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The Coming Scramble for Africa


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China, and Russia to a degree, are ahead of the game, but the U.S. has the advantage going forward.

In the 19th century, Europe’s great powers were caught up in what historians have dubbed “the scramble for Africa,” as Britain, France, Germany, and Italy competed with one other to establish colonies and control over the so-called Dark Continent — a competition that increased international tensions and ultimately helped to set the stage for the First World War.

Today a new scramble is underway, pitting the United States and China and, to a lesser degree, Russia against one other as they try to coax into their respective camps the new Africa that’s emerging in the 21st century.

At stake are Africa’s rich natural resources, rapidly growing markets, and political and military influence over the planet’s Southern Hemisphere — and a major portion of the world’s population. This scramble will do much to shape the 21st century, just as the earlier scramble shaped the 19th. It will also become a major epicenter for the ongoing competition between the U.S. and China for economic and strategic leadership.

Fortunately, the Trump administration understands the stakes involved. Last week National Security Adviser John Bolton gave a speech unveiling the administration’s new Africa strategy. Unfortunately for the U.S., China has a big lead in this competition, and making up the difference won’t be easy, even though it will have to be a critical part of America’s 21st-century agenda.:snip:




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