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I was hoping that someone here who knows something about politics in Africa could confirm, deny, or otherwise comment on this story from The Mail. There has been some discussion of it on digg, but I'd like to hear from someone who knows more about the situation.

The article claims that "750,000 Chinese have settled in Africa over the past decade" in a concerted effort to strip the continent of all natural wealth, to gain near-exclusive access to its markets, and to use it as overflow space to accomodate Chinese people and pollution.

The article has many alarming claims, like the following:

Massive dams are being built, flooding nature reserves. The land is scarred with giant Chinese mines, with 'slave' labourers paid less than £1 a day to extract ore and minerals.

Pristine forests are being destroyed, with China taking up to 70 per cent of all timber from Africa.  


Indeed, the 77-ton arms shipment would have been small beer - a fraction of China's help to Mugabe. He already has high-tech, Chinese-built helicopter gunships and fighter jets to use against his people.

Ever since the U.S. and Britain imposed sanctions in 2003, Mugabe has courted the Chinese, offering mining concessions for arms and currency. ...

According to one veteran diplomat: 'China is easier to do business with because it doesn't care about human rights in Africa - just as it doesn't care about them in its own country. All the Chinese care about is money.'

That last passage made the most lasting impression on me: It is clear that China now has the resources to circumvent any embargo that the West will impose - essentially opening up an exclusive business opportunity for Chinese manufacturers. And I'm sure this is effective as a business strategy:  Sell without regard to the human cost, plunder without regard to the environmental cost. The West is not prepared to do this, but allegedly, China is.

So I'm wondering two things: One is whether this is true, or whether it's inflated and out of context. The second is this: If this is true, what can be done about it?

Originally posted to lump1 on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:03 AM PDT.


In 30 years the geopolitical situation will be as follows:

8%7 votes
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| 86 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Question about your poll (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, beemerr, wondering if

    good or bad for who exactly?

  •  Pay rates (5+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't call it slave labor when you have to beat them off with a stick to keep them in line to sign up for a chance at a job.
    Africa is poor. They want jobs. Any jobs. They would love to get access to your garbage cans to recycle the aluminum and glass and steel and wood and fabrics. No shit.
    We ship used clothes to Africa and they repair the holes and wear them.
    Africa is poor.

  •  Yes, China govt supports Sudanese govt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, lump1, Geronimoot

    and China is training Sudanese pilots, etc

    This was from 7/14 by NYTimes' Nick Kristof

    On 7/17 by NYTimes' Nick Kristof

    BBC has been doing a lot of reporting as well on this.

    •  China knows their Metternich (3+ / 0-)

      They know their history, and ours.  Especially European masters of Real Politic like Metternich and Bismarck.

      I think the Chinese are used to thinking in terms of morality and foreign policy.  It's a strange idea to them, and the leaders of the Party in particular aren't raised or trained to look at the world that way.  So much so that they genuinely get sandbagged by Western public opinion.  They don't understand it, and they don't tend to take it into account in their decisions.

      This can change, and hopefully it will change in the case of Sudan.  I'm guessing that no matter what we do, though, that Tibet not benefit from this.  The Chinese have a very long sense of their own history, and they consider Tibet to be part of China.  They are not going to leave it, no matter what people in Europe or the US say about it.

      "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

      by mbayrob on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:33:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, no! (9+ / 0-)

    All the Chinese care about is money.

    They're Republicans!

    Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

    by SoCalHobbit on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:11:57 AM PDT

  •  All I can say... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, beemerr

    Colonizing Africa?  Come on China, get with it, that's SOOOOOO 19th century.

    Recovering Intellectual. 12 days stupid.

    by scionkirk on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:12:04 AM PDT

  •  When World Bank and IMF meddle (7+ / 0-)

    with African countries' affairs to grant them loans... and there come China, giving them all the money they want without condition. China wins.

    PUMA: Perverse Undemocratic McCain Adherents

    by lizardbox on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:15:10 AM PDT

  •  Taking over is a bit strong (7+ / 0-)

    The Chinese have a deep sense of their own history, and I think many of them see the last 150 years of Western domination as an anomaly, something that will pass with time.

    But for now, I think their foreign policy works at many levels to expand Chinese "soft" power -- in particular, economic power.  China's foreign aid policy should be seen in this context.  This is not just happening in Africa, but also in South America.  They are more willing to led aid to developing countries than the US is (the US is pretty stingy with its foreign aid budget), and they are investing in these relationships for the long run.

    I'm sure the Chinese believe that US dominance will pass soon enough (given Bush's fuck ups, it's passing even faster), and they want to be in the position to step in as the US falters.

    I'm not inclined to blame the Chinese for this.  But the US needs to get its act together, or we're all in for some nasty surprises, and sooner than you might think.

    "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

    by mbayrob on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:25:36 AM PDT

    •  Good comment! So "get its act together" - how? (2+ / 0-)

      What's the right way for us to conduct foreign policy in a situation like this? I mean sure, we need to start balancing our budget and stuff, but that won't directly address a situation like this.

      Because we won't plunder Africa and arm dictators, we are at a business disadvantage to anyone who can. Of course we shouldn't even consider going back on those principles. But does that leave us with a hand to play in Africa, if we don't like the trajectory of the situation there?

      I mean, if China is willing to prop up dictators who give them sweet mining contracts and exclusive market access, that not only perpetuates dictatorships; it encourages more. It must also be difficult to resist an offer to trade mining rights for fighter jets to crush a long-time foe - so this also encourages war.

      And is there a policy that can mitigate this sort of damage, or do we simply have to watch from the sidelines?

      •  Who is sovereign in the United States (6+ / 0-)

        The people, or the corporations?

        It's a real good question, because the the folks who run and control our multinationals are undermining the finances and legitimacy of our government, and they are delegitimizing the government for most of the country's people, who are not benefiting from the economy or from the government.  Transnational corporations are true rivals to the national governments of the West, and it matters very little to them in the long run if the political leaders they buy off are in Beijing rather than in Washington.

        We need to get control of the country back, and we need to get the country's finances in order.  We will be in competition (hopefully peaceful) with the Chinese for the foreseeable future.  But without a greater degree of financial independence, we will decline relative to China sooner rather than later.

        "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

        by mbayrob on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 01:44:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We can't do a thing....Isn't Pat CBN Robertson (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, Odysseus, Euroliberal, Dianna

        still diamond mining down there in the South African region?  Aren't our own coal companies still chopping off mountain tops, throwing slag into streams?  Have not Nigerian oil production been typical "greed" based,  and unrewarding for the citizenry?

        Kyoto was the opportunity, to show the world 8 years of progress, but our auto industry was thinking short term, our banks were busy in the commission heavy re-financing biz, and President Total Failure's war strategy was for Americans to use the credit cards to keep the economy going.

        The Beacon on the Hill was extinguished by not leading by example via the Kyoto protocol.

        •  Yeah, that's a good point (3+ / 0-)

          If you are saying that it's not just China that's cynically plundering Africa without any regard for human rights, I sadly agree. We've been at that game much longer than they have.

          It may also be that I'm suffering from a delusion that the dirty deals made by US companies are less dirty than the Chinese "arm Mugabe in exchange for ore" deal. Also, our amoral investment in Africa seems less systematic somehow than the Chinese policy as described in the article.

          I wonder if there has been enough to plunder in Africa that US and Chinese companies don't get in each others' way for the time being. But if that's so, that time will soon pass. And it looks like China is stacking the deck for that inevitable competition through being more systematic and even more amoral than we are prepared to be.

      •  "We won't plunder Africa" (7+ / 0-)

        you're assuming we haven't.

        We have.  Propped up dictators too.  Which the Africans will happily tell you. Maybe not as directly. But US corporations operate in Africa, under our protection. Especially in countries with mineral wealth.

        The Chinese are simply competing with us.  From the African perspective, Competition Is A Good Thing.

        "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

        by mbayrob on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 02:10:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How did Pat Robertson get a Diamond Mine in (2+ / 0-)


        Good Christian values?

        A discussion on exploiting Africa requires honesty. Pretending China is the only one exploiting Africa is ignoring a big part of the Africa problem that needs to be solved.

        Political Expediency: Its The New Black!

        by BentLiberal on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 02:23:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's how China does it. (8+ / 0-)

        Let's take the island of Dominica as an example (it's not Africa, but it's happening in the Carribean too).

        China takes a look at Dominica and thinks "hmm, these guys are struggling to bring in tourists because they have no decent airport and few high grade hotels."

        China says to Dominica, "Hey Dominica, how about we build you some hotels and a nice big shiny airport - on us!"

        Dominica says, "Dude, what's the catch?"

        China says, "No catch. We'll give you the airport, you let us surround it with hotels, everyone's a winner."

        Dominica says, "Hey, we could use some new roads too..."

        China says, "Sure. We do roads. Can we have a mine in return?"

        Meanwhile, the US says, "We're going to pay you less for your bananas this year than we did last year, because fuck you. We own your ass. Don't give us any of your sass, bitches."

        Dominica thinks, "You know, these Chinese guys are alright."

        Fool me once, I'll punch you in the fucking head.

        by HollywoodOz on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 02:32:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This Is A very New Found Attitude (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Odysseus, BentLiberal


        "Because we won't plunder Africa and arm dictators,..."

        When did these activities stop, and if they did stop why will "we" not do it again?

        •  It changes things when others joined in the game. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If the question regarding Africa was "to exploit or not to exploit" the answer would have been simple.

          But I think that the question is different. When we have a player in the game that is as hungry as China is to exploit Africa, it's really hard to know what our policy should be. Seriously, this discussion seems to be steering clear of even addressing that hard question.

          •  Nationalism (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Chi, Odysseus, mbayrob

            The simple answer is of course "exploit, exploit, exploit"; our previous depredations and proxy-wars there (at least post WW2) were ostensively about countering Soviet (and in a handful of cases Cuban)influence.  All that is old, is new again.
            Before that there were other "good" reasons to exploit.  There always are.
            Call me "not a team player" or an "America hater," but we have rival empires, and I would like to see them both restrained, rather than in competition.  How to go about that, is of course the $64,000 question; so I not so eagerly await a President Obama or McCain push to once again wage as many wars as possible over resources and territory not firmly under the control of one side or another.

            •  Wanting to see empires restrained... (0+ / 0-)

              I totally agree. I also want empires restrained, including our own. Putting it this way is also great because it's clear from the first glance that it's an empty wish. What does one do to restrain empires? It's different from asking about how one restrains some specific empire. Osama bin Laden is making some headway against ours, but if we go down, China is ready to take our place. How to restrain imperialism - I suppose that's what my question ultimately boils down to. Maybe the answer is simply that you don't. Or maybe you can chip away at it through spreading awareness, public pressure, etc.

              •  Since It Is an Empty Wish.... :-) (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                One avenue is international institutions.  Of course IIs are comprised of States using them to advance their own goals---but it creates an infrastructure of non-state legitimacy too ("Well, the UN says...").
                Another are NGO's---Again, no formal power, or armed forces, but they do act to blunt the power of nations(Well, the red Cross/Oxfam says...")
                Another is international solidarity and labor unions--not so healthy at the moment, but this moment won't last forever.
                Finally-Even greater interpenetration of "nation based" capital.  Of course this was the situation before WW1, but the world has moved on quite a bit since then, and will contimue to do so.

                But really, I think that you have hit on the head here what the above are trying to accomplish:
                "Or maybe you can chip away at it through spreading awareness, public pressure, etc."
                The normative values and things people believe are instrumental in how States act, and how non-state actors act with regard to States.  It is not so pie in the sky to see how people's changing attitudes box in the range of choices that can be made, that are even thinkable.
                I am not suggesting that this is a fast way to One WorldGov and harmony, it isn't; but we have only had the sovereign state system for maybe 500 years.  Change happens; even structural change.

                Ps---Why do people never "worry" about India (who has a lot of hi-tech industry and nukes)? What is the fascination with China? Is it some psychological residue from the Cold War?  The imagery of the "yellow horde"?  Please help.

                •  India doesn't have the history (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  India spent 500 years fragmented, or under foreign domination.  I don't think it's in their mind set to be more than a regional power.  I also think that the Indian political culture is a bit more "internally focused".  This isn't surprising, since India is a much more heterogeneous, culturally and linguistically diverse place than China, which is so heavily dominated by a single ethnic group (the Han), and a single written language with a very ancient place in the culture.  India is like all of Europe under a single government.  But China is truly a unitary state.

                  The Chinese, also, see themselves as part of a state and culture around which the world revolves (it's the "Middle Country", you know -- the center of the world).  The Party sees itself as a continuation of that history.  From this point of view, Western domination is an anomaly.  Even foreign domination in general (although China has a long history of that too -- the Qing were foreigners).

                  So the problem of much of 20th century Chinese history was the perception that China's means did not suffice to support China's "true place in the world".

                  This is now changing.  And for the Chinese, an expansion of Chinese power internationally is both just and normal.

                  "If another country builds a better car, we buy it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. If they have better healthcare . . . what's our problem? "

                  by mbayrob on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 04:21:19 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I BuyThis To Some Extent (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    But US plicy makesrs havn't been particularly sophisticated about the internal dynamics of nations as it relates to their foreign affairs; and in the "Realist" view it isn't even clear that internal dynamics actually matter for foreign policy (I don't believe this, but it isn't totally out of the mainstream).
                    I still think that the difference is largely influenced by the the legacy of the Cole War.

          •  That's because (0+ / 0-)

            your focus is so narrow

            Seriously, this discussion seems to be steering clear of even addressing that hard question.

            Your whole diary premise is about China. You leave out so much about what's actually going on there, that people are trying to straighten you out and get you to address the whole problem.

            Political Expediency: Its The New Black!

            by BentLiberal on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 04:21:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  One can only dream-if the US had embraced (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fairy Tale

      Kyoto in 2001-irregardless of India and China, how red-faced embarrassed China would be with the upcoming Olympics-the air quality and algae blooms in stark reality checks, for all the world to see.

      But our lack of any sort of "plan" is also allowing others to pass us by. e.g.g Australia is locking up long term sugar cane contracts for future ethanol production, while our corporations stay geared up to sell profitable SUV's and politicians stay in Big Sugar/Big Oils pockets.

      •  Maybe, but that's sort of beside the point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm not sure what the Kyoto protocols have to do with Africa. Oil will be worth plundering no matter what environmental regulations we accept, and anyway, China wasn't going to burden itself with a binding Kyoto pledge.

        They know how history works, that to industrialize you have to pollute, and that you can only clean up that pollution one you've come out of the other end of industrial modernization. China is still far from that, but it wasn't long ago that rivers in the US and Europe used to catch on fire. This is just the natural progress of modern Capitalism. China too will clean up, though because of their sheer size, the mess they will have will be bigger than any in history.

        And because I think they see this in context, they aren't too embarrassed about it.

        •  Kyoto symbolized a "we are one world" in the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          pollution front, unity might stir innovation.  Then it could be expanded to Fair Trade for agriculture, unionization for labor.  There has to be a "first step", and the pollution was the biggie, the one that affected everybody.

          Alas, I was born in '56, so can take NO blame for US policy not following the advise of Eisenhower, re: the danger of allowing the military/industrial complex to drive our relations with the rest of the world.

          If we had been using tractors and irrigation systems as foreign aid, rather than arming our dictators to confront their dictators.

          If only....

  •  China (0+ / 0-)

    China are taking africa for all they can, and will dump the continent when they have everything they want.

    Dont forget chinese arms where on their way to Zimbabwe, but stopped in South Africa and they vetoed a un resolution on zimbabwe

    •  Africa, the "sweatshop continent" of the future (2+ / 0-)

      I suspect that China does not want to dump Africa when they stripped all their natural wealth.

      I've been thinking about this from my Marxist perspective and it seems to me that the history of corporate capitalism requires a "sweatshop stage" - which Britain went through in the late 19th century, and the US a few decades later. Labor conditions a lot like sweatshops vaulted Japan into a technological capitalism, and when Japanese sweatshops no longer made economic sense, they were moved to Korea. Now that Korea is one of the richest countries in the world, the sweatshops moved to China and Southeast Asia, which are rapidly industrializing and moving their manufacturing "upmarket" much like Korea did decades ago.

      Now, China's population is so huge that they will have enough labor power to run sweatshops for a while, but they are aggressively moving upmarket, which means that soon, their workers will be too expensive and the sweatshops will have to move again. And we know where this ends:

      In Africa.

      And I would bet that China has its eye on the African population as low-cost workers in China-owned and Chinese-managed sweatshops. Call it the third wave of outsourcing. I think the Chinese see this coming and they want to be there to skim off the top when Africa finally becomes the sweatshop continent. And I think that it inevitably will.

      •  Note S. America's rejection of this model (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        not entirely, granted, but more and more Latin American nations are taking control of their natural resources and tweaking the noses of the World Bank.

        •  Sort of; we'll see if it works (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          viscerality, wondering if

          You're right about this to a certain extent. I mean, the sheer amount of clothing with "Made in Peru" (or Brazil or Ecuador) on the tag makes me think that they have almost their fair share of sweatshops too.

          But my point was that the sweatshop manufacturing stage has been the depressing precursor that precedes the development of a robust, modern middle class. That social transformation does not emerge from working banana or coffee or coca plantations.

          I totally agree that the population of South America are much more empowered than populations of other developing countries. It's no wonder that they want to skip past the humiliating and disgusting sweatshop stage. Who knows, maybe they can do it. But history does not have many examples of this.

          Stalinism forced the Soviets into a no-holds-barred industrialization, which was just as dirty and even more inhumane than the Western counterpart. That's a pretty unpalatable model too. And leftist governments in South America don't seem eager to adopt it. So the question remains how the industrialization of their countries is going to happen.

          Anyway, the people of Africa are simply much less empowered than their counterparts in South America, which makes Africa a perfect place for massive sweatshop production in the future.

  •  China... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi happily treating Africa the same way Europeans treated it for centuries.

  •  Brit. Paper complaining about exploiting Africa? (5+ / 0-)

    Ha ha!

    Colonialism, History, doomed, repeat, etc

    Political Expediency: Its The New Black!

    by BentLiberal on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 02:00:32 AM PDT

  •  Namibia too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First stop on a recent BBC documentary travelling the Line of the Tropic of Capricorn was the west African state (and former German colony) of Namibia:

    Following an amazing encounter with a pack of hungry cheetahs and a French conservationist nicknamed "Catman", Simon arrives in the capital Windhoek, where he meets prostitutes infected with HIV (Namibia has one of the highest infection rates in the world) and witnesses at first hand the growing influence of China in Africa.

    As I recall they had set up a Chinese language university and were heavily involved in mineral exploitation there. It's a deliberate policy plain to anybody who cares to look.

  •  what's the western MSM (5+ / 0-)

    worried about? that it's the chinese, and not their pals in business and government, exploiting african resources this time? to the average african, the sanctimonious propaganda being run in western circles nowadays don't mean a thing. europe stole from and destroyed africa for five hundred years, and all the time, they called it "civilization" and "christian charity" (anybody remember the leopolds, the cecil rhodes, and the rest of them? grab hoschild's "king leopold's ghost," or even bertrand russell's earlier stuff on the congo "free state" etc)

    yes, so it's deeply hypocritical for the west to be talking today about chinese colonization in africa. at worst, the chinese ain't doing nothing that the west haven't done worse...and at best, they are actually contributing capital and investment to the african continent whereas your prototypical western (neo)colonial venture is all about mass exploitation and taking away to build in the west while paying lip service to the needs of africans.

    •  No, I think this sort of passivity is immoral. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't see how our previous sins in Africa somehow make the present sins against Africans any less sinful. Are you really suggesting that the Chinese now have moral carte blanche to do as they please in Africa, just because we have?

      It's like saying "hey, she's been gang-raped already, so it's OK for Tom to have a go."

      •  previous? PREVIOUS? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, viscerality

        You think US interests have all left Africa? You think western interests have all left Africa?

        Is Pat Robertson's diamond mine helping out poor Africans?

        This point-at-the-Chinese thing would work better if you took off the blinders.

        Political Expediency: Its The New Black!

        by BentLiberal on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 02:37:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So we're doing it too. That wasn't the question. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I posted this diary with the question about what we should be doing. Deciding to unilaterally stop this sort of exploitation is one answer, but is it the right answer?

          Doesn't it just leave us walking away from mines that the Chinese will happily reopen? I'm not looking to point fingers. I'm genuinely perplexed about what I should be for. If you read my comments, you'll see that I have strong views on many things, and I'm comfortable like that.

          But here's something important where I really don't have any idea of what is the right policy to support. That bothers me. And this the point that we're all guilty in this does not help in pointing me towards the answer to my question.

          •  Pres.TotalFailure has reduced us to Paper Tiger (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mbayrob, Euroliberal

            Burma/Zimbabwe/Lebanon/Darfur- Condi Rice can admonish all she wants, but what are we gonna do about it?  

            Sanctions, thats the whole policy......

            Didn't work with Havana, won't work in a global economy.

            Allowing our multi-nationals to set up shop in the Caymans and now Dubai makes THEM less regulated to further the hypocrisies.

            We just built the biggest embassy in the history of mankind in Baghdad, on the backs of pressed subcontracted labor.  A sterling example.

            •  Sanctions from us are exactly what China wants (0+ / 0-)

              If we impose sanctions, that basically removes China's biggest competitor in Africa. They'll still get to buy gunships and fighter jets and whatever else China is willing to sell them.

              However, even when we were at the top of our game, I don't think there would have been much we could do. In the cold war, if the Soviets started pulling shenanigans like this, we'd threaten to tit-for-tat start trouble on their turf, which could lead to an escalation that both sides wanted to avoid. So this sort of stuff was kept in check to some degree. But now those buffering mechanisms aren't there, and the value of the treasure to be gained has grown by a lot. Maybe this is just a consequence of the fact that the market is, on a global level, completely unregulated.

          •  what "we" should doing is write letters to (0+ / 0-)

            the MSM media to stop making the noise about the chinese who, if anything, are just commiting a fraction of the economic crimes that western groups are STILL commiting in Africa today. and what 'we" should be doing is to be in the forefront of helping bring about real justice. There are so many indigenous groups fighting for rights and justice in Africa who I see being labelled "terrorists" here in the Western press. After all, on the ocassion of Mandela's 90th birthday, it might be rewarding to remember that he ceased being a "terrorist" in America only a couple of weeks ago! And there are millions of Mandela-type "terrorists" whose only crime is that they are fighting for social justice in Africa!

            •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

              You want to be writing letters telling the MSM to report even less on foreign affairs? That's your solution to the issue of exploitation in Africa? Sorry, I was looking for something better.

              •  where did i say they should report less? (0+ / 0-)

                in case you did not read my implication, what i meant was that if they are interested in reporting wanton exploitation of african resources, they should do so in an even handed manner. nobody who knows anything about africa is interested in the hypocritical bursts of concern over china, precisely because what the chinese are doing is only a small fraction of the rape that is going on in africa? you want me to tell you something? i lived for 28 years in africa, and i can tell you a thing or two about who ordinary africans are really worried about!

          •  Question in Diary Title? (0+ / 0-)

            China taking over Africa: Is this true?

            The problem is, your question is too narrow.

            Your pretense: Oh no, China's ripping off Africa, what do we do?

            When someone tries to point out China isn't the only one, you don't want to hear it?

            Don't ask questions if you don't want to hear answers.

            Political Expediency: Its The New Black!

            by BentLiberal on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 03:13:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agreed that China is not alone in this, but... (0+ / 0-)

              I am pretending that we live in a sort of democracy in which we can exert influence on our leaders so that they practice wise policies. So pretend with me for a little bit.

              What policy towards Africa should we be pursuing?

              Or rather, what policy towards Africa should we be encouraging our leaders to pursue? To this question, I don't have an answer. If you think you've provided one, or said anything helpful to providing one, please tell me.

              On reading your comments again, I now think that maybe you did provide an answer which was: Meh, let's not worry about this. Am I right?

              •  More like, let's not trivialize this (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                and pretend, like your diary does, that China is the only problem in Africa.

                Political Expediency: Its The New Black!

                by BentLiberal on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 03:27:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  ugh, repeating myself is frustrating (0+ / 0-)

                  For the fifth time: I never said nor implied that China is alone in expoiting Africa, and I explicitly said this many times now. If all you care about is where to point fingers, the answer is: In many directions. OK, but now what?

                  What is to be done?

                  For the n'th time, I wanted to explore this question and you keep sidetracking the discussion with the "who's to blame" red herring (which is nowhere disputed)!

      •  previous sins would be overstating the matter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        because the west is still neck-deep in exploiting and messing up africa, with the help of local, puppet leadership classes, of course. what they are worried about is the competition coming from the chinese. you see, they complain about red army guards in zimbabwe. why is no one mentioning french troops in gabon, cote d'ivoire, cameroun, central african republic, chad, etc etc? why is no one mentioning the british, the americans, the portuguese, etc etc strewn all over the continent and master-minding a systematic rape. again, it is a question of blinders: if only people could take the log out of their eyes, perhaps they would see the situation better!

  •  It's hard to meet Chinese in Africa (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but it's because of their separation, not that they're not there. They are out for their own interests, of course, but the hysterical tone of the article you quote owes more to the author's assumption that the Africans can't run their own continent, and therefore someone else will wind up running it. If not the West then the Chinese.

    The African political reality is a little more complex. The Chinese say they won't interfere in the internal politics of African politics, but that is naive at best. Simply by being there they intervene in the sense of advancing the interests of some African groups at the expense of others.

    The real question is whether the African leaders will take advantage of the competition between China and the West to get the best deal they can to develop Africa I fear that without seriously striving to unite Africa it will be impossible for Africa to become anything but a source of raw materials for the outside world.

  •  The author asks "what is the solution" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Euroliberal, lump1, wondering if

    and the Jeffersonian model is to build up a strong agrarian based middle class first.

    That we have allowed ADM/ConAgra/Monsanto to corrupt the model, or Pepsi to buy up water rights in India, or not allow cotton/coffee growers enough of a standard of living to improve the next generation with adjoining schools and hospitals.....

    That is the solution, export John Deere's instead of Bradley Tanks, develop a super efficient flatbed truck to transport foods/trade goods on rough roads instead of propping up dictators with Phantom fighter jets.

    •  i.e. the Botwana model (with lazy wiki link) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MarkC, Euroliberal

      Since independence, Botswana has had one of the fastest growth rates in per capita income in the world.[2] Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $16,450 in 2007.[3] Economic growth averaged over 9% per year from 1966 to 1999. The government has maintained a sound fiscal policy, despite consecutive budget deficits in 2002 and 2003, and a negligible level of foreign debt. It earned the highest sovereign credit rating in Africa and has stockpiled foreign exchange reserves (over $7 billion in 2005/2006) amounting to almost two and a half years of current imports. Botswana's impressive economic record has been built on the foundation of wisely using revenue generated from diamond mining to fuel economic development through prudent fiscal policies and a cautious foreign policy. Debswana, the largest diamond mining company operating in Botswana, is 50% owned by the government and generates about half of all government revenues. In 2007, significant quantities of Uranium were discovered, and mining is projected to begin by 2010. Several international mining corporations have prospected in Botswana for diamonds, gold, uranium, copper, and even oil, many coming back with positive results.

      •  Interesting! Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think they key issue in Botswana is that the money from mining seems to actually reach the people, probably because the mines are partially owned by the government. But there are many other sources of wealth in Africa which will not be mined in this way.

        It might even be right to say that foreign investors are doing their best to prevent another Botswana (and you should not forget that it is very much an exception in Africa), to make sure that no Botswana happens again - that all the wealth from African resources leaves Africa.

      •  They're going to need all that $. AIDS has (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        decimated the rural population.

        I have an irrational faith in reason.

        by the fan man on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 03:50:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you! This is the sort of thing I meant. (0+ / 0-)

      Now the only question is: Will it work?

      Is it really possible to turn an agrarian economy into a society with a robust middle class? And if we try, won't wars fought with imported weapons only undo all our work? I'm not criticizing your comment, because I don't have a better answer than the one you gave. But I'm keenly aware of how much easier it is to bomb a hospital than it is to build one - and how difficult it is to maintain an honest government when the rewards and temptations of corruption are as great as they are in Africa.

      Basically, if you can strongarm your way into power in an African country, it seems that foreign sources are all too willing to flood you with money, weapons, infrastructure, and anything else you need to keep your dictatorship unchallenged. And it seems that it is now within China's power to do all of these things on its own, and they're not shy about doing it.

      That's what I find interesting in this article. It's not that Africa is now suddenly being exploited, and China is doing it. It's that the process of its exploitation is in an important way beyond our sphere of influence. Or is it?

      •  China is doing it because WE invigorated their (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Euroliberal, BentLiberal

        economy in our quest for cheap consumer goods.

        Now that they have a growing middle class, they have to look elsewhere for an even cheap supply of labor/raw material production.

        The Sam Walton model took over T.Jefferson one, assisted by our professional political class, not the amateur part-time legislators envisioned by the founding fathers.

    • true n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "It takes two to lie. One to lie, one to hear it." Homer Simpson

      by Euroliberal on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 04:21:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What??? Did we run out of democracy bullets? (4+ / 0-)

    All the Chinese are interested in is money?????
    Sounds like bushco redux to me. Pot meeting kettle and calling names.

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 03:14:02 AM PDT

  •  guān wǒ diǎo shì, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    wǒ chū lái mǎi jiàn
    I don’t give a fuck, I’m just here to buy soy sauce.

    A motorbike has got two wheels and handlebars to steer it, you sit astride, its fun to ride, and everyone can hear it.

    by qi motuoche on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 03:21:28 AM PDT

  •  Economic Imperialism (0+ / 0-)

    China has nouveau imperialism, it was isolationist and self sufficient for thousands of years. The west has tended to use bombs amd military power to exploit through recent centuries.

    What is interesting is that the west has bombed, killed, blown up and and left until the exploitation has been completed, think Africa or Vietnam as an example..The Chinese have so many people to export, they move in, intermarry and take over and thus exploit often from within. Vancouver has a very large Chinese and Indian immigrant population.

    By the second and third generation, they are us, albeit with an abiding sense of Chinese culture and where they came from.

    They are one quarter of the world's population and it isn't surprising at all that they would exploit the worlds resources. They do it in a generally less brutal manner by using their greatest asset, people. And we haven't even discussed India, the sleeping giant.

    The more things change the more they remain the same, humans are so predictable.

    Think Tank. "A place where people are paid to think by the makers of tanks" Naomi Klein.

    by ohcanada on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 03:44:13 AM PDT

    •  Okay (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Tolerance has its limits:

      They do it in a generally less brutal manner by using their greatest asset, people.

      The comma makes your statement ambiguous, but come on, China is a brutal dictatorship.  They do not hold elections, they repress dissent and, in general, the government is filled to the brim with bureaucratic assholes.  Great, they've embraced exploitive capitalism.  That sounds like the faint praise of our own neoliberals.  

      China is at LEAST as bad as Western powers.  

      •  Internal/External (0+ / 0-)

        I think that you are confusing these two concepts.  Alec82, whether or not I agree with him, is talking about Chinese imperialism; and you are talking about domestic politics.  Let the arguement rage as to their relationship, but it isn't as simple as the "Democratic Peace" crap circulating in the earlt 00's.

      •  Agree (0+ / 0-)

        BUT...they integrate, they don't kill everyone and then leave. The result is that they overwhelm, a little less expoitive than say..Iraq where hundreds of thousands are killed en masse for oil.

        Think Tank. "A place where people are paid to think by the makers of tanks" Naomi Klein.

        by ohcanada on Sat Jul 19, 2008 at 08:45:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Brutal Dictatorship" (0+ / 0-)

          My comment was meant only to point out that there may not be an easy correalation between "democratic" domestic politics or "Dictatorships" and the way that Empires treat the subjugated nations.  I thought I could help you two talk about the same thing, but that didn't work out.

  •  Im not convinced (0+ / 0-)

    China can get their stuff together anytime soon.

    They have over a billion people, well over.

    Combine that with their huge size and their still elements of communism and backwardness on tech and a great amount of their energy will still be focused internally 20-30 years from now.

    I think Russia is more likely to be the country that forms the counter to our weight.

    An outside shot that maybe a country like Brazil, if they find more oil but they've never been very interested in world power.

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