The distinction that the military does not conduct public diplomacy — it practices public affairs — is disappearing by the day. A four country tour by Admiral Harry Ulrich,commander of US naval forces in Southern Europe and Africa, was more military-led diplomacy. Will there be follow up w/ civilian resources? State Department teams of public and cultural diplomats?
The United States is becoming increasingly dependent on oil from a region beset by official corruption, tottering governments, violent criminal syndicates and religious and ethnic strife: West Africa….
"We can’t afford to have a ship there 365 days a year," said Rear Adm. D.C. Curtis of the U.S. 6th Fleet, which oversees naval responsibilities in Europe and Africa from its headquarters in Naples, Italy. "The days of getting an aircraft carrier off the coast are gone."
That leaves most security in the hands of local forces clearly not up to the job. U.S. officials said thieves each year steal at least $1 billion worth of oil from Nigeria’s coastal pipelines; perhaps twice that much is siphoned off by official government corruption.
In one recent case, two Nigerian admirals — since fired — arranged for the hijacking of the African Pride, a rust-streaked, Greek-registered coastal tanker laden with 11,000 tons of Nigerian crude worth some $4 million. The ship was seized by the Nigerian navy on suspicion that its cargo had been stolen. But the navy escorted the African Pride to sea, where its cargo was pumped to another tanker, which disappeared.