging flat earth beliefs in the benefits of ‘socialism.’

Unfortunately, Minister Lekota fits in well with the government of Thabo Mbeki. Fortunately, Liberia looks like it’s offering up some turf. Plus side, plenty of beach and a more direct flight for the Strategic Overwatchers of AFRICOM.

Pity South Africa.

4.     Actually contact AFRICOM (they have phones now)? Not on your life.


The Global War on Terror and dirt napping as many Jihadi’s as possible and AFRICOM  are about as related as a violent SWAT action with the Live Action News Chopper is to community policing and Guliani’s Broken Windows Theory. Different ends of the spectrum.

AFRICOM fits in more with a global counterinsurgency (a hazy concept I’m betting will pick up steam in the next few years). It’s part of a response to a developing, or I should say, devolving problem. The rise in this century of Movements and the quick buck, easy answer shamans who lead them. I believe it’s a correct response. Part lethal and part non lethal effects (mustn’t use ‘kintetic’ anymore, no siree), AFRICOM will be headed by a Four Banger, GEN Kip Ward, and his two deputies will be a Four Banger for lethal effects and a Four Banger equivalent (out of State) for non lethal effects.

Olive and the arrow. Great Seal type stuff.

AFRICOM, as I mentioned earlier, will also break with the traditional Staff approach and adopt an effects centric organization. Smart move:

AFRICOM’s will have divisions called outreach, plans and programs, knowledge development, operations and logistics, and resources.

AFRICOM is going to have to go through the storming, norming and forming all organizations pass through. AFRICOM will not be a lineal descendant of CJOA-HOA and the Pan Sahel Initiative, our current jihad bashing initiatives in Africa. AFRICOM will, by the time it reaches IOC, have the benefit of personnel, knowledge and methods in counterinsurgency hard learned in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran (hey, I’m kidding about the last one. Don’t spill your Starbucks).

Let’s face facts. The rate of change in the international system is accelerating. It’s an almost natural response to the entropy that settled in after the welcome demise of the SOVUNION. The nation that innovates the next, best, security arrangement is the one that’s going to set the model for the next few years. Look at it as the dysfunctional Iranian/Hezbollah model on one hand versus the U.S. AFRICOM model on the other with the Chinese, Euro’s and Russians muddling up through the middle.

The gold medal goes to the country that innovates the best, the fastest. And I'll bet on the U.S. any day of the week.

Anyways. My two cents.

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