tv Hudson Institute Discussion on U.S. Foreign Policy in Africa CSPAN June 7, 2019 12:32am-1:18am EDT
>> u.s. foreign policy in africa hosted by the hudson institute in washington, d.c. following the trump administration's unveiling the new diplomatic plan called africa strategy. good afternoon, everyone. i'm a fellow here at the hudson institute and because we have a short amount of time, i'm going to go as as we can to our excellent panel and luckily i do not have to give reminder about the rules. we are on the record is so thank you for joining us for this discussion about the future of u.s. africa relations. those of you in the room and those viewing on c-span online i am delighted to be joined by a
really outstanding panel i will go ahead and introduce them into dive into questions. we have about 40 minutes and try to reserve ten to 15 of that for questions from the audience. immediately to my left, we have the ambassador senior fellow at the atlantic council's african center and teacher of african affairs. she had a very distinguished career in public service in france including as the deputy minister for foreign affairs and human rights and the ambassador of unesco. we are happy to have her in washington sharing her insights with us. , joshua is a senior policy analysthe senior policyanalyst e east at the heritage foundation. he was also at the atlantic council's africa center and spent several years on the ground including with the peace corps. last but not least, senior adviser to the international public institute lecture in studies at johns hopkins school
of advanced international studies and senior associate at the center for strategic and international studies and veteran of the u.s. marine corps as well. thank you for joining us. maybe i can start with the way that ken weinstein set up talking about africa as both promise and peril and ask all of you which of those do you see is thasthe most prominent right now with the balance between the challenge and opportunities" with the greatest ones are that the u.s. policy should be focused on. >> it was interesting to see africa has faced opportunities on the one hand and on the other hand, challenges. i'd like to be optimistic and
focus on the optimistic parts of the speech. africa is the content of the future. i'm convinced it is the center of the world. yesterday, today and tomorrow. why? yes it is a young continent. i think it's better to be the youngest thing to be the oldest content on the world because future consumers, citizens, future workers, the human kind and something extraordinary. for the first time in a long
time we would live a demographic cycle. the geography, 60% of the land are in africa that is something amazing. the world will come to africa to exploit us. people, women for example. the female leadership is a huge experience in africa now. to take this continent as an example we have so many female parliament. there's something extraordinary. innovation, it is a fundamental.
they have mobile banking. according to world bank, africa might on the brink just like china and india 20 years ago. that is something rather interesting, but more interesting, the challenge i talk about the most important challenge for me is life. when people die they die. 200 people died in on the news
monday. if this happened in europe still be angr embraced now text there something about life. for me it is important to take into account african life. he undermined african life it's because of the time when we regarded these lines as not important and ask people themselves have integrated the idea that their life is not so important as the life of the others. i think it is time to finish with that because now the continent of the future and of today and of yesterday.
for me those are the importunities and challenges. >> thank you for that powerful account. the challenges and opportunities that you see and also whether you think that the new africa strategies are properly focused on those promises and perils for him prosperity, strengthening security and promoting stability is that the right focus for ex- >> i think so and i will pick up for the ambassador left off after we agree with the assessment they are incredible and that's one of the reasons i'm hopeful because the trade
and investment piece is a core pillar of it. of course administrations including the popular trade everyone's would'veveryone sortp service to it and the actual focus of the american foreign policy has not changed much. it might be different this time around. it just sits with the president's worldview. he is convinced by the merits of trade and it's been easy to observe the efforts the administration has already put into making the initiative. this dedicated people working on this and it is financed. they are doing listening tours
and trying to get as much input as possible. i'm encouraged by that. it's the right approach and this time it might actually lead to a substantive focus of foreign policy and this is something we really have to do because as the secretary mentioned, the american foreign policy hasn't evolved to account for the new africa in many ways we are still focused on the development assistance and counterterrorism and mitigating the crisis of the various types and those are all important and worthwhile initiatives to pursue but many others have recognized africa is increasingly strategic and the strategy hasn't evolved to account for that so this initiative does recognize that. as far as challenges the
secretary mentioned some and the ambassador as well it is really disheartening. it's gone through absent flows and right now we are in a more worrisome time i would say particularly if you think about the democracy backsliding on the continent. when you have poor governance, it's linked to economic analys analysis, hard to create a positive environment as the secretary was talking about in his remarks, it is linked to poor outcomes in health and security and all these issues so if you can't get that part of it right, i fear we will still be talking about these 20, 30, 40
years from now. >> it seems there is something afoot with people demanding more of their governments we're seeing it now there's areas of promise like an ethiopia and areas of concern as well. how do we make sure the government's peace, how does it fit into a prosperity and trade the strategy and what are the tools we have to ac ask them too better by their own people. >> i think a couple of things i want to discuss along with this, we talked about challenges and opportunities.
we have tthey have said that ths in the details but when it comes to africa the devil is in the definition. it's in n the way that we define africa. the vc terms like emerging markets. the other side of the clai clais in the case of the united states how they find themselves. africa is evolving. my colleagues have put out very well but the u.s. involvement those are the kind of questions we should be asking. if we look at the demographics and natural resources and all
the potential, it's always been there but when we hear the strategy i think it has a lot of potential tha but we have to ask about the prioritization. if you talk about trade, that presupposes a certain number of things to do big companies, the government is doing well but that isn't exactly was happening. if you talk about trade, that is where we have the skill set. education is a big challenge for the continent. if you talk about trade, we talk about security and we talk about combating terrorists, that isn't exactly defining their own national security challenges either so there is an issue with terrorists for whom, against
whom. so this brings me to i think it can be bolder and much more stronger and traditionally it's been development, defense and democracy. we need to focus on democracy. but you're not going to have good governance most of the time if people are not putting their own input into going to a country. we have cases of some leaders who have emerged. it's not sustainable becomes it -- because it comes about one man and covering all this stuff. we see transformation. going back to the point, transformation is happening. we see countries on one side and
it seems there is no avoiding change and they take the step to embrace that change subprocess doesn't collapse. also see what is happening in sudan. i think there is a framework here on the issues so i would say the onus is on us on the other side of the atlantic on guwahati. africa at large embraces the same values as the u.s., democracy, freedom, people know more about the cardassians then we do. [laughter]
they also describe the model get rich or die trying. they won well. >> on that point . i can come to you because you did mention others have noticed the strategic potential perhaps earlier than the u.s. has and from that view there can be an attention the longer-term focus on transportation and changing short-term interests the u.s. might see so they get ahead of competitors or enhance or maintain. can you talk about what you've seen in others and what the u.s. is pursuing under the new africa
strategy clicks >> i think that it's clear when you read the strategy part of the motivation is the realization that there are many other actors now making inroads into africa and some are competitors to the united states. the secretary prepared remarks referenced china on a number of occasions and china is of course the great concern for the united states for a whole host of reasons. one that is relevant given the government's discussion we are having is that china seems to assert in influence and the heavens and a host of ways one is the crushing of its companies there a study several years ago found around interviewing chinese enterprises depending which country they were in the
admitted to paying a bribe through the license or contract and that has a negative effect and then there's just the model of the chinese authoritarian system which is the most authoritarian it's been. when you look at what's happening where many of the 2 million ethnic and religious minorities are in education camps, so that is a negative model and affects the united states and its interest it's not just china. the gulf states that are involved in regions especially east africa and if the they can sometimes behave in ways that are not conducive to good governance where they may spread easy money around and things of
that nature so i think that the policy of the u.s. is still working on is both informed by that and to try to augment the u.s. position on the continent and serves as a positive countervailing force to some of these negative forces. >> maybe i could ask you how does this discussion we've been having here how are those seen in europe and paris and elsewhere are the same opportunities and challenges perceived and do they have the same objectives and concerns as those expressed in the africa policy obviously there's been cooperation or is there a potential for greater
convergence? >> how about the freedom. powerful nations close their strategic interest so they will converge if they have a common interest. they will not converge if they don't have any strategic common interests. it's interesting to see because things are changing very fast in africa but the minds in europe are not changing so fast because of fear. you can see in france are
it's different between africa and the united states because of the historical links that talk about the former powers. france or great britain or portugal, these countries have strong links with african countries but it is something depressed in this relationship. something not healthy and on the other hand things are changing because new generations like to break unhealthy relations. you have the africa of government for the same links as before and the new generations trying to open their mind and
they try to develop new relations with the united states, turkey, korea, japan, r. morocco. we are the cross work so in europe it is difficult to make people understand what is going on right now because of fear. maybe in a few years with new generation, but the future is a problem. imagine that someday there is something important going on now
and i don't know if it's something they can't appreciate the weight of history but it's possible if both parts try to work with migrants who lived there because they are french, british, spanish. that is a chance for europe to have people on this land. this is another story. >> for us on the side of the atlantic we talk about
>> there are realities. i think it behooves us in the partnership trading that people need to get. they've been really solid in the project going down the line because they really elevate the country. botswana is a country with challenges so there is a lot of room there for us. we need to start thinking beyond
approach or mechanism as a way to further the sale quick. >> any insights no. but i would say that i don't know what the market is for soybeans or the appetite which is part of the equation so obviously asia is a much larger market i don't know how long you can store soybeans for instance but i haven't heard any government or on the periphery i haven't heard
discussions around that. >> i am with a crisis group. i wonder in west africa with the united states pulling out 2000 troops we have stationed there as they march south , what does that signal for the future of security relations and democracy relations and what those look like in the region i think that is part of the challenge of how do we engage africa? if the second point of the strategy of counterterrorism
is pulling out what message do we stay and engage with the type of arms that africa needs? and that is recall the republican army that is the army that you present to the people the army outside of the politics there's only about six or seven of them. there again is a tremendous opportunity to find security and stability and to reflect the need of the local population is part of the challenge nobody seems to understand the angle i'm not criticizing them just saying it's such a unique system to
deal with the us military more than any other command so when those decisions are made which by the way is the same space as democracy because it is a breakdown of government it is the same coin really so it's very challenging i spent time in the military but i'm not an expert on africa. . >> i can supplement that the general address this and the drawdown will be about 600 troops it is happening in a staggered sequence. he has assured the war fighting function or capabilities will not be affected by the drawdowns that
will not happen immediately. so i think the problems that can be solved you can send 10000 troops that will not solve the problem. i think having a presence there is important but i don't think that's the critical key. >> on the radio to have those troops it is impossible to win but it is more difficult to win the war in africa but it is difficult because with the people.
you can rely only on military solutions for africa. as you can see with the d prc there is a huge number lapsing more than 20 years and then you see countries like nigeria or sudan but the industries and they try to gain their own liberty and independence because in these countries the military head of state is something interesting but they want a civil government not a
military government so that means from the democratic majority. i think people should live with stability or military stability authoritarian governments but this shows that they want to live free and not under military government or those international troops. so we should never forget why international troops are in africa. the final aim is to quit and to leave always but to be
involved in that military situation with the other regions of the world that is the same in africa. . >> can you talk more about suda sudan? i think the prime minister encourages them to mediate it with those movements what do you think the us should do or what more can the us do when it comes to sudan? when i get one more question from the second row then that's the second one - - the last question. >> i am a retired foreign service officer and i'm very fortunate to have worked in the region. the secretary had mentioned
how great it is to work so what you think about the educational investment from the united states institutions in africa? . >> thank you. a question on sudan and education. >> it is interesting what is happening there we must show we are behind them they face a very serious situation since yesterday 100 people died after being slaughtered by the army in the streets. that is the case of human rights they are.
democratic and human rights. and people who slaughtered the demonstrators in the streets , we know they were acting a few years ago now nobody talks about are for and what happens there but the situation is still very difficult and people are dying there and the killers are now in sudan when they are killing demonstrators. so the only thing you can do behind them you don't have to decide, they decide no it is
not finished. they want to kill the revolution and they want the power and i'm sure they do it but we have to make them feel we are behind them because they face something very tough. >> sometimes us and other countries overestimate the influences in certain countries. we do have a whole array of tools but they are only effective up to the point in sudan's case of the regime the core interest is to maintain power. they will not negotiate. that has to be forced in some way and the us will not do
that. they will somehow have to do that if they are able. so you have two removable forces the traditional military counsel saying it will not go peacefully and then the protesters who have proven they will not accept a cosmetic change without systemic reform so that israel's civilian led so something had to give on monday with the protesters with other cities in sudan and there are many other complications i expect there to be more. >> we heard algeria or sudan
this actually encapsulates the challenges people want to be at the table of decision-making but how do we engage and to air on the side of democracy and then to make it clear that that tries to help that. so to show that they have the will from within and that is to a lot of violence before and then to underscore the other point that makes that transition difficult elections
are not the only thing it is not a panacea but just to postpone the election if you have the right candidate it is a very fragile situation when you transition and then to turn over it's very important because all of these instances where people have the skill set and the leadership so we use in that strategy there is no counterterrorism. and definitely no democracy. >> thank you please join me to thank our panel. [applause]