The Russian Challenge to U.S. Policy in Africa

From Informed Comment

Gregory Alonso Pirio and Robert Pittelli | Informed Comment | – –

The United States and its Western allies, for the most part, consider the Cold War long over, and with the sanctions levied against Russia in 2014 in response to its confiscation of Crimea from the Ukraine, many in the corridors of Washington tend to discount Russia as a major player on the world stage. However, the current policies of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, aim to re-establish a polarized world as a means of reclaiming Russia’s former influence in the international arena. Under the guise of economic and trade cooperation, President Putin, along with his fellow oligarchs and Russia’s state-owned corporations, appear to be acting in a coordinated manner to achieve geo-political advantage. This process is clearly underway in a number of African countries.

Despite the sanctions levied against the Russian Federation by the West, or perhaps because of them, Russia appears to have methodically accelerated its efforts to build political alliances and make economic trade deals with a number of African countries whose political establishments stand to gain from the promotion of the alternative global order that Putin is promoting. These include fellow sanctioned states like Sudan, Zimbabwe and Eritrea; post-coup Egypt and former Soviet allies such as Angola.

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