• Africa,  China,  Peacekeeping,  Public Diplomacy

    China leads a peacekeeping op

    The UN announced the first-ever Chinese led peacekeeping operation. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Major-General Zhao Jingmin as the new Force Commander for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), the first time that the world body has had a Chinese national head one of its missions. This syncs with Chinese public statements to use peacekeeping as a way of increasing its profile with governments and people directly (like with a hospital). The public diplomacy angle has been stated repeatedly, perhaps most clearly when they voiced their intent to up their contribution to the Lebanese PKO to increase their profile in the Middles East (as well as in…

  • Africa

    Armut Bekämpfen mit “Blackface” (updated)

    Fighting poverty and illiteracy in Africa with blackfaced kids. Brilliant! Why I didn’t think of that? Right, I know why… Looking at this as a Barnettian (does it sound like “Martian” or “bar-net-ian”?), this is another example of how elements in the Core don’t get the Gap. And like Pink Floyd’s lament that you can’t eat your pudding if you don’t eat your meat, you can’t really help if you don’t understand who you’re helping. (See Brea’s posts on Bono and for real fun consider the requirements of counterinsurgency and the requirements of understanding who, what, and why.) (BTW- if you have any interest in Africa, read Jen Brea)

  • Africa

    AFRICOM gets a commander

    From the DOD, yesterday General William E. Ward, current deputy commander EUCOM, was nominated for re-appointment to the rank of general with assignment as commander, U.S. Africa Command, Stuttgart, Germany. Noteworthy is Gen. Ward is the US’s only black four-star, and the fifth to achieve that rank (he was promoted to it May 2006). His new gig won’t be a full command until September 2008. Until then, he’ll probably keep his house in Stuttgart, Germany. EUCOM, the majority “owner” of Africa for now, may have tapped the right man for the job. Let’s hope so. It’s at least good potential diplomacy with the publics of Africa.

  • Africa,  China

    Chinese Tuesday

    It’s Tuesday and time for news on China Preeti Aroon writes at Foreign Policy about Chinese becoming the language of choice for Sudanese students. It’s one thing to provide English-language training, it’s another to provide a viable and immediate use for the acquired language. (See previous post on Chinese policy in Africa) Sudan sells around 60 percent of its oil to China, and Chinese companies, products, and restaurants have made inroads into the African country. Sudanese university students who learn Chinese can get jobs as translators and work for Chinese oil and telecommunications companies. Recently, Khartoum University had a Chinese speech competition, and a Chinese professor there said, “… nearly 100% of students…

  • Africa,  Counterinsurgency,  Defense Department,  Media

    Monday Mash-Up

    A day late but not a dollar short (remember you get what you pay for). Here’s the Monday Mash-Up, delivered on Tuesday. Another kind of AMC Animating the Bayeaux Tapestry (h/t A&I) If you’re reading this you probably won’t be surprised that a recent Pew Survey Finds Most Knowledgeable Americans Watch ‘Daily Show’ and ‘Colbert’– and Visit Newspaper Sites A new survey of 1,502 adults released Sunday by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that despite the mass appeal of the Internet and cable news since a previous poll in 1989, Americans’ knowledge of national affairs has slipped a little. For example, only 69% know that Dick…

  • Africa,  China,  Terrorism

    Chinese Tuesday

    As is the trend here, it’s Tuesday and time for news on China. VOA reports on how Chinese are gaining African respect because of their “simple” living: …in contrast with Western expatriates, says Brautigam, the Chinese always live at or below “local standards” – even when it’s quite within their means to live lavishly….…”The Italian project had a container of food brought in from Italy every two weeks! And the (Italian) experts were living in very comfortable houses that were built (specially) for the project.”……”The United States.had eight experts and they had built ranch-style houses in a little subdivision, with street lights and sidewalks, and everything the way it would…

  • Africa,  China

    Is Somalia seeking Chinese protection?

    Thanks JS (not the Armchair Generalist, another JS) for sending this story on Somalia a while back (that I’m just getting to now): U.S. hires military contractor to back peacekeeping mission in SomaliaBy Chris TomlinsonASSOCIATED PRESS1:20 p.m. March 7, 2007 NAIROBI, Kenya – The State Department has hired a major military contractor to help equip and provide logistical support to international peacekeepers in Somalia, giving the United States a significant role in the critical mission without assigning combat forces. DynCorp International, which also has U.S. contracts in Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, will be paid $10 million to help the first peacekeeping mission in Somalia in more than 10 years. The article…

  • Africa,  China

    China in Africa: perceptions

    Jen Brea’s terrific posts on Africa Beat provides a great insight into the “China in Africa” question. Following up on the theme of the week, China in Africa, here are some valuable and topical posts from Jen. Jen links to a Singapore-based blogger writing about President Hu’s recent Africa trip:

  • Africa,  China,  Public Diplomacy

    AFRICOM news

    On the heels of news that the new AFRICOM is (perhaps) initially setting up in Stuttgart comes this dig in an OpEd in China’s People’s Daily Online, US Embarrassment in Africa: