Africa must heed Obama’s warning

2013-07-18 00:00

PRESIDENT Barack Obama may have given a tactical answer to the question of China’s trade with the African continent. However, in reality, the U.S. is indeed concerned, and not only about China’s economic incursions into Africa, but also about the return of nationalism among great powers.

“International competition among great powers has returned, with Russia, China, Europe, Japan, India, Iran, the United States and others vying for regional predominance,” says American historian and political commentator Robert Kagan.

These developments will no doubt find South Africans drifting aimlessly, like buoys in the stormy seas of foreign ideologies, their hopes holding on to a weak anchor of make-believe freedom. Thus far, the majority has been turned into political and economic fodder, serving the interests of the economically well-off minority.

Africans and their leaders in particular, have been manipulated by other races and nationalities to pursue causes that are counterproductive and work against their cultures and indigenous pre-colonial value systems. Some emulate the Western values and others the Eastern values. Africans have cast out, like demons, their own historical African personality. In short, our sovereignty and that of the rest of the people of the African continent, is in great jeopardy.

Although it is honourable to uphold international morality and fight for the rights of humanity everywhere, it is hardly prudent to flirt with selfish political doctrines that strive for dominance over all, and by any extreme means possible.

South Africans can ill afford to romanticise anti-American or anti-West sentiments, particularly at a time when the centre of our own freedom is not holding. The idea that the East will bring economic goodies and true emancipation for the African majority is as much an illusion as a developmental state that pins its hopes exclusively on external economies, markets and international trade agreements that have failed to ensure distributive justice, balanced human development, social harmony and equity for the vast majority.

What Obama did not admit to President Jacob Zuma and the rest of us is that the geopolitical and strategic interests of the international powers are converging to shape the African continent for better or worse.

But he went on to advise that, when dealing with foreign trade, South Africa, and the rest of the continent, should ask the right questions and must insist on getting better deals for its own peoples.

In the case of South Africa, the right questions must be predicated on the strong political will to introduce the fundamental reforms and restructuring of South Africa’s current economic system.

• Ben Skosana is a member of parliament, IFP spokesperson on international relations and co-operation and National Assembly house chairperson.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.