Robert Rotberg has a slew of foundation titles, but it is his piece in Canada’s National Post that gets my attention today. It is an excellent analysis of the situation in Africa, where despots across the continent have sold their people down the river for favors and funds from the CCP:
African autocrats absolutely adore China’s President Xi Jinping. At a meeting last month with 13 prominent African leaders in Durban, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea’s hard-fisted President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo led the others in lavishing praise on China. The front page of the weekend China Daily for March 29 trumpeted their obsequieousness and China-Africa friendship.
None of Africa’s despots dare bite the hand that has fed so well, and so consistently. While Chinese support keeps rolling in, these leaders enrich themselves and their inner circles while their people go without.
China directly supports the leaders and enables their continued internal tyrannies by refusing to “interfere” in local politics, by willfully ignoring well-documented trails of human rights violations, by turning a blind eye to egregious corrupt practices, and by protecting presidents such as Zimbabwae’s Robert Mugabe and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir…
That’s just the first few paragraphs. The whole piece goes into exquisite detail as to how the CCP enables Africa’s dictators to run roughshod over their own people – and, in Zimbabwe’s case, make an end-run around the power-sharing deal with the opposition:
In impoverished Angola, one of Africa’s largest producers of petroleum, President José Eduardo dos Santos and the men around him have pocketed $3- or $4-billion a year. One of the three big diamond mining enterprises in Zimbabwe is Chinese, in partnership with the heads of the country’s security apparatus. It, and the other Mugabe-related, firms illicitly transfer diamonds to Dubai and Hong Kong in defiance of officials in the Zimbabwean Treasury (which has been run by a Mugabe rival).
In fact, the only thing missing from Rotberg’s column is the word that best describes the relationship the CCP is having with so many African regimes: colonizer. True, as Rotberg notes, the CCP…
neither desires land (aside from leasing agricultural properties on which to grow food crops for export back to China) nor seeks, as Europeans did, to “civilize” Africans. But it does want access to African oil, African copper, African ferrochrome, African iron ore, and many more minerals. For that overriding mercantile reason, China is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to befriend even the most outrageous African despots, and to help to support them in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
In effect, the tyrants have become CCP viceroys – enriching themselves on their support for their Zhongnanhai benefactors while their people starve and their lands are depleted of natural resources.
Is the relationship as dependent as the Korean colony (a.k.a. “North Korea”)? Perhaps not, but there is no way these regimes can even claim to be truly sovereign, let alone independent-minded and dedicated to the people they tyrannize.
Sadly, Rotberg doesn’t seem to realize that the corruption, decadence, and depravity that comes with the CCP are features, rather than bugs. Still, while he may have the cause wrong, he nails the symptoms.
Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal