In Washington last week Winston Peters urged America to involve itself more in the Pacific, in a speech the Prime Minister was apparently unaware of. Referring to Africa, John Bolton outlined what that involvement would mean – American interests first and only. Dangerous with the neocons in charge of the playpen.
Bolton’s speech on Trump’s foreign policy was made at the right wing Heritage Foundation. He said among other things:
Our new foreign assistance strategy will ensure that all U.S. foreign aid, in every corner of the globe, advances U.S. interests. Our goal is to move recipient states toward self-reliance, and prevent long-term dependency.
Structural reforms will likely be critical, including practicing fiscal responsibility, promoting fair and reciprocal trade, deregulating economies, and supporting the private sector.
In addition, we should target resources toward areas where we have the most impact to ensure efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Countries that repeatedly vote against the United States in international forums, or take action counter to U.S. interests, should not receive generous American foreign aid.
He makes no bones about the fact that advancing American interests means countering Russia and China.
Great power competitors, namely China and Russia, are rapidly expanding their financial and political influence across Africa. They are deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States.
Pepe Escobar summarises the options for Africa in his piece “It’s Africa’s choice: AFRICOM or the New Silk Roads” – US military bases or Chinese infrastructure investment. He quotes a speech from Xi Jinping:
Apart from letting the numbers speak for themselves, Xi deftly counter-punched the current, massive BRI demonization campaign: “Only the people of China and Africa have the right to comment on whether China-Africa cooperation is doing well … No one should deny the significant achievement of China-Africa cooperation based on their assumptions and speculation.”
And once again Xi felt the need to stress the factor that does seduce, Africa-wide – Chinese non-politicization of investments, and Chinese non-interference in the internal affairs of African nations.
So far America’s involvement in the Pacific has been a major military base in northern Australia and an unwelcome proposal to build another in one of Papua New Guinea’s offshore islands.
Militarisation of the Pacific is the last thing we need. In my opinion Winston Peters should not be pushing his own agenda on our behalf.