• Africa,  China,  Development,  Public Diplomacy

    Aljazeera: tsunami of Chinese commerce is sparking tension and even violence in some parts of Africa

    Earlier this month, Aljazeera screened a movie titled The Colony by Brent Huffman and Xiaoli Zhou. Huffman and Zhou explored the “onslaught of Chinese economic might and its impact on long-standing African traditions.” This economic colonization, hence the title of the film, is not without its pitfalls with minimal assimilation, integration, or perception of mutual benefit. As Huffman notes, Although there is communication between the two sides at a certain level, it is rather limited. Despite various differences in language, culture, and work ethics, the Chinese are not making enough of an effort to integrate into Senegalese society. Although the Chinese businesses have brought some benefits to the local low-income…

  • Africa,  Now Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt,  Social Media

    Al-Shabaab receiving support from U.S. citizens and others in the U.S.

    In a press conference today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department unsealed four separate indictments charging 14 individuals in Minnesota, California, and Alabama with terrorism violations, including providing money, personnel, and services to the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. An indictment in Minnesota charged 10 men for leaving the U.S. to join al-Shabaab, an organization with ties to al-Qaeda, as foreign fighters. In Minnesota alone, 19 have been charged with material support of al-Shabaab. Two women, naturalized U.S. citizens and residents of Minnesota, were charged with raising money to support al-Shabaab through door-to-door solicitations and teleconferences in the Somali communities in Minneapolis, Rochester, and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.…

  • Africa,  ICT

    Broadband hits Africa

    From Foreign Policy, a map showing increased connectivity and the importance of investing in Information & Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) in Africa. As interconnectivity between African countries increases, economic benefits are expected, especially in Kenya, which has a fast developing IT sector. Other potential impacts include education and access to media. Increased interconnectivity also means increased importance of online media. See also this 2007 global map by Alcatel-Lucent (5.6mb PDF).

  • Africa,  Counterinsurgency,  Interagency,  Media,  Public Diplomacy

    Noteworthy

    “The “militarization” of diplomacy exists and is accelerating.” – A Foreign Affairs Budget for the Future: Fixing the Crisis in Diplomatic Readiness from the American Academy of Diplomacy. (see also this post) “The trends across the board are not going in the right direction. And I would anticipate next year would be a tougher year.” – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen, The New York Times. “The announcement last week that the United States will relocate its London embassy from Grosvenor Square, in the heart of the British capital, to an out-of-the-way spot south of the River Thames may be good news for property developers, but should concern…

  • Africa,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy,  State Building

    Event: AFRICOM and Beyond: The Future of U.S.-African Security and Defense Relations

    From the American Enterprise Institute: The October 1 operational launch of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), on the eve of a new American presidential administration, provides an unprecedented opportunity to reshape U.S. strategy toward Africa. Significant attention has been devoted to the structure and functions of AFRICOM–and to its strategic communications challenges. Less thought, however, has been given to identifying the core security interests that should guide U.S. strategy on the continent or to defining the new kinds of partnership with a more self-assured Africa that are most likely to advance those interests. With its capacity for political as well as military engagement and for conflict prevention as well as traditional…

  • Africa,  State Building

    AFRICOM: DOA or in Need of Better Marketing? No and Yes. (Updated)

    Like Mark Twain’s "death" in 1897 (he died in 1910), reports of AFRICOM’s demise may be exaggerated.  Concerns that AFRICOM hasn’t been thought out or is unnecessary aren’t supported by the actions and statements of those charged with building this entity.  However, based on the poor marketing of AFRICOM, these concerns are not surprising. I attended USC’s AFRICOM conference earlier this month and between panel discussions and offline conversations, I came away with a new appreciation (and hope) for the newest, and very different, command.  This is not like the other Combatant Commands (one DOD representative said they dropped "Combatant" from the title, but depending on where you look, either…

  • Africa,  State Building

    Upcoming events on Africa

    Heads up on two upcoming events on Africa. The first is titled AFRICOM: The American Military and Public Diplomacy in Africa and will be at the University of Southern California February 8, 2008: The USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School and the USC Center for International Studies are pleased to announce the upcoming conference, AFRICOM: The American Military and Public Diplomacy in Africa. The first of a series of conferences on public diplomacy, this conference will be held on Friday, February 8, 2008 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. This conference will feature panel sessions addressing U.S.-African relations, the State Department and Department of…

  • Africa,  China

    China Blogging for September 14, 2007

    Some catch-up on China blogging included here to clear my China queue China is upset, claiming foreign nations are causing “massive and shocking” damage by hacking into computers to “ferret out political, military and scientific secrets.” Some might say that turnaround is fair play. Another thought is someone might be showing off for DHS that it’s worthwhile to revisit a denied application?