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Author(s) of the publication: VYACHESLAV TETEKIN

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POLITICS

The U.S. president's visit to Africa attracted attention not only by its duration (almost two weeks) and the gigantic size of his party (approximately 800 people), but also by its apparent lack of logic. At present the United States is in excellent economic shape, and it has a firm hand in international relations.

The world only remembers Africa in the event of a natural or national catastrophe.

Let us see, however, what lies behind this trip. So, Mr.

Clinton has visited Ghana, the motherland of Kofi Annan, the UN's new general secretary; and Uganda, the "pearl of Africa," a country that has successfully overcome the fallout from a civil war and emerged as one of the recognized leaders in Central Africa. On his way back he called at Senegal, one of the most influential countries of West Africa, the buttress of French influence on the continent.

The aims of the visit are obvious: to consolidate the United States' influence in Africa, which has colossal deposits of mineral resources that will not at all be overlooked in the upcoming battle of civilizations in the 21st century. At the same time, to try to somewhat squeeze its allies, who traditionally dominate this continent - the British and the French. The United States will do this not only in the economic sphere but also in the military sphere - through the creation of African peacekeeping forces. There can be no doubt that the great number of those accompanying the president (a small "invading army"?) is not just a crowd of extras, but a meticulously selected team where everyone knows his role.

Even so, his visit to South Africa was, of course, of special importance. There, Mr. Clinton spoke on the subject of democracy and human rights with deep feeling. This was highly appropriate, especially considering that the world has already started to forget that it was precisely the United States that most actively supported the apartheid regime for the longest period of time. Few people know that Nelson Mandela was arrested by the RSA police in 1963 on a "tip-off" from the CIA. After that, he spent 27 years in prison. The president of the Republic of South Africa is not a rancorous person, but a man of principle. Recently, he came out rather strongly against the United States' plans to deliver a strike on Iraq. Yet the importance of South Africa in the world today is so great that the Americans had to swallow Mandela's statements about a certain "world policeman."

While inflating its role in fighting apartheid (economic sanctions in the late 1980s), the United States is at the same time pushing to the sidelines our country, which for nearly 30 years had been one of the main allies of the African National Congress now in power.

This is not difficult to do, because Russia voluntarily (but, I hope, temporarily!) pulled out of Africa, abandoning the very substantial positions that were gained in the 1970s and 1980s through the efforts of thousands of our specialists and huge capital inputs. This cooperation, as it turns out now, was beneficial both for this country and for Africa. People on the continent remember this and would like us to return. The visit by President Sam Nujoma of Namibia to Moscow - the first visit by an African leader in the past seven years - is fairly symbolic in this respect.

Russian leaders, however, do not grace Africa with their visits. Moreover, after their visits to South Africa, Oleg Soskovets and Anatoly Kulikov lost their official positions too quickly not to arouse suspicion. Maybe there was some virus there? Maybe this is why Academician Primakov, head of the Russian Federation's Foreign Ministry, is not in a hurry to go to Africa? Yet, Mr. Clinton's visit to Botswana, which, with its population of 1.5 million, cannot possibly be ranked among the giants, looks especially intriguing. Not even the enormous diamond deposits can fully account for the reasons of the U.S.

president's visit there. Maybe it is a certain military air base that was built in Botswana with U.S. assistance, the capacity of which far exceeds the needs of Botswana itself. As far as the United States is concerned, such a base in this important region, the leaders of which were in their time fairly friendly with the USSR, will certainly not be inappropriate.

Let us sum up. Clinton's visit to Africa is an example of a sensible foreign policy. If there is anything to learn from the United States, it is its across-the-board approach toward world affairs. Africa is not only a colossal deposit of mineral resources, it is also one-quarter of votes at the UN. It is also a fairly appreciable influence (amazing as this can be!) in the Moslem world. Southern Africa, in its economic potential, is seen as one of the world "growth areas." The Republic of South Africa will in the next few years be chair of the Nonalignment Movement, which is gradually reasserting its authority.

Thus, the U.S. president's tour of Africa is more than logical. Furthermore, it is a good reminder to Russia's foreign politicy leaders that Africa still exists.

Orphus

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VYACHESLAV TETEKIN, WHAT CLINTON WAS LOOKING FOR IN AFRICA // Pretoria: Republic of South Africa (LIBMONSTER.CO.ZA). Updated: 19.09.2017. URL: http://libmonster.co.za/m/articles/view/WHAT-CLINTON-WAS-LOOKING-FOR-IN-AFRICA (date of access: 18.07.2018).

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