The Ivorian Crisis or the Prelude to the War between China and the West
The original article was written in French: La crise ivoirienne ou le prélude de la guerre Chine-Occident, and was translated into English with the help of Anthony Frot, a Frenchman and a friend visiting New York. A translation from one language to another is always fraught with difficult challenges of the exact meaning and nuances of a writer’s intention, hence, we tried very hard to remain true to what we understand as the writer intentions. Furthermore, link to the original article in French is provided for those who may wish to read the article in its original language. I, and only I, accept full responsibility for the inadequacies that may arise from a mistranslation.
The Ivorian Crisis or the Prelude to the War between China and the West
Since the beginning of the Ivorian crisis everything, and almost its opposite, has been said. Almost all Westerners support Mr Ouattara whom they call “elected President”, while the Africans support Gbagbo, the out-going president whom they designate the “reelected President”. Beyond partisan choices for one or the other president, elected or reelected, it is interesting to note that there is another battle, a remote one, which is being played between China and the West in Ivory Coast. Through direct and indirect military support.
The West defends an old idea of Africa, in which it controls everything by its henchmen and willingly accommodates itself with the misery of the masses. China is the country which wants to change the deal and make Africa the window of its economic power and military strength outside Asia. This strongly ruffles the European Union and the USA. But do they have the strength and the energy to resist for a long time the Chinese steamroller, which inopportunely has decided to make Africa one of the pillars of its superpower in ascendancy? Exactly as the United States of America had made Europe 66 years ago.
Laurent Gbagbo, better symbol of frustrations of Europeans and the Africans
For the Africans, the two characters of our ongoing story symbolize two opposite conceptions of African politics. Mr Ouattara defines himself as a «Houphouëtist», that is someone who is openly against the United States of Africa. In 1963, his mentor Houphouët Boigny and his associate, the former Senegalese president Léopold Sédar Senghor, were the two principal gravediggers of the dream of Kwame Nkrumah to immediately create the United States of Africa. For Senghor and Houphouët, the relationship with France was more important than every necessity of African autonomy. The later had pronounced the famous sentence: “They say they are going to unite Africa from Cape to Cairo. They will do it without us, without my Ivory Coast”. We know what came next: the OAU was born as a nullity, with only one program precious to Senghor and Boigny: “intangibility of boundaries inherited from the European colonization”, and a goodbye to the old dream of Nkrumah expressed in his premonitory book published in 1961 titled: “Africa must unite” (Africa must unite if it doesn’t want to know starvation, poverty and wars).
To put an end to the sad parenthesis of the OAU it has been a priority for Gbagbo, since he came to power in 2000, to create a new African Union (in 2002) as an intermediary step towards the creation of the United States of Africa. Today, Mr Ouattara continues in the same way as Houphouët: he ignores Ivory Coast’s institutions (the Constitutional Council) and prefers to await his legitimacy from Paris or Washington. He asks a part of the world to begin a war to kill a part of the Ivory Coast.
He asks to starve the Ivorian civil servants by depriving them of their salary. He asks France to organize commandos in the name of the ECOWAS, and as Houphouët, he has never explained what he wants to offer France in return. I would like to say something to the apprentice sorcerers of the theory of the blitzkrieg (lightning wars): no election, nobody deserves to loose their life. Men pass, empires disappear. But the scars of a war never end. Can Iraq be a lesson for us?
Three examples outside Africa to elucidate my remarks:
- On December 19th, 2010, the people voted in Bielorussia and the outgoing president proclaimed he had won with 72% majority and immediately put the leaders of the opposition in jail. Is there any one European country which has threatened this country with the use of force to dislodge Alexander Loukachenko, who has been president for 16 years? The European Union didn’t envisage any military plan to go and dislodge the dictator. The reason is simple: the 27 countries of the European Union are preoccupied with the value of the life of their brothers and sisters of Bielorussia. Everyone has to take care of his interests and the Europeans consider that human life in Bielorussia is more important than a dictator who will go away sooner or later.
- The Secretary General of United Nation, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, and the UNO representative in Ivory Coast, Mr Y Choi, are both citizens of Korea, a country divided in two. One of the two Korean presidents, Kim Jong-Il, is said to be crazy and is a constant danger for his own population and his neighbors. But for Kim, Mr Y Choi and Mr Ban Ki-Moon have always advocated restraint. I have two questions for those who want to bring war in Ivory Coast: Is the life of a Korean more valuable to preserve than that of a man from the Ivory Coast? Is the death of civilian populations in Ivory Coast less serious than in Korea? In what way is Laurent Gbagbo more dangerous for his neighbors than the north-Korean leader Mr Kim Jong-Il, who inherited 17 years ago power from his father who kept himself in power for 46 years until his death, when he passed it on to his son?
- In Burma (Myanmar), in 2000, a winner of the presidential elections was deprived of her victory, worse, deprived of her freedom for 10 years. Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi was content in silence with a Peace Nobel Prize, without ever requiring an outside intervention to go and dislodge the usurpers from power. Is the victory of Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi validated by the Burmese Constitutional court less important than the defeat of Mr. Ouattara declared lost by the Constitutional council of his country?
Will Mr. Laurent Gbagbo make history as a mediocre chief, nasty, courageous or enlightened?
Nobody can answer this question. What we know is that he is the man who best symbolizes the frustrations of Europeans and Africans. The Ivorian crisis is quickly transformed into a racial crisis between whites and blacks, between Africa and Europe. With, this time, a third thief, China, in ambush.
Angola, China’s number one African commercial and military partner, unfailingly supports Laurent Gbagbo
On the same day (12/17/2010) when the European Union announced with unanimity its choice for Ouattara in the Ivorian crisis, against Laurent Gbagbo, China announced it had become the leading commercial partner of the African continent by publishing the figures of ten-month trade with African countries. The result is an increase of the volume of the business to 20 billion dollars with Angola, making this country the leading African partner in the commercial and military plan.
The coincidence is also that Angola is the country which supports militarily the Defense and Security Forces of Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast. And on this same day, the Chinese division general Jia Xiaoning, assistant director of the Office of Foreign Affairs in the Chinese ministry of Defense, was received in Cameroon by President Biya. Did they speak about the Ivorian crisis? Can China help Europe financially to get out of the economic crisis and accept that Europe uses this money to fight against China in Africa?
What is sure, Europe had not predicted this scenario. Is the announcement, the same week, of the service entrance of the Chinese Stealth fighter bomber jet, the Chengdu J-20, a real coincidence of timing or a clear military message sent to the USA and to Europe? Washington obviously received the message, because its new Stealth fighter plane F-35 in construction to replace the F-22 is already considered to be obsolete, and some are already speaking of abandoning the project, with thousands of jobs at risk , because of the new very high technological bar that China has imposed on the American armament industry regarded as the most advanced, up to now, in the world.
According to the American military experts, the Chinese J-20 equipped with powerful anti-ship missiles is especially designed to destroy the 10 new American aircraft carriers in construction until 2058. We understand now why the French aircraft carrier Mistral, which is right now heading in the direction of Abidjan to dislodge Gbagbo before the end of the month of January, as Ouattara promised, would be destroyed by the brand new Chinese J-20 in less than 5 minutes. For the moment, China won’t shoot a bullet in the Ivorian crisis, but we can bet that the next crisis will be very different, because the European hegemony which lasts since 1454 in Africa is living its last hours in Abidjan.
The Ivorian crisis which, apparently, was at the beginning a simple issue between Europeans and Africans revealed itself very quickly as the anticipation of the military battle between China and the West, which has just begun on the African ground. It is also the prelude to a long tumultuous season between Africa and Europe which has difficulties accepting the inevitable effective autonomy of Africa, 50 years after the parody of independence. The generals of the Chinese army are marching everywhere in Africa to create agreements of military partnerships; in Beijing, we don’t pretend any more that the real objective is to neutralize all the rebellions Europe will organize on the African ground to slow down and delay this autonomy.
The arrival of China on African politics, economic and military stage is becoming a nightmare for Europe, which loses all lucidity. Since 2007, the European Union did everything to propose to China a kind of triangle to stop the gigantic Chinese investments in Africa. The previous European Commissioner for Development, Louis Michel made ceaseless trips to Beijing to make a thousand proposals without success. However, Europe doesn’t want to give up, and even every one of the 27 countries try solo by themselves.
The most wanted man in Beijing, and who gives headache to the West, is named Zhang Ming, “Mr. Sub-saharan Africa”, from the Chinese ministry of Foreign Affairs. Everyone hates him and everyone wants to court him. What do the Westerners want? They ask him more or less to pretend to help Africa, without really taking action. It is explained to him that, these have been the rules of the game for 5 centuries, and that there is big money to gain. What does he answer? Niet.
China is not interested in any triangle. Africa, that everyone says is marginalized, is now the object of covetousness due to the actions of China. The Chinese president has almost visited every African country, 3 or 4 times, for some of them, while the American presidents visit 2 or 3 African countries during their 8 years in office. And of the 27 countries of the European Union, 21 are being managed by presidents who have never set foot in Africa.
Europe is falling into a grotesque mediocrity, trying to gentrify the Chinese in Africa and teaching them their old petty recipes which have been preventing Africa since 50 years ago from taking off, with slogans quite as burlesque and shabby: “The European Union and China feel closer to Africa than any other continent”.
The rare documents in our hands, about secret European proposals to China justify this panic about concern of the Europeans about a probable African indebtedness, if China keeps on acting like that. That thesis is totally preposterous. It sounds as if a person with a suspended banking privilege, went to see her banker to explain to him that she hasn’t slept for weeks because her neighbor might become overburdened with debt if this same banker continues providing her neighbor with credits. Then she begs the banker not to act directly with her neighbor, but to act with her directly. Thus, she would filter and suggest what is good for her neighbor. The IMF recently refused credit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo because Congo receives Chinese investments. Edwards Bernays, in his book “Propaganda or the Art of Manipulating the Public Opinion in Democracy” teaches us that conscious and intelligent manipulation of the opinions and habits of the masses plays an important role in a democratic society.
The people who manipulate the imperceptible social mechanism form an invisible government which truly manage the world. The African Union must regain control on Ivory Coast, because if not, the invisible European government will hinder, destabilize and take from Africa one of its masterpieces of the puzzle (the Ivory Coast), which Africa will need to build the mosaic of the United States of Africa. If, today, the Ivory Coast is sacrificed as consolation to Europe in its already lost commercial and industrial war against China, who will be next tomorrow?
The crisis of the Ivory Coast will have at the very least, the merit to give us several lessons:
- The UNO is an empty box which needs a total reconstruction. This organization is transforming itself into an instrument of destabilization of nations, and as the initiator of civil wars rather than being an instrument of pacification of people, as it was originally conceived.
- The finalization of the United States of Africa is imperative and can’t be delayed any more.
- All the process of the African federation in progress must be accelerated not to leave space to the old demons of Africa. That is to say, to begin with a new cycle of violence and wars, thus, the destabilization of the continent as in the previous 50 years. Thereby, diverting attention of the real issues and objectives to create happiness for African populations.
- The training for the First World War of the 21st century between the West (Europe/USA) and China will probably take place on the African ground. The decline of the West doesn’t deprive it of its usual arrogance to keep on humiliating China by telling it what to do in Africa, and about the devaluation of Yuan. Ridicule does not kill. In fact, the countries that were mistaken in policy and are responsible of a world financial crisis want to give lessons to China, which has had a virtuous management. There is a red line that sooner or later the West will cross, and when that day comes, it is gonna be “boom”! And Africa is right now a training ground for both of them for this “boom”.
Gbagbo, issue of the control of the Oil Eldorado in the Gulf of Guinea
I like it to conclude with these two extracts from comments on the crisis of the Ivory Coast:
“Colonialists always wear a mask. They never say good things about you. They pillage your natural resources. They committed genocides with the Indians of America, destroyed civilizations as Aztec’s. In the name of the freedom of trade, they imposed on China three opium wars. In the name of slavery, they came to impose obligatory work in Africa. Today, it is in the name of the international justice that they intervene in Ivory Coast. What does this international justice mean? The magistrates of the International Criminal Court suffer from what we call daltonism to black color. The color-blind doesn’t see some colours. They only see black colour. If you go to the International Court, every charged person is black, not because nothing happened in Gaza, not because nothing happened in the jails of Abu Graïb. I wonder now: Why does Africa accept this situation? I won’t say everyone is innocent, but if these people are guilty, it is up to Africans to judge them. Why does Africa accept that their leaders are put on trial by a band of cosmopolitan people who despise them?”. Jacques Vergès, French lawyer”.
“Whether, or not, Gbagbo stays in power, the issue is the control of the Gulf of Guinea. It is this oil Eldorado that French and American, in decline in the Arab world, and this time united, don’t want to fall into other hands. For them, Alassane Ouattara, personal friend of Sarkozy, previous chief of the IMF and liberal manager, is an interlocutor much more credible than Gbagbo, the nationalist”. Colette Braeckman, journalist of the Belgium newspaper “Le Soir”. Born in 1946, international reporter, she also collaborates with the “Monde Diplomatique”.
That’s the reason why, I think, there has never been an election in Ivory Coast, but a parody of an election. With 300 billion francs from an Ivorian that UNO threw out the window for a parody, 300 hospitals, 1000 schools, 50 universities, 3000 playgroups, 5000 clinics could have been built.