Tillerson should reflect on US relations with Africa

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/8 22:53:41

Ahead of his Africa visit, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly slammed China's Africa policy, asserting that Chinese investment "does have the potential to address Africa's infrastructure gap, but its approach has led to mounting debt," "undercuts their (Africa's) sovereignty" and "encourages [its] dependency" on China.

Tillerson is not content with praising Washington's relations with Africa. He insists on defaming China as a way of glorifying Washington. It's pathetic that the US, a major power, has become so unconfident.

To some extent, Tillerson's Africa visit is driven by Sino-African cooperation. Washington has never treated it as an independent continent. But it feels uneasy and anxious if other major powers develop ties with Africa.

The former Soviet Union kept close ties with some African countries in the Cold War era, and this prompted the US to attach more importance to the continent. However, after the end of the Cold War, Washington ignored Africa for more than a decade until it noticed the rapid development of Sino-African cooperation.

China doesn't intend to play geopolitical games in Africa. Chinese respect Africa and view it as an equal partner. Given the high complementarity of the Chinese and African economies, their trade and economic cooperation can meet each other's needs. While the US and Europe wag their fingers at China's investments in Africa, Sino-African cooperation has already leaped forward.

Tillerson should reflect upon Washington's Africa policy. The US is keen on exporting so-called Western democracy to Africa, and a large proportion of its aid to the region is for this purpose.

However, this is often boycotted by Africa. The continent urgently needs better infrastructure and living standards, which the US increasingly cannot deliver. The US shouldn't blame others for that.

China has an open Africa policy. The Chinese government has never publicly criticized the West for its relations with Africa. China reiterates that it is happy to see diverse international partners in Africa.

Only African countries can judge Sino-African ties. Pursuing a policy of mutual benefits, China has contributed mostly to the construction of African infrastructure and yet the US insists that only Washington-built roads can prosper in Africa. Ridiculous.

Washington also points a finger at the China-Latin America relationship. But sour-grape remarks won't impede China's cooperation with either region. In fact, they will only prove perilous to US interests. 

Despite its previous glories, Washington is not the rule-maker anymore and has no right to decide the developmental mode of other players.

Washington should instead try out a few reforms and enhance its global competitiveness. After all, the US likes to think of itself as a can-do, confident nation.

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