U.S. diplomats visit Africa, pressure it to cut ties with China and Russia
China’s comments and promises to deepen “mutually beneficial cooperation” with Africa could hardly have been any more different from those made by top U.S. diplomats.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, visited Uganda and Ghana in the first week of August. There, she threatened the continent, telling African nations they cannot do trade with Russia, or they will be violating Western sanctions.
Thomas-Greenfield warned in Uganda,
As for sanctions that we have on Russia–for example, oil sanctions–if a country decides to engage with Russia where there are sanctions, then they are breaking those sanctions; they’re breaking our sanctions and in some cases they’re breaking UN sanctions with other countries, and we caution countries not to break those sanctions because then, if they do, they stand the chance of having actions taken against them for breaking those sanctions.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken subsequently visited South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda from August 7 to 11, as part of a trip aimed at weakening Africa’s relations with China and Russia.
‘The Chinese “debt trap” is a myth’
One of Washington’s most powerful weapons in its information war on China is its evidence-free accusations that Beijing is supposedly trapping African nations in debt.
Yet as Multipolarista previously reported in an analysis of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, Western governments, financial institutions, banks, and vulture funds are responsible for the vast majority of debt that Global South countries are trapped in.
The UK government’s own state media outlet BBC investigated allegations of “debt trap diplomacy” in Sri Lanka and reluctantly concluded that they are false.
“The truth is that many independent experts say that we should be wary of the Chinese debt trap narrative, and we’ve found quite a lot of evidence here in Sri Lanka which contradicts it,” BBC reporter Ben Chu said in a dispatch.
Similarly, mainstream academics at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School acknowledged in Washington’s establishment magazine The Atlantic that “the Chinese ‘debt trap’ is a myth.”
Scholar Deborah Brautigam wrote that the U.S. government-sponsored narrative is “a lie, and a powerful one.”
“Our research shows that Chinese banks are willing to restructure the terms of existing loans and have never actually seized an asset from any country,” she added.
Brautigam found that, between 2000 and 2019, China cancelled more than $3.4 billion and restructured or refinanced around $15 billion of debt in Africa, renegotiating at least 26 individual loans.
This past debt forgiveness is in addition to the 23 interest-free loans for 17 African countries that Beijing has announced it will pardon.