2005 March 31 Thursday
Influence Of China Grows In Africa

Western attempts to pressure Zimbabwe's ruler Robert Mugabe are being undermined by China.

In addition, China or its businesses have reportedly:

provided a radio-jamming device for a military base outside the capital, preventing independent stations from balancing state-controlled media during the election campaign;

begun to deliver 12 fighter jets and 100 trucks to Zimbabwe's Army amid a Western arms embargo; and

designed President Robert Mugabe's new 25-bedroom mansion, complete with helipad. The cobalt-blue tiles for its swooping roof, which echoes Beijing's Forbidden City, were a Chinese gift.

China is increasingly making its presence felt on the continent - from building roads in Kenya and Rwanda to increasing trade with Uganda and South Africa. But critics say its involvement in politics could help prop up questionable regimes, like Mr. Mugabe's increasingly autocratic 25-year reign.

China is surpassing the United States as the largest trading partner for an increasing list of nations. The Chinese economy's hunger for oil and natural resources and is going to give countries in the Middle East, Africa, and other regions a major power to turn to for support against the United States and Europe. China is a competing model for less developed countries to aspire to. It is becoming affluent without democracy and with little sign that it will become democratic, let alone a liberal democracy.

China's influence is going to prop up regimes that really deserve to fall. Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe is a poster child for what is wrong with governments in Africa. Though even without China's growing role of supporter of tyrants and bad governments it is unlikely that America and Europe would do much about the quality of governance in the basket case countries of the world. Post-colonial guilt stoked by lefists combined with a reluctance to pay the cost of imperialism leaves the West unwilling to pay to reestablish some form of colonial rule in Africa and other failed states (e.g. Haiti).

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times reports that many people in Zimbabwe wish the white government of Rhodesia could resume rule in Zimbabwe.

The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970's.

"If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we'd do it," said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. "Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job."

Well maybe the Chinese will find ways to effectively rule parts of Africa while pretending not to. Unburdened by guilt or the need for openness and motivated by desire for access to lots of raw materials they might be able to stealthily rule whole countries and take on what may some day be called the yellow man's burden.

Will future superpower China improve the lot of the people living in the more chaotic regions of the world? What do you think?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 March 31 12:42 PM  Chaotic Regions


Comments
ziel said at March 31, 2005 2:19 PM:

Very interesting. Will China, in addition to introducing de-facto colonization of Africa, also re-introduce a de-facto slavery, and use Africans to do work that "Chinese won't do" (for example, very hard labor in very hot conditions). By making relatively small investments to improve sewage and apply DDT the health of Africans could be significantly improvded enough to make them productive workers. They could use their puppet regimes to segregate men and women for extended periods in work camps and vastly reduce the spread of SDTs, particularly AIDS, provided conjugal visits are frequent and controlled enough to dampen homosexual behavior. Almost any wage and any provisions for recreation would be an improvement over current conditions. The puppet regimes themselves would probably be relatively cheap - and the Chinese could effectively control the whole operation merely acting as bureaucrats, doling out choice jobs to the cooperative as needed. Since the whole enterprize would be Marxist in spirit, there's little likelihood of a strong ideological opposition. There might be some tribal resistance, but the Reds have always been good at suppressing that.
I think the potential for China to improve the lot of Africa is strong, as they could get away with things the West could not get away with. But where does that leave us?

crush41 said at March 31, 2005 9:23 PM:

At the end of the article, Kristof writes: "These days, a black racist government is harming the people of Zimbabwe more than ever, and the international community is letting Mr. Mugabe get away with it. Our hypocrisy is costing hundreds of Zimbabwean lives every day."

It's a microcosm of the PC-quota-progressive belief that the male WASP should be unable to say or do anything, and that everyone else should be entitled to say and do on impulse as they please, regardless of the consequences. Of course the media elites, or whatever they should be referred to as, are not going to call a black African ruling over other black Africans a racist even as his virulence is ushering in unbelievable decay. Life expectancy cut in half in fifteen years. They'll just keep identifying the cure to the problem as the cause of the problem itself. Where does it end?

Looking at it from that perspective, it seems that China may very well be better for the decadant nations of the world and simultaneously will make them of more use to the developed countries. Is it better for a wild horse to starve, or for you to tame it and then use it as a pack animal? That sort of analogy would never fly here, but will the Chinese have any problem with it?

Kenelm Digby said at April 1, 2005 1:30 AM:

The Chinese appear to have the gift for clear-thinking and for seeing the World as it actually is, rather than through rose-colored spectacles.
I believe it will only be a very short time before the Chinese ascertain the Negroes real capabilities and character, nevermind the Marxist hype of the "brotherhood of man".

Ned said at April 1, 2005 5:55 AM:

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal said that Chinese inluence was "exploding" into Africa. All the while the US squanders its resources "making the world safe for democracy" for the Arabs and fighting a useless war in Iraq. Even if democracy emerges in the Arab world (by no means a sure bet), these new democratic regimes will almost certainly have an anti-American and anti-Israeli character. Turkey, a real Muslim democracy (but not Arab - the Turks view the Arabs with contempt), is a good example of what this policy has produced. Turkey was once a strong US ally, but not any longer. A similar reaction will probably occur with other new Arab democracies, if they ever emerge. How ironic the the so-called neocons who seem to be running US foreign policy are sowing the seeds of disaster for the two countries they are trying to support - Israel and the US. If I were the Chinese, I would be delighted with US foreign policy in this area. As a sidelight, how tragic it is that even many Africans now view the black thug regimes that are running these countries to be worse than the old once-despised white racist and colonial governments. Not that the Chinese will care at all about the character of the regimes they have to deal with.

Stuka said at April 1, 2005 6:45 AM:

My question is, when can we bring back Rhodesia?

Invisible Scientist said at April 1, 2005 7:50 AM:

China is a manufacturing country, and so needs raw materials from both
Siberia, Africa, Canada, and South America. The United States of America, on the other hand
only exports printed dollars, and this scheme of exporting cash in exhange of manufacturing
goods, seems to work for the moment, because the U.S. dollar still remains the
preferred international currency that raw materials producing countries
accept in exhange for their natural resources. But in the future, if the manufacturing
countries find a way of efficiently bartering their manufactured goods in exchange for
raw materials, then they can immediately bypass the US dollar as the international
transmission mechanism for the exchange of goods and services. I believe this bartering
trend will gradually become more and more viable, and this is a very negative thing for the
United States, unless we also robotize like in Japan. In any case, there will be a lot more
internationel tension in the world because of the new competition.

a said at April 1, 2005 4:17 PM:

> As a sidelight, how tragic it is that even many Africans now view the black thug regimes that are running these countries to be worse than the old once-despised white racist and colonial governments.

What? More like it should be expected because they were much more comfortable, had a richer life etc.

Kenelm Digby said at April 2, 2005 1:49 AM:

As an aside, do people not remember that the Tianemen(?) Square riots, that very nearly fatally weakened the regime of the Chinese communist party, and if the mass movement had succeeded (which it had come with an ace of doing, only the loyalty of the army prevented an ex-Soviet type of outcome),then the course of World history in the 21st century would be incalculably different,were intially sparked off by the outrage of Chinese university students at the bad behavior of Black African students, mostly directed at Chinese womenfolk, at university campuses?

Kenelm Digby said at April 3, 2005 3:39 AM:

Furthermore, in their quest to establish a sphere of influence in Africa, one wonders whether the Chinese ruling elite would ever be foolish enough, in the medium term, to ever countenance the immigration of African Negroes into China, which will be a highly prosperous society by then.
It is very rare for any sophisticated, technological society, governed by the rule of law, to survive the infusion of substantial numbers of African Negroes, on any terms of "equality".

James Oche said at July 27, 2005 12:45 PM:

The tragedy for Africa and Africans is that we have a vile, anti-demoratic Chinese regime propping up vile, autocratic regimes in Africa (such as Zimbabwe's Mugabe) at the same time that ordinary Chinese harbor the most pathological contempt and hatred for black Africans!


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