Closing Thought–03Sep21

Some days you learn of some special person that is their part to protect the wildlife of this planet….this is one such report…..

The internet is awash with photos of wealthy holidaymakers and criminals posing alongside the heads of elephants and rhinos.

But US military veteran Kinessa Johnson spent years battling gangs of poachers in Africa, working as part of a team trying desperately to protect the world’s most endangered species.

Following her military career, she signed up to the Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife (VETPAW) as an anti-poaching advisor.

She had previously worked as a weapons instructor and mechanic during a tour of Afghanistan.

https://www.ladbible.com/news/news-female-army-veteran-hunted-down-poachers-to-protect-endangered-species-20210826

A great vet…she has my vote for person of the year….it is great to see a vet getting involved in the protection of endangered species and hold poachers to task…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Thou Shall Not Deal With China

The war hawks are revving up their misinformation machine against China (the new enemy we must fear) and the nation has been expanding their influence around the world to include Africa…..and that expansion worries the US and plays into the hands of the war hawks.

The new SecState has issued a warning to Africa….

Secretary of State Antony cautioned Africa about China’s role in the continent in virtual talks with Nigeria and Kenya on Tuesday.

Responding to questions, Blinken said he hoped African countries would keep their “eyes wide open” when approaching relationships with other nations.

“We’re not asking anyone to choose between the United States or China, but I would encourage you to ask those tough questions, to dig beneath the surface, to demand transparency, and to make informed choices about what is best for you and your countries,” he said.

Beijing is involved in infrastructure projects across Africa, which the US views as a threat to American influence. President Biden has floated the idea of the US and its allies starting a global infrastructure project to rival China’s, which is known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

Biden has portrayed the US-China relationship as an ideological battle between “democracy” and “autocracy.” With this view in mind, it’s no wonder the US aims to compete with China in every theater it can.

China is also being used to justify domestic infrastructure projects. President Biden cited the need to compete with Beijing as the reason to pass his massive $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

(antiwar.com)

That sounded like a ‘veiled threat’ to me….a threat is a threat regardless of the wording.

Let me see China is offering to build roads and other infrastructure projects to help the economy of ma nation and the US offers up special ops soldiers and armament.

Looks like China is winning more friends than the US.

Here’s a thought…maybe the US should find an alternative to armed conflict…look beyond the profit margins of the M-IC and offer the other nations ways to benefit the people and not the dictators and autocrats that ‘run’ most of these countries.

I know I am one voice in the wilderness against the M-IC and its aims of destruction and profit…I have been since 1972 and will remain so until I am gone.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

More Good News From Trump?

Yes I know I have been a critic of Trump since he took office….but I have also stated that I approve of his attempts to end our endless wars……and now he has made another statement that I can support….( I shall qualify that shortly)…..

He is attempting to bring home the troops from Afghanistan and Iraq….and moving some out of Germany…..

Pres. Trump wants to bring our troops home from Somalia…..Somalia?  Think Blackhawk Down…..

Bloomberg published a story on Wednesday that cited anonymous sources who said President Trump is looking to withdraw hundreds of US troops from Somalia, a war the administration has significantly escalated since 2017.

The sources said the Pentagon has begun drafting plans for the president, and discussions have involved Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the US currently has 700 troops in Somalia. Mostly special forces who train Somalia’s army. Most of these troops were sent to the African country by President Trump, according to the Bloomberg story.

The US is engaged in Somalia as part of its war against the militant group al-Shabab. In 2017, President Trump loosened the rules of engagement for the drone war and his administration has dropped a record number of bombs on Somalia.

In 2019, the US conducted 63 airstrikes in Somalia, the most in a single year. The first seven months of 2020 saw more US airstrikes in Somalia than were conducted during both the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, combined.

The war in Somalia is extremely underreported, and it is tough to know how damaging it has been to the civilians on the ground. US Africa Command usually claims its airstrikes only kill militants and only occasionally have to admit to civilian deaths if there is enough outcry.

(antiwar.com)

Now is this just election posturing or is he serious?

He has made promises before an election that he has not carried forward once he was placed in the seat of power for the United States.

So I ask again….can we trust him to do what he says?

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Reparations? No Thanks!

Here in the US with all the protests for racial equality there have been some that are calling for reparations to be paid to black ancestors of slaves…..

Of course they use the fact that the US has paid reparations to Japanese-Americans for their treatment during World War Two….

But this post is about something other than US slavery…I know hard to believe that there is something more important than the events in the US….but amazingly there is……and it is the history of Africa and the region unknown in the day as German Southwest Africa.

German South-West Africa, or present-day Namibia, was a colony of the German Empire from 1884 until 1915, when it was occupied by South African forces fighting on the side of Great Britain in World War I. The brief history of the colony was marked by a series of insurrections by the Khoekhoe and Hereros against German rule, insurrections that the authorities suppressed with extraordinary harshness. The German ambition was to populate the colony with large numbers of settlers from Germany, much as the British had done in other parts of Africa. By 1914 more than 9,000 German settlers were living in the colony, but the dry climate and lack of water was a limiting factor on further settlement and expansion. Theodor Rehbock was a noted German hydraulic engineer who was asked by a local syndicate to study the colony’s water resources and their potential use in irrigation projects. Rehbock visited German South-West Africa in 1896-97 and produced this analysis of its economics, geology, climatology, and hydrology. His work contains detailed maps, tables, and plans for water projects. It remains a valuable resource for the study of the history of Namibia.

A little more historical perspective…..

In 1884, German chancellor Otto von Bismarck convened a meeting of European powers known as the Berlin Conference. Though the conference determined the future of an entire continent, not a single black African was invited to participate. Bismarck declared South-West Africa a German colony suitable not only for trade but for European settlement. Belgium’s King Leopold, meanwhile seized the Congo, and France claimed control of West Africa.

The German flag soon became a beacon for thousands of colonists in southern Africa—and a symbol of fear for local tribes, who had lived there for millennia. Missionaries were followed by merchants, who were followed by soldiers. The settlers asserted their control by seizing watering holes, which were crucial in the parched desert. As colonists trickled inland, local wealth—in the form of minerals, cattle, and agriculture—trickled out

Indigenous people didn’t accept all this willingly. Some German merchants did trade peacefully with locals. But like Belgians in the Congo and the British in Australia, the official German policy was to seize territory that Europeans considered empty, when it most definitely was not. There were 13 tribes living in Namibia, of which two of the most powerful were the Nama and the Herero. (Kaunatjike is Herero.)

Germans were tolerated partly because they seemed willing to involve themselves as intermediaries between warring local tribes. But in practice, their treaties were dubious, and when self-interest benefitted the Germans, they stood by idly. The German colonial governor at the turn of the 20th century, Theodor Leutwein, was pleased as local leadership began to splinter. According to Dutch historian Jan-Bart Gewald, for instance, Leutwein gladly offered military support to controversial chiefs, because violence and land seizure among Africans worked to his advantage. These are all tactics familiar to students of United States history, where European colonists decimated and dispossessed indigenous populations.

(Smithsonian Magazine)

If you would like more info then this site may be of some assistance…..https://www.sahistory.org.za/place/namibia

Now that we have set the stage….Germany has offered reparations for the ills foisted upon the natives…..and Namibia has declined the offer……

Namibian President Hage Geingob on Tuesday turned down Germany’s offer of €10 million ($11.7 million) in reparations for the genocide committed by the German Empire at the start of the 20th century.

“The current offer for reparations made by the German government remains an outstanding issue and is not acceptable to the Namibian government,” Geingob said in a statement after a briefing on the status of negotiations. He added that the government’s special envoy, Zed Ngavirue, would continue to negotiate for a “revised offer.”

Geingob also took exception to Germany’s use of the term “healing the wounds” in place of the word reparations, saying the terminology would be debated further.

No apology so far

The two countries began negotiating an agreement in 2015 that would see Germany give an official apology and development aid as compensation for the killing of tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people by German occupiers in 1904-1908.

https://www.dw.com/en/namibia-germany-reparations/a-54535589

Maybe an apology would make things go better…..

Just a thought.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Africa, The Land That Time Forgot

There is a line in the movie “Sahara” that perfectly describes the West’s view of Africa…..”It’s Africa….No one cares about Africa”…..

There is so much more going on in Africa that the news just glazes over if they mention it at all……Westerners do not realize how much we depend on Africa on so many levels…..oil…..minerals…..produce…..and yet we know very little about the countries or the people…..

I tried to help my readers out……https://lobotero.com/2019/01/11/africa-loves-china/

Few in the West knows just how much China is spending in Africa to control resources…….

A central element of palace diplomacy is lavishing African rulers with personal benefits, such as grand new workplaces that serve little purpose other than to curry favor with recipient governments. In a recently published report — which so irked the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs that its spokesman attacked it during a press conference — I explain how I found that since 1966, Chinese companies have built or renovated at least 186 African government buildings, including 24 offices or residences of heads of state. Of the 70 buildings for which I found financing information, the Chinese government or a Chinese company financed all but three, and Beijing partially or fully subsidized the construction costs for at least 45 of the 70 buildings.

African rulers do business with Beijing not only out of self-interest, of course. The continent needs wise infrastructure development, and China is sometimes the only willing lender. Certain cheap Chinese products, particularly technology such as smart phones, are hugely popular with African consumers, and Chinese firms have built most of the continent’s 3G and 4G telecoms networks. There is also a sense of developing world solidarity and the attendant mistrust of the developed world that accounts for some of the warmth in the official China-Africa relationship.

China’s Palace Diplomacy in Africa

China is using their money and expertise as their foreign policies for Africa….as opposed to the US that thinks the military path will win them more friends…..https://lobotero.com/2020/01/24/us-troops-in-west-africa/

While China is building infrastructure the US is building a strong counter-terrorism programs….this in my opinion does little to make more friends….drones killing civilians has a way to turning the population off…..

But we keep doing the same things over and over….

This successful counterterrorism operation highlights the invaluable role that the United States currently plays in helping its allies in West Africa battle al-Qaeda and the Islamic State’s fierce terrorist campaign that last year alone killed over 4,000 civilians and soldiers.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/06/24/west_africa_and_us_strategy_115408.html

(This article is by a pro military and pro M-IC site)

I believe that our ingenuity would go further to win over hearts and minds than drone attacks.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

What The Hell Is NATO Doing?

I have written many times that NATO is nothing more than an arm of a new form of imperialism……this organization is not needed any longer….but the news around it illustrates just how dangerous this organization has become…..

The US is trying to rid itself of the burden of Africa……and would use NATO to do its bidding….

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has already been on the record stating that NATO allies would likely support joining France’s counterinsurgency effort, Operation Barkhane in the Sahel, which includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. The conflict, which started in 2014, has proved to be the bloodiest in recent French history. An existing EU counterinsurgency mission in the Sahel has already involved a number of NATO members, including the U.K., Spain, Denmark, and Estonia, and while the U.S. has long played a limited and supporting role to this operation, the death of four U.S. special forces soldiers in a gun battle in Niger in 2017 brought the issue to domestic attention.

Yet, this renewed interest is about more than just terrorism.

https://thedispatch.com/p/is-nato-preparing-for-a-new-mission

It appears the new front for NATO and the confrontation with Russia and China is the Arctic……but could any confrontations become more than a minor incident?

The FONOP in the Barents Sea represents the first time in 40 years that NATO warships have stepped into Russia’s front yard. It’s also the first time in 20 years that U.S. spy subs have been given a mission of this importance in the region, with the potential to start a shooting war should anything go wrong. Hopefully history will not repeat, and no ships or submarines will be lost in this head to head challenge. More importantly, if another tragedy should occur, we can only hope that it will not escalate into World War III.

https://www.militarytimes.com/opinion/commentary/2020/05/11/are-nato-warships-about-to-start-world-war-iii-in-the-arctic/

What started as a 20th century security institution has evolved into a major arms supplier and conflict instigator.

Time for NATO to go ahead and let something more in line with the 21st century take its place….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Why Should We Stay In Africa?

The Covid-19 has given me more to write about and I have been ignoring my writings on international relations and conflicts…..I will try to do better…..starting with the US involvement in Africa.

For years now the US has been involved in the issues and situations in Africa…..but out counter-terrorism policies have proved to be as worthless as the counting of sand grains.

We are heavily invested in the Sahel…..but is it worth the investment?

Since 9/11 the United States has significantly scaled up its counterterrorism (CT) activities in Africa. The U.S. has conducted unilateral CT operations as well as extensive training for African partner forces involved in the CT fight. Despite this long counterterrorism campaign the growth of jihadist groups continues in Somalia, north Africa, and west Africa. Many of the violent extremist organizations (VEOs) are aligned with either al-Qa’ida or the Islamic State.

U.S. Counterterrorism in Africa

That gives a semi rosy view but the truth is not so rosy or successful…..

President Trump provoked a furor when he declared his intent to withdraw some 1,400 US troops from West Africa, where he claimed they had quelled the terrorist threat. He sparked a similar firestorm when he announced that the U.S. would (eventually) pull 14,000 troops from Afghanistan, where they were engaged in an 18-year conflict against other violent extremists.

Critics included congressional Democrats, Republican stalwarts, and members of the U.S. military, intelligence, and diplomatic establishments, as well mainstream media pundits, international allies, and even some political progressives.

Establishment figures claimed that the battle against violent extremism was far from over and that U.S. military leadership was critical to victory. They pointed to ongoing insurgencies in the African countries of Mali and Nigeria in the Western Sahel and Somalia and Sudan in the Horn. Other progressives countered that U.S. policies have been ill-conceived and counterproductive — and that foreign military intervention has exacerbated the crises

Lessons From Africa: Military Intervention Fails to Counter Terrorism

It is time for the US to step back from the Sahel and let someone else do the heavy lifting……we have enough on our budgetary plate and a little relief would go a long way to easing the deficit.

Further Reading:

https://lobotero.com/2020/03/11/us-in-the-sahel/

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Covid-19 And Africa

I have several visitors from Africa….from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Tunisia and many others……. and I do not want them to feel as I am slighting their fight with this pandemic…..plus I have been negligent with my postings on international situations…especially this killer disease….I shall attempt to rectify my oversight…..

There has been word that this virus has been slow to advance across Africa….but that could not be a good thing in the long run……

In late March an anonymous doctor in a New York hospital told CNN that he was working in “Third World” conditions, with patients coming in so fast, and so gravely incapacited, that he and his colleagues would soon be overwhelmed. “Third World” is strong language, with an antique ring to it—a memory of the 1980s, when late-night TV ads regularly featured pleas for charity accompanied by images of skeletal, fly-bitten African children barefoot in the dirt outside their huts. It was a generation’s cliché of misery. That’s us now—or it will be soon, the New York doctor’s comparison implied, if we don’t control the spread of this disease.

But the comparison invites a question. If America is now Africa, what is Africa? Africa is much better off than it was 30 years ago, but even today, most of the world’s extremely poor live on that continent, and its health-care systems are (with a few exceptions) a wreck. COVID-19 has been slow to arrive in Africa, or at least has been slow to be detected there. But the wave is coming. “Our health systems cannot absorb additional shocks,” Simon Antara, of the African Field Epidemiology Network, told me from his office in Kampala, Uganda. “We are preparing for disaster.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/why-covid-might-hit-african-nations-hardest/609760/

According to WHO Africa has moved beyond to preparedness to response…….

The global community is racing to slow down and eventually halt the spread of COVID-19, a pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives and sickened tens of thousands of others. In Africa, the virus has spread to dozens of countries within weeks. Governments and health authorities across the continent are striving to limit widespread infections.

Since the start of the outbreak the World Health Organization (WHO) has been supporting African governments with early detection by providing thousands of COVID-19 testing kits to countries, training dozens of health workers and strengthening surveillance in communities. Forty-seven countries in the WHO African region can now test for COVID-19. At the start of the outbreak only two could do so.

WHO has issued guidance to countries, which is regularly updated to take into account the evolving situation. The guidelines include measures such as quarantine, repatriations of citizens and preparedness at workplaces. The Organization is also working with a network of experts to coordinate regional surveillance efforts, epidemiology, modelling, diagnostics, clinical care and treatment, and other ways to identify, manage the disease and limit widespread transmission.

https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus-covid-19

I promise to do better and try to bring information as I get it about the spread of this virus….to all parts of the global.

Thank you for your visits…..be well and be safe……

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

US In The Sahel

The Sahel?  That is Africa in case you were dashing for the Google button.

Image result for sahel

For years now the US has been in the region assisting local governments in their efforts to fight the specter of growing terrorism.

What got me thinking about our involvement in the Sahel was the announcement of a special envoy….

The United States has created a special envoy for Africa’s Sahel region, a State Department spokesman said on Friday, to counter rising violence from groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State which are expanding their foothold.

Envoy Peter Pham, started his new role earlier this week, the spokesman said. He has been serving as U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa since November 2018.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-sahel/u-s-creates-new-envoy-position-to-counter-rising-terrorism-in-sahel-idUSKBN20T2ZJ

But are US troops necessary?

A Review of the necessity for US troops in the region is on-going…..

Facing skepticism from members of Congress about plans to alter force posture in Africa, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told members of the House Armed Services Committee that he remains committed to keeping U.S. forces on the continent.

“There are no plans to completely withdraw all forces from Africa,” Esper said Wednesday.

As part of a broader review of the force structure for the combatant commands, Esper has been considering moving forces out of U.S. Africa Command’s area of operations. Reports emerged at the end of 2019 that the department was looking at removing several hundred forces from Niger, Chad and Mali.

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2020/02/26/heres-what-espers-africom-review-has-decided-so-far/

Why do we continue to fight and die in this region?  I mean our so-called NATO allies are there as well then why not let them handle the hard lift in Africa?

For Washington’s foreign policy establishment, no nation is too unimportant to be considered vital to America’s security. No territory is too insignificant for the United States to dominate. No spot on earth is too distant to station an American soldier. How else to judge the hysterical criticism of the Trump administration’s proposed military drawdown in Africa?

Despite the fiscal crisis, strategic overreach, endless war, and political division, “the Blob,” as Washington’s foreign policy community is known, refuses to consider a world where Uncle Sam does not treat every region and nation as his personal sphere of interest. Washington is determined to protect more than a score of rich allies in Europe, multiple wealthy clients in Asia, and a gaggle of Middle Eastern nations.

Roughly seven thousand American personnel are stationed across Africa, primarily in Djibouti, Niger, and Somalia. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is considering rebalancing U.S. defense resources, shifting toward containment—not that he has used that word—of China and Russia. To advance that process, last fall the Pentagon asked each regional command for its resource needs. Explained Esper: “We’ve begun a review process where I’m looking at every theater, understanding what the requirements are that we set out for, making sure we’re as efficient as possible with our forces.”

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/americas-africa-enigma-why-us-troops-are-taking-unnecessary-risks-126031

Personally I say end this deployment of US troops…..we already have enough war in other spots why make a new one?

As the United States sensibly backs its military out of Afghanistan and considers drawing down the remaining 5,000 American troops in Iraq, it is time to review the expanded U.S. military presence in West and East Africa (~7,000 troops), particularly counterterror operations. Such a review was announced by Secretary of Defense Mike Esper in December 2019.

Our African deployments were practically invisible until October 2017, when four American soldiers died in an ambush in Niger. Suddenly Americans — including at least one U.S. Senator — realized that the U.S. military was in Africa getting the U.S. into deeper and deeper trouble.

It is time to pull back these forces. They reflect a militarization of U.S. foreign policy that has accelerated since 2001. Claims to the contrary, the military does not do these operations particularly well and there is growing evidence that they are counterproductive, generating more terrorists than they eliminate and exacerbating instability. They do nothing to counter Chinese or Russian influence in Africa, despite claims that they do. The threat they target is not a vital U.S. interest. In sum, by militarizing U.S. engagement in Africa, security assistance, training, and operations are harming U.S. security interests.

The U.S. military should end its counterterror operations in Africa

Time to end at least one armed conflict….I am sure that we will find another to replace the profits for the M-IC.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–09Jan20

Blood Diamonds!

How many people know what they are and why they are illegal?

AS usual the Old Professor can help.

Diamonds are supposed to be symbols of love, commitment, and joyful new beginnings. But for many people in diamond-rich countries, these sparkling stones are more a curse than a blessing. Too often, the world’s diamond mines produce not only diamonds – but also civil wars, violence, worker exploitation, environmental degradation, and unspeakable human suffering.

Not long ago, the public started to become aware that large numbers of diamonds are mined in violent and inhumane settings. Consumers are now demanding, with ever greater urgency, that their diamonds be untouched by bloodshed and human rights abuses. So far, however, the diamond industry’s response has been woefully inadequate. Diamonds with violent histories are still being mined and allowed to enter the diamond supply, where they become indistinguishable from other gems. Violence and injustice remain an everyday aspect of diamond mining.

https://www.brilliantearth.com/conflict-diamond-trade/

I bring this up because Russia is proposing loosening the rules around “blood diamonds”….

Russia is proposing to move toward ending the ban on selling so-called blood diamonds from the Central African Republic, a former French colony that’s struck recent military and commercial ties with Moscow, amid resistance from the U.S. and Europe.

The CAR, which is mired in civil conflict, should be granted a “road map” outlining the steps it needs to take to get the suspension of diamond sales lifted, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said in an interview in Moscow.

“We need to ensure that illicitly traded diamonds move to the legal marketplace, bringing income for people and taxes for the state,” Moiseev said. “The situation in CAR isn’t getting any better, and we can’t delay this any more.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-15/russia-seeks-to-lift-ban-on-blood-diamonds-from-african-ally

Wassup with this proposal?

These diamonds prop up governments and pay for wars and killings…….why would Russia want to lessen the law and make the activities more numerous?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”