The global strategy of the White House is at present aimed at achieving a number of interrelated objectives. Most important among these are: avoiding further curtailment of the sphere of imperialist domination; ensuring the survival of capitalism; maintaining US hegemony in those areas of the developing world that have considerable economic and strategic importance; preventing the spread of socialist ideas, and discrediting socialism as a system. The achievement of these aims requires the use of appropriate ways and means which include subverting detente, stepping up the arms race, extending the sphere of influence of the aggressive NATO bloc beyond the borders of Europe, encouraging anti-Sovietism and anti-communism, intimidating others with the mythical "Soviet threat" and creating strongholds for the Pentagon in the former colonies.
An evaluation of Africa's place in this strategy must take account of certain fundamental factors. First, the African continent has become a focal point in the struggle waged by the forces of national liberation against racism, apartheid and neocolo-nial exploitation. Secondly, the role of the African countries in the world-and they now form one-third of the members of the United Nations-has significantly risen. The once obedient "voting machine" that the US could always count on in world forums now no longer exists. Thirdly, and particularly since the fuel, energy, and raw-material crises of the 1970s, there has been a sharp increase in the interest of the transnational corporations in the rich natural resources of the African continent. Finally, perhaps the most important point, the social and political changes that have occurred in Africa have come into sharp contradiction with the long-term plans of the United States and the other imperialist powers. Their hopes to subvert the strengthening of national independence and socio-economic liberation among the African countries have not been realised, and the path of socialist orientation on the continent is finding increasing recognition.
It is in Africa that the most serious setbacks to neocolonial-ist policy have occurred. Despite furious imperialist resistance the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique attained independence, and the Ethiopian monarchy was toppled. In these countries, which have set themselves the goal of building a socialist society, deep social and economic transformations have occurred. In Zimbabwe too, neocolonialist plans for forming a puppet regime collapsed and the wave of liberation has rolled right to the borders of the racist South.
The position of the United States in Africa has been notably shaken too by its invidious role in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Israeli aggression against the Lebanon. The separate deal that was concluded with Washington's aid between Egypt and Israel during the Sadat period served to make the Arab Republic of Egypt into a US stronghold and led to the isolation of Egypt in the Arab world and a sharp cooling in its relations with all the independent African countries.
In these conditions Washington's policy in the African continent is diametrically opposed to the genuine interests of the African peoples.
This policy was further illustrated by the Secretary of State George Shultz's speech on the US and Africa in the 1980s made to members of the Boston Council on Foreign Relations in mid-February 1984. He said that the African continent was becoming ever more important to the US by force of three main factors. First, the US now has greater geopolitical interest in ensuring the security of that continent. Second, Africa is a key supplier of raw materials resources and, third, it is necessary to the US from the political point of view because the African countries form the most united bloc in the UN vote.
As you see, Shultz said nothing fundamentally new but merely reiterated the imperial claims of the White House, this time to the entire continent. At the same time this pronouncement by Shultz makes it abundantly clear that the main aim of the US in Africa is to keep the liberated countries within the world capitalist system as dependent clients, increase its exploitation of their natural resources and set up military bases and other military strongholds on their territory.
This main goal is formed of a number of individual objectives. In the sphere of politics the objective is to make the younger states follow in the wake of imperialist policy and set them on a confrontation course with the USSR and other countries of the socialist community. In the sphere of economics the objective is to establish control over the economic development ol these countries and ensure a free access to their natural resources. In ideology the objective is to foist ,anti-communism and an-ti-Sovietism on them as their dominant world view and encourage wherever possible reactionary, nationalist tendencies. In the military sphere the objective is in one way or another to tie them to the imperialist military machine; while in culture the objective is to replace national, traditional values by bourgeois, Western adopted models.
Ultimately US global strategy as applied to Africa is primarily concerned to impede in any way whatsoever the development and deepening of the revolutionary process on the continent and the progressive social-economic transformations.
However, given the correlation of forces that exists in the world today, imperialism is forced to conceal its policies, plans and actions. And this is particularly true of the United States, which has consistently tried to represent the struggle for independence and social progress as the result of "intrigues and machinations from Moscow".
The bourgeois mass media tries to distort and discredit the foreign policy of the Soviet Union and make it sound as if the USSR has aggressive intentions abroad.
The Reagan administration is only rehashing the old songs in a new key when in dealing with the Africans it constantly brings up such slanderous fabrications and myths as the existence of a "Soviet threat" to Africa. As for "international terror-ism"-it is the term used by the White House to describe the national liberation movement. The revolutionary changes that actually have taken place in the former colonies are presented as being the result of "outside interference", or to be more precise, "communist plottings", which the United States claims it will stand up against in Africa.
But what is this "Soviet threat" to Africa which the White House loves to refer to? The Soviet Union is, of course, not looking for any special privileges on the African continent and is certainly not trying to gain any political or economic domination, nor is it after setting up military bases or winning concessions. The USSR builds its relations with the liberated countries on an equal and mutually beneficial basis. The diversity of aid offered by the USSR to the developing countries has no political strings attached. The idea of a "Soviet threat" is a myth which imperialism needs to mask its own aggressive policies in Africa and disguise that undeclared war which the United States is now waging on the African continent against the forces of progress and national liberation. The myth is also needed to prevent the liberated countries from coming into close contact with the socialist states.
As for "international terrorism", this slanderous label which has been stuck to the national liberation movement does not withstand even the most elementary criticism. It is a label, however, that is necessary to the White House to distract world attention from the real international terrorists-the South African racists, the Israeli Zionists, the fascist juntas in Chile, El Salvador, and Honduras, and other similar regimes, all of which are friends and allies of the United States. As even The Christian Science Monitor admitted, the rhetoric on "international terrorism" means in fact "putting 'human rights' aside and being willing to do foreign policy business with a military or any other kind of dictatorship so long as it is 'on our side' ".(1) In this context it should be noted that the regimes in South Africa and Israel have been officially declared "terrorist" by the Organisation of African Unity.
Apart from these myths the United States makes use of two theses in its African policy. One states that Africa has become a "confrontation zone" between the United States and the Soviet Union. This thesis also will not withstand criticism. To maintain it means to fail to understand the social and class nature of the socialist state and the laws which determine its domestic and foreign policies. Ultimately it means to disregard or to fail to recognise the real facts that have characterised international relations maintained by the USSR and other socialist countries. Furthermore, to assert such a thesis means to fail to realise that the African peoples are no longer the passive objects of someone else's policy. Of course, turning to the ideological struggle of two social systems-socialist and capitalist-we should say that the Soviet Union does not hide the fact that it supports the progressive forces on the African continent and the national liberation movements, and aids the victims of aggression, and this it does, furthermore, at the request of their legal governments and in full accord with the norms of international law. Finally, on the basis of the belief that revolutions cannot be exported, it categorically opposes the export of counterrevolution on the African continent or elsewhere. Thus the United States in Africa is not in confrontation with the Soviet Union, but with the laws of historical development and with the peoples of Africa that are fighting for genuine equality in international affairs and for the right to determine their own destinies and to be masters in their own house.
The second thesis relates to "US vital interest zones". These zones have been designated by the White House in various parts of the world. They include countries that possess large reserves of fuel and mineral wealth or that are placed in geographically strategic positions, as well as stretches of the World Ocean through which important trade routes pass. This thesis clearly demonstrates the imperial ambitions of the White House and the blatant hegemonism of the United States and gives rise to sharp protests from public opinion throughout the world.
In recent years the "vital interest zone" thesis has assumed a dominant position in the political lexicon of official Washington. Furthermore, it has spread to the African continent itself. The speeches of many of the Reagan administration representatives, as, for example, in the speech by George Shultz in Boston, as well as documents and publications have stated that Africa has acquired increasing importance for the United States for both economic and strategic reasons and that the White House intends to strengthen its ties with the African countries. There are authoritative explanations of what lies behind these plans. Thus the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research issued a publication entitled Grand Strategy for the 1980s. One of the articles, written by General Maxwell D. Taylor, formerly US Chief of Staff and President of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, spoke directly of the "growing appreciation" on the part of the United States, "of the future economic importance of the natural resources of the region" (i.e., Africa). This, of course, was not due to concern for the interests of the African countries, but to fear of a "most important new factor contributing to the inadequacy of our military power-a growing national dependence on imports".
Further on Taylor states that as a consequence of population growth and the depletion of natural resources the US must provide for an "endless stream of imports of raw materials, mostly from Third World countries".(2) Thus by declaring various parts of Africa as "vital interest zones" the White House is primarily ensuring the US military-industrial complex unimpeded access to sources of raw materials.
The unrestrained arms race and the growing global expansion of American imperialism require the consumption of increasingly vast material resources, including raw materials, and the lion's share of these goes to the war industry and therefore does nothing to maintain the living standards of the people.
In the above-mentioned article General Taylor complains that the maintenance of access to markets in Sub-Saharan Africa might pose serious problems depending upon "local conditions".
The United States would like to maintain and even increase its exploitation of the peoples of the African continent. To this end, as Taylor's article states, it intends to "assist" the Africans in solving their problems, and even "help" friendly countries. These intentions clearly conceal plans for direct US military intervention into the affairs of the African countries. An analysis of US policy in Africa shows that it is aimed at preventing further liberation revolutions on the continent, since their success seriously undermines the position of the American monopolies.
In his book entitled Republique Imperiale. Les Etats-Utiis dans le monde, the well-known French political commentator Raymond Aron notes that in following the "containment" and "rolling back" doctrines in relation to the African, Middle East, and Latin American countries the US government has brought the logic of imperial diplomacy, i.e., imperialist intervention, to the ultimate end, to maintain, even against the wishes of the population, a government that is "well-disposed" towards the institutions and ideologies of the United States.(3) Aron clearly underestimated the imperial ambitions of the United States, for they have now taken on a global character. The new boss of the White House, Ronald Reagan, has proclaimed a crusade against the national liberation movements, the forces of progress, the Soviet Union, socialism, communism, and all sober-minded bourgeois circles in the capitalist world. As was noted in a TASS declaration of February 17, 1983, the crusade proclaimed by the US President against communism has in fact become a crusade against all those who do not agree with the policy of diktat and arbitrariness forced on them by Washington (4).
The imperialist claims to world domination are accompanied by an unrestrained accumulation of destructive weaponry, and the material preparations for war. Attempts are made to justify the need to use military force for the solution of foreign political disputes.
This policy is justified by inventing such ideas as the "Soviet military threat" and the "hand of Moscow" which imply the obvious need to defend US "vital interest zones" and the so-called free world. At the same time force is used against the developing countries. Thus mercenary soldiers are used to defeat the patriots of Nicaragua and El Salvador, and South African racists to carry out subversion against the "frontline states". Military provocation is carried out against Libya, and, in the clearest example of all, the Israelis with US backing launched unprecedented aggression against the Lebanon in the summer of 1982, practising genocide against the Arab people of Palestine and threatening the Syrian border.
The war hysteria in the White House, which stems from the very nature of imperialism, is further increased today by economic difficulties, attempts to get out of the crisis and the desire of American monopoly capital to increase its profits. At the same time a whole set of arguments has been brought forward to justify the unprecedented growth of military spending. Thus the arms manufacturers who accrue billions of dollars for the production of new weapons assert that their aim is only to provide work for millions of Americans, thus making it almost appear that the arms race is for the good of the people. In this way, the squandering of vast amounts of material and human resources and the concomitant disproportion and ultimately crisis situations this produces in the economy are virtually presented as a social boon. The danger lies in the fact that many supporters of militarism in Washington evidently believe seriously in the possibility of overcoming economic crises through the implementation of major military programmes. This is a grave error.
Military preparations never made for a healthy economy. The gigantic growth of military spending (from 1982 to 1986 it is planned to spend 1.5 trillion dollars), as American reality has shown, has done nothing to reduce the number of the unemployed and has only served to increase and deepen inflation. Furthermore, it has engendered new structural crises in the economy and led to a sharp reduction in spending on social needs and aid to the developing countries.
And as US armaments continue to increase military doctrines also change. Thus the Pentagon strategists have gradually gone over from the concepts of "one and a half wars" (a great war in Europe and a small war somewhere else), "two and a half wars" (a great war in Europe and the Far East and a small war somewhere else) and "four wars" (great wars in Europe, the Far East, the Middle East, and Asia) to the concept of "geographical escalation". This means that the armed forces of the United States must be ready to undertake military action not only in Europe but anywhere else on the globe that "tihe enemies" may appear, for example, Africa. Plans are also formed for what is called the preventative occupation (i.e., occupation that would forestall large-scale military action) of those developing countries which are of potential strategic interest. Thus any African country, should the Pentagon deem it necessary to include it in a future theatre of war, could become the object of imperialist aggression.
A particular danger for the developing countries comes from the fact that the imperialist powers have set up numerous military bases on their territories. At present the United States has, for example, in Africa and adjacent areas 26 such bases (seven in Turkey, five in Egypt, three in Oman, two in Somalia, four in Kenya, two in Saudi Arabia, two in Bahrein, and one on the island of Diego Garcia).(5) The imperialist policy of continued military presence overseas has long been condemned by history. And it is hardly surprising that once liberated from colonial domination the young states have immediately demanded an end to the military bases of their former colonisers.
As the CPSU Central Committee Report to the 26th Party Congress put it, "Imperialist circles think in terms of domination and compulsion in relation to other states and peoples." (6) Hence the policy of subverting detente, aggravating international tension, and breaking agreements and treaties. But, of course, military strategy depends on political objectives. Thus increased aggressiveness in US foreign policy is increasingly threatening the whole cause of peace.
Today the areas of imperialist domination and the spheres of its influence are being considerably reduced. Irrespective of class religious, national or other differences the peoples of the world are actively struggling to do away with the danger of war on any scale. The anti-war movement on all continents is gathering insurmountable force. And the struggle for peace is in-solubly bound up with the struggle that is being waged by the liberated countries for a New International Economic Order on the basis of equality and justice, and for economic independence and social progress.
(1) The Christian Science Monitor, 9 February 1981.
(2) Grand Strategy for the 1980s. Ed. by Bruce Palmer, Jr., American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, 1978, pp. 3-17.
(3) Raymond Aron, Republique Imperiale. Les Etats-Unis dam le monde, 1945-1972, Calmann-Levy, Paris, 1973.
(4) Pravda, 18 February 1983.
(5) Whence the Threat to Peace, Military Publishing House, Moscow, 1982, pp. 26-27.
(6) Documents and Resolutions. The z6tb Congress of the CPSU, p. 28.
Translated from the Russian
Designed by Oleg Grebenyuk
Белый дом и черный континент
На английском языке
Group of Authors: An. A. Gromyko (Editor's Note);
Ye. A. Tarabrin (Ch. I, III, Conclusion); V. P. Kasatkin (Ch. II
IX); V. Ya. Lebedev (Ch. IV); A. Yu. Urnov (Ch V)-
V. S. Baskin (Ch. VI); A. V. Prudnikov (Ch. VII)-
M. L. Vishnevsky (Ch. VIII)
Издательство "Прогресс", 1984.
English translation. Progress Publishers 1984
Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
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