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Thu Oct 31, 2019, 01:32 PM

One huge reason why Trump may be viewed as a Russian asset--by Russia, at least: Africa

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/world/europe/africa-russia-sochi.html?auth=login-email&login=email

The NYT article lays out a long-term effort at kicking American influence out of Africa, and replacing it with their own. They have been training Africans in Russia for between ten to twenty years, and these guys, now completely loyal to Russia and fluent in Russian, are flooding Africa spreading Russia's agenda while Trump's America twiddles its thumbs (or pulls out altogether), and cedes the terrain to Putin. This gives him more access to warm water ports, military bases, and a shot at grabbing cheap raw materials the Chinese have either left behind or not gotten to yet.

From the article:

SOCHI, Russia — Jose Matemulane said he left his native Mozambique nearly two decades ago, spent years studying in St. Petersburg and saw the Russian soul. Now he’s in the vanguard of Russia’s new foray onto his home continent, where he is spreading the word that working with Moscow to reduce the influence of Americans and other Westerners is in Africa’s best interests.
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Russia has been playing for power in Africa in recent years by sending arms, offering mercenaries, and cinching mining deals. More quietly, it has started to set up a low-profile infrastructure of political influence that bears echoes of the Kremlin’s strategy in Europe and the United States. And it is already identifying African politicians and activists who will carry its message.
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Mr. Matemulane runs a think tank called Afric, which describes itself on its website as “funded by donors with a common passion to foster Africa’s development,” without mentioning Russia. In an interview, though, Mr. Matemulane said the group was launched last year with support from a St. Petersburg businessman he declined to name.
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Earlier this year, for example, Russia’s ambassador to Ghana met with Albert Kofi Owusu, the head of Ghana’s main news agency, and discussed a proposal: Might Mr. Owusu distribute stories from Tass, a Russian state-controlled news service, to newspapers, websites and television stations in the West African country? Mr. Owusu said the proposal made sense, especially since his agency was already sharing Chinese state media reports. In October, Mr. Owusu was here on Russia’s glittering Black Sea coast, shaking hands with Mr. Putin.
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In an interview, Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, the foreign minister of Djibouti, ticked off countries that he said suffered as a result of misguided Western policies — Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon.

“Why shouldn’t we try a new approach? A new message?” Mr. Youssouf said. “Maybe Russia is the alternative.”
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There have definitely been some misguided Western policies, but places like Syria and Afghanistan are definitely two that have equally suffered under misguided policies of Russia. How convenient of Youssouf to leave that part out. How helpful of Trump and Pompeo to so completely dismantle our foreign service that we don't even have an apparatus in place to counter such an argument. If someone asks, "just whose side are Trump and Pompeo on, anyway?" we might not like the answer.

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