The focus of this essay is to identify and discuss the top Chinese and American interests in Africa and to answer whether these interests are compatible or competitive. With the use of categories as stated by Stolberg, the essay will look at the different interests that the Chinese and the Americans have in Africa. This will focus on the intensity of such interests as to whether they are compatible or are only for competitive purposes. Therefore the essay shall focus on the Chinese African strategy as well as the U.S African strategy and in their efforts of supporting such. The essay will as well focus on the top interests of the Chinese government as well as those of the American government. Through this we shall be able to see why the two countries are very much interested in Africa. Through we shall analyze their interests using the levels of intensity as given by Stolberg.
Categories of Intensity – China
There are presently thirty-two nations mining for African uranium. It is reported in Miner’s Choice publication that accurate trade figures for uranium are difficult to find. Some governments withhold information while others fail to state reliable numbers. In April the year two thousand and nine it was said that the Republic of China had commenced to exploit and import about one thousand pounds of uranium resources every annum. Since the connection of the first of China’s nuclear power plants in 1991 to the grid, there have been a total of six nuclear power plants installed with eleven units totally of 9.068 kilowatts in commercial operation. This enormous impending hunger for uranium in China must be met.
Hansen (p.28) states in the Council on Foreign Relations publication entitled: “China, Africa and Oil” that China is presently looking forward to raise the amount of oil that it is importing from Africa. It is reported that China is highly focused on obtaining the necessary resources in order to increase and expand its growth. Therefore, China is taking upon itself to gather all the raw materials that it requires and oil from across all countries in the globe. This is aimed at having a store for all the important raw materials for use in future (Hansen 36). China’s interests are to go beyond the quest for oil in Africa as it is aimed in other activities as well. Today china is one of the largest trading partners in Africa ranking second from United States. China also imports other goods from Africa as well (Hansen 58). The top most interests of China to Africa are oil and trade. China is hungry of the oil that is there in Africa. The problem is whether the interests that china is showing with respect to oil will actually be beneficial to Africa. China has become hungry of the crude oil that is found in Africa and particularly in Nigeria. This is because Nigeria happens to be the 10th richest producer of crude oil on earth. Although China is on the move to exploit Africa’s crude and increase its supplies as well as the stock, the continent will as well benefit. This is through the move by china to increase sustainability and economic growth in Africa by changing the advantages that Africa has on resources into making this its strength over its competitors. This is through China building factories in Africa for the purpose of processing of goods and for technical management training of the people of Africa (Dynabond 26).
China finds Africa as having good market for its products which are low cost goods. The China government as well is offering Africa aid and trade deals that do no have any strings attached. This is what is making the African nations to appreciate the relations between China and Africa. This therefore makes China take the lead in its international relations to Africa.
Given that the main interest or goal of china is to access the natural resources of Africa, we find that china is using important, as one of Stolberg’s categories of intensity. In this case, oil and trade is very important to china but still china can do without it. According to Stolberg’s categories of intensity when something is important to a nation, it means the nation actually needs it but it can do away without it. So China’s interest to Africa will fall under it (Boone 8).
Categories of Intensity – United States: Oil Supply & National Security
Hansen (p.52) states that, there have been reports which describe that China and America are competing towards accessing the supply of oil from Africa. Although china is seen to have gone deep in Africa in terms of its interest and trade, the western countries are still taking the lead given that the kinds of investments that they have made in Africa are much more as compared to those of China. This makes them to be more influential and to have a much bigger say in Africa. The work of Ploch (p.36) entitled: “Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa” reports that analysts and policymakers in the U.S. have noted there has been a great and growing interest of U.S towards Africa. This growing interest towards Africa is spotted as one that is aiming at the natural resources that are found in Africa and in particular resources that are energy related. This is the main reason that is making the United States to be so much interested in the governance of African countries and much more so in their quest to eradicate the trafficking of drugs among other activities. Further concerns include the humanitarian crises of Africa and her many armed conflicts. Ploch (p.38) reports that there are several strategic interests of the United States in Africa and that these include: oil and global trade; maritime security; armed conflicts; violent extremism; and HIV/AIDS. Therefore we realize that, the U.S interests to Africa, is mainly aimed at the natural resources yet it pretends to be so much concerned about the welfare of Africans. The main goal of U.S in Africa is to scrap of its natural resources and keep for itself for future utilization (Polch pp.67-75).
This is also aimed at selling the same resources to Africa once the continent is in need of them in future. This is what is making the U.S to seem more concerned on the governance of Africa and be cautious as well when they see china getting along very well in trading with Africa. Another interest of America towards Africa is to ensure that there is “the avoidance of great power rivalry, dominance, or conflict on the continent” America over the past years has had a major interest on the power struggle that is there in Africa. This is through intervening in the leadership of countries in Africa to ensure that there is no power struggle in such countries. Right from 1970, America has developed the interest of ensuring that Africa is not a pot of power struggle by selfish leaders who all they want is to satisfy their own needs and make their own gains. Just like the secretary then Rodgers said, “We do not believe that Africa should be the scene of a major power conflict. We on our part do not propose to make it so.”
The United States interests to Africa would therefore fall under the categories of vital, important, and humanitarian. This according to Stolberg’s is what U.S interest to Africa would be classified under. It is important for the U.S to be concerned or to come for the continent’s natural resources but as well it can do away with it since it’s not critical. This means that U.S can still stay with its current oil supplies without necessarily having to get those from Africa. Again it is vital for U.S to be involved in Africa, in that ensuring that there is good governance and Africa does not scramble for power, benefits U.S as well. This they benefit through having peaceful nations to trade with and to give aid to with strings attached. Again it is humanitarian in that they provide aid that is used in saving the lives of Africans. An example is the aid for hunger and for HIV/AIDS. It is reported that the Bush Administration in its 2002 National Security Strategy stated a need for the U.S. to “focus on building indigenous security and intelligence capabilities through bilateral engagement and ‘coalitions of the willing.” Furthermore, Ploch (p.72) relates that the most recent National Security Strategy of 2006 states Africa is the leading target. It acknowledges that U.S. security is dependent on coming together with Africans and building a coalition so as to improve the states in Africa that are falling and failing and are not well governed. Finally, Ploch (p.84) reports the United States presently procures as much crude oil from Africa as from the Middle East (Boone pp.8-10).
Summary and Conclusion
The interests of China and the United States in Africa are to a great degree competitive as the United States and China are both in need of the crude oil supplied by Africa. However, the primary reasons that the interests of the United States and China are competitive is that, the United States seeks to grow and preserve democracy and this desire is (at least) contrary to the political aims and principles of China and its government. Both the United States and china have got the same kinds of interests that are the reason why they cannot compact. Each is aiming at obtaining the most of resources and win favor as well and as a result they are like two competing businesses in the market with the same kinds of products and re now trying to win the customer’s satisfaction (Africa).
The main aim of this essay is to look at the work of Marybeth Ulrich. From this essay we shall analyze the conclusion she made in the case of the 2008 U.S military intervention to Iraq. In this case where both the president and the congress failed to understand and even to execute the powers that they have and not to note the roles that they are expected to play with consideration to the limitations that they have with regard to foreign policies. Finally, this essay will answer how the American Congress should properly engage in the contemporary debate over U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.
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Healy, Gene and Lynch Timothy. Power surge: The constitutional record of George W. Bush. CATO Institute White paper, 2006.
Marybeth, Ulrich. National security powers: Are the checks in balance? USAWC Military in Africa. 2009. Congressional Research Service. Web.
Miner’s Choice. African Uranium Trade Hots Up 2009. Web.
Ploch, Lauren. Africa command: U.S. strategic interests and the role of the U.S. guide to National Security Issues, 3.2 (2006): 67-74.