Gen. Stephen Townsend, tapped to head African Command, has come with a plan to coutner Chinese and Russian influence in Africa.
According Gen Townsend, the current commander of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, terrorist groups remain the most substantial immediate threat, but “Africa will be shaped by the increased presence of foreign actors … Russia and China.”
The general described China’s efforst to create telecommunications infrastructure on the continent are the most significant long-term security threat. At the same time, the US should also be concerned over the growing Russian influence in Sub-Sahariaj. He claimed that Chinese and Russian efforts in Africa are to the US “detriment”.
“China is choosing to compete in Africa and is competing hard there,” Townsend stressed adressing the One Belt/One Road infrastructure investment initiative and Huawei telecommunication efforts, including the G5 network.
He also adressed Russian training pacts and arms sales in the region, especially pointing out the sitaution in the Central African Republic. He claimed that China and Russia “are offering a whole lot of military assistance, a whole lot of economic assistance” but “with a lot of strings attached”. In other words, the general said that the Chinese and Russian investements are ‘bad’ and ‘not democratic’, while the US influence is good and is contributing to the growth of ‘democracy’ in Africa.
Townsend’s remarks are another confirmation that the US is going to move further with its plan to openly challenge and oppose the Chinese and Russian actions in this part of the globe.