US Plans to ‘Counter’ Russia and China in Africa

Bolton says US focus is on trade in Africa

John Bolton is complaining that the widespread corruption in Africa has put the US at a disadvantage compared to Russia and China, and he says the US is taking a “new approach,” which will focus on trade and less money spent on military efforts.

The reflects growing annoyance that the US military campaigns in Africa haven’t led to the massive arms deals and preferential treatment that they have in other parts of the world. Bolton particularly complained that Russia was selling so many arms in Africa, one of the few places their arms exports aren’t dominated by the US.

Bolton further complained of China using “bribes. opaque agreements and debt” to force African countries to give in to Chinese demands, saying that Chinese efforts in Djibouti were threatening to shift trade power across the region.

While these complaints mostly boil down to the traditional US strategies not working as well in Africa, some analysts are warning that Bolton’s speech is likely to fuel concern among Africans that the US has a “new strategy” aimed at dominating them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.