Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mali: The Entente Cordiale Unravels

The Tuareg rebellion in Northern Mali, which precipitated the military coup in that country, has finally put to rest the neat arrangement between the British and French in Africa, known as The Entente Cordiale. Well, now there are more players in the game: The Americans, The Chinese, and Militant Islam. 

Militant Islam is in an all-out war for the hearts-and-minds of Muslim West Africa and the Chinese need resources to fuel their economic expansion and new markets for their products. On the other hand, the Americans need to check Chinese interests in Africa; to halt the spread of militant Islam (in their wider "war against terror"); and to supplant the French as the dominant power in French-speaking West Africa. With a Malian military-regime facing its back against the wall, and a Malian populace hungry for Western modernity, the Americans will be free to implant themselves into the Malian political-economic sphere.

The coup in Mali is thus a God-send for the Americans, and they will milk it for all its worth and spread their regional-influence. Add to this are the Malian people themselves, who no longer see France as their dream nation. Now their gaze is turned to America: to Hollywood, to The American-Dream, to the NBA, and to the urban culture of Black-America. 

It's not incidental that coup-leader Sanogo was trained in America and speaks passable English. A generation ago this would have been unthinkable. Many of the new Malian elite are educated in America and are comfortable with English. The days of a neatly-guarded area of West Africa under French control are now truly over and The Entente Cordiale has finally unraveled.

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