China Moves to Buy Off Africa - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
China Moves to Buy Off Africa
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In an important article in the American Conservative, researcher John Mac Ghlionn provides further evidence that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is aiming at no less than geopolitical primacy on what Sir Halford Mackinder called the Eurasian-African “World-Island.” Mac Ghlionn’s article, entitled “As the US Slept, China Captured Africa,” shows that China is moving to replace American influence on a continent that has 1.2 billion people with the “youngest population in the world” (70 percent of sub-Saharan Africans are under 30 years old), “is home to an abundance of natural resources,” possesses “65 percent of the world’s arable land,” and has “almost a third of the world’s mineral reserves,” “40 percent of the world’s gold deposits,” and significant natural-gas and oil reserves.

China recently hosted a Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation that “emphasized the importance of deepening cooperation and collaborative efforts between China and Africa.” Mac Ghlionn notes that a recent survey by a South African think-tank indicated that by a 10-point margin Africans believe that China has a more significant influence on their continent than the United States. Just two years ago, that same survey favored the United States over China. A survey researcher opined that former President Donald Trump “resonated with African youth” and “was seen as a powerful, charismatic leader,” whereas Africans’ perception of America as led by President Joe Biden “has changed drastically.”

Mac Ghlionn notes that the CCP plans to waive debts owed by 17 African nations and invest $300 billion more in Africa. “It’s clear,” he writes, “that, in return for generous investments, the CCP demands access to influential military and political personnel, as well as valuable minerals,” such as lithium in Zimbabwe, diamonds in Botswana, and cassiterite in Rwanda.

When observers discuss China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), they focus on the Eurasian component but sometimes leave out the African component. China’s leaders and strategists understand what Mackinder wrote about in his 1919 masterpiece Democratic Ideals and Reality. Mackinder divided the globe geopolitically into “one ocean covering nine-twelfths of the globe; … one continent—the World-Island—covering two-twelfths of the globe; and … many smaller islands … which together cover the remaining one-twelfth.” Strategists and statesmen, Mackinder explained, “must no longer think of Europe apart from Asia and Africa. The Old World has become insular, or in other words a unit, incomparably the largest geographical unit on our globe.” (READ MORE from Francis P. Sempa: China’s New White Paper on Taiwan: We Ignore It at Our Peril)

The combined Eurasian-African landmass, Mackinder noted further, is a “world-promontory” that strategically boasts both insularity and incomparable human and natural resources. He wrote:

What if … the whole World-Island or a large part of it, were at some future time to become a single and united base of sea-power? Would not the other insular bases be outbuilt as regards ships and outmanned as regards seamen? Their fleets would no doubt fight with all the heroism begotten of their histories, but the end would be fated.

Add air power, space power, and cyber power to the equation, and Mackinder’s World-Island concept is updated for the present.

Robert Kaplan, America’s most prominent contemporary geopolitical thinker, has written that, with the melting Arctic Ocean, Mackinder’s concept of the World-Island is a reality of international politics, and China’s BRI, which has both land and maritime components, is designed to extend to all parts of Eurasia-Africa. Add to this the fact of the growing Sino-Russian strategic partnership, and what Mackinder memorably wrote in 1919 could become reality: “Who rules the World-Island commands the World.”

Mac Ghlionn ominously concludes his article with the following warning: “The influence China exerts over the African continent cannot be emphasized enough. Just two years ago, the U.S. was considered Africa’s number-one ally. Today, it has been not just dethroned, but overtaken by its number-one global rival.” Yet another “accomplishment” of the Biden administration.

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