Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Niger Tests Clown World - Vox Popoli

 One of the inevitable consequences of the sanctions war on Russia was the realization by third parties that economic globalization is a trap that provides more external control than internal opportunity. This is why the Sino-Russian turn to Africa, Asia, and South America is significant, as it threatens to exclude the self-styled “global majority” from the greater part of the world’s population. That’s why the USA put so much pressure on African leaders to not attend the second St. Petersburg summit.

Last week’s Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg was a landmark event in Moscow’s foreign policy concept and practice. Not so much because it brought scores of African leaders and senior officials to the country. The first summit, four years ago in Sochi, featured even more African heads of state. Also, it is not solely because its agenda expanded beyond economics and included a humanitarian dimension: this is important, but this isn’t all.

Essentially, the meeting, with the bureaucratic preparation and the wide public coverage it has received within Russia, testifies to a sea change in Moscow’s worldview and international positioning toward the world’s rising non-Western majority, as laid down in the recently adopted Foreign Policy Concept.

St. Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great in the early 18th century as a ‘window to Europe,’ and last week, it served the same purpose for Africa.

Eurocentrism, of course, is still deeply embedded in the Russian elite’s thinking and aspirations. Nevertheless, the failure of Russia’s long travails of Western integration in the wake of the demise of the Soviet Union has now exploded into the proxy war against the United States and NATO in Ukraine. This has produced a historic shift in Moscow’s policies, comparable to the time of Peter the Great in its significance, though in a wholly different direction. For the foreseeable future, the universe of Russia’s foreign policy will remain divided in two large parts: the house of foes including Europe, North America, and the rest of the Anglosphere, and the house of friends elsewhere. The dividing line between the two is a country’s position in relation to the sanctions regime against Russia.

Africa, in this regard, is largely on the right side of that divide. 49 nations out of the continent’s 54 were represented in St. Petersburg. True, only 17 of them participated at the top level. No longer a curious and skeptical observer, as during the Sochi summit four years ago, the West this time made a determined effort, advising, cajoling or threatening African leaders against going to Russia and dealing directly with President Putin.

Russia has proven that it is possible for a nation to stand up to the US military, which from Afghanistan to Iraq and Libya, had hitherto crushed every rebellion against the Clown World order. Which, one suspects, is why Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso have banded together to protect the new Nigerois regime from Clown World’s regional proxies.

In a move considered a tactical way to protect the recent regime change in Niger, Mali’s military Junta said Monday that they stand to support the coup leaders in Niamey. Mali said that they stand together with Burkina Faso to defend Niger and further warned that any foreign military intervention in Niamey will be considered a declaration of war on both nations with Niger.

“I warn that any military intervention against Niger will be considered as a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali,” announce Col. Abdoulaye Maiga, State Minister for Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Mali junta.

The announcement was in response to the outcome of a summit by regional bloc ECOWAS that gave a 7-day deadline to Niger’s coup leaders to free detained president Mohamed Barzoum and restore civilian rule or face consequences, with military force an option being considered.

The irony of the appeals to democracy by the USA and the UK, both of which are led by equally unelected heads of state, is unlikely to escape the Russians, the Chinese, and everyone else observing the matter. If the new Nigerois government finds enough support to maintain power, this will be the second significant step toward the complete collapse of the Clown World order.

And since Wagner doesn’t appear to be occupied at the moment, I expect they’ll be willing to accept gold and uranium in lieu of cash.