I disagree! The US has nothing to gain! As far as I know there is not a whole lot of oil in Liberia. It could be that the outbreak is actually just THAT BAD and the US wants to help somebody.
I’ve gotten a ridiculous number of responses to this post saying the above. All screaming out variations of the following:
"What does the US have to gain!?"
"Don’t you know that most people in the military are mechanics and logistical support, so there are only a few infantry and this isn’t an invasion!”
"Miltaries all around the world do this and the US has the biggest military so this makes sense!"
"Most of the troops are actually aid workers!!!"
"What about China!!?!?!!!"
All of this even as we know that there are more than 3,000 US troops being deployed to the region.
Let me just start with this:
Sub-Saharan African nations with a US Military Presence before the current ebola crisis (Image Credit: Washington Post via Mic).
13 African countries stretching across the continent and the number is rising with each passing year.
It is crucial to remember that the charter for AFRICOM (United States Africa Command) is explicitly to “advance U.S. national security interests.” So you’re going to sit here and tell me that 3,000 US troops being sent under this charter are there for altruistic purposes even as they set up a new military command in Liberia? That this is not connected to the long history of military interventions, occupations and proxy wars the US has conducted from Mali to Libya and Somalia with catastrophic results?
As Nick Turse stated in this great article on The Nation about “America’s Proxy Wars in Africa”
Washington is increasingly involved in the growing wars for West and Central Africa. And just about every move it has made in the region thus far has helped spread conflict and chaos, while contributing to African destabilization.
We saw this when the “US-backed uprising in Libya, for instance, helped spawn hundreds of militias that have increasingly caused chaos in that country” (x). Many of those militias and arm stores in Libya then spread throughout the region, including to Mali where Islamic militants co-opted a Tuareg resistance movement and seized wide swaths of the country’s north. The crisis only accelerated after a Malian military commander, who had been trained and mentored by US armed forces from 2004 to 2010, overthrew the democratically elected government in a military coup. Afterwards, the US and French swooped in to “restabilize” the situation they had caused and fight back the Islamic militants in Mali. This ”intervention caused a veritable terror diaspora that helped lead to attacks in Algeria, Niger and Libya, without resolving Mali’s underlying instability”(x).
We have seen this before with #BringBackOurGirls as well, and it only takes just a bit of digging to see how the US government shamelessly exploits humanitarian crises to advance its neo-imperialistic aims in African countries. Years before the tragic mass kidnappings of more than 200 Nigerian girls in Chibok by Boko Haram, the US Congress issued a report, “Boko Haram: Emerging Threat to the US Homeland" where they stated:
The rising threat of Boko Haram presents the United States an opportunity to expand diplomatic and military engagement with both Abuja and Nigerian Muslims in the north
This is in addition to open references to Nigeria’s oil wealth as a driving concern for them. The US had also been pressuring Nigeria for years to establish a military presence and AFRICOM military command in Nigeria, and so when the tragedy in Chibok happened (which has still not been resolved months later), the US pounced to put boots on the ground in Nigeria and (more) drones in our skies. Again, this has been a transparent goal from the highest levels of the US government since at least 2009.
#KONY2012 was also used as a pretext to send more US troops into African countries, who have found nothing in the last 2 years. In fact for some time they were officially not even looking for Joseph Kony anymore but have used #KONY2012 to justify a continuing military presence which has now given the US license to expand its military presence this year with even more troops in Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the DRC (x).
So I am stunned when I see such obtuse responses like the above, which cling to some dream of the US military industrial complex as altruistic in any way shape or form, especially when, as I will say yet again, AFRICOM (United States Africa Command) explicitly states that it is in these countries to “advance U.S. national security interests.”
As Jumoke Balogun writes in his incredible piece, “Dear Americans, Your Hashtags Won’t #BringBackOurGirls. You Might Actually Be Making Things Worse" for CompareAfrique :
In 2013 alone, AFRICOM carried out a total of 546 “military activities,”which is an average of one and half military missions a day. While we don’t know much about the purpose of these activities, keep in mind that AFRICOM’s mission is to “advance U.S. national security interests.”
And advancing they are. According to one report, in 2013, American troops entered and advanced American interests in Niger, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, Burundi, Mauritania, South Africa, Chad, Togo, Cameroon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Sudan.
The U.S. military conducted 128 separate “military activities” in 28 African countries between June and December of 2013. These are in conjunction to U.S. led drone operations which are occurring in Northern Nigeria and Somalia. There are also counter-terrorism outposts in Djibouti and Niger and covert bases in Ethiopia and the Seychelles
The US imperial project is in full swing in African countries, and is expanding across the globe with US forces re-entering the Philippines, a former colony of ours where we committed a genocide and countless war crimes, and many other countries. You don’t have to have oil to be a target (although that helps paint a target on your back)—it’s ultimately about power at the end of the day and the enshrinement of US hegemonic power and military dominance of the globe.
So when you see 3,000 more troops entering an African country to “advance US national security interests,” take a second, go on Google for 2 seconds and see the tremendous plethora of information that is out there showing how these are craven neo-imperialistic campaigns to expand the US military industrial complex even if they are under a “humanitarian” cover like we see with the ebola crisis. There is no such thing as “no strings attached” with the US government, and it will take decades to undo the damage caused by these neo-imperialistic crusader campaigns by the US that we are watching play out in slow motion today.