It is impossible to guarantee peace by empowering just one side; instead, there must be a delicate balance of power between the two camps. Africa cannot and should not turn a blind eye while working on developing its mighty mussel. It is not promoting or provoking violence, but instead asking Africa to equip itself and defend its territorial integrity and citizens before it is too late.
Africa has always been the target of imperialist aggression, dating back to the 16th century. On the other hand, Africa has never posed a threat to the national security of any nation anywhere on the globe.
On March 19, 2011, a coalition of states led by NATO launched a military intervention in Libya, teaching Africa the worst lesson in modern history.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), also referred to as the North Atlantic Alliance, has proven to be a true destabilizing power. Undoubtedly, Africa is home to a group of fragile states that lack adequate military might. The global military arrangement must involve either the disarmament of all nations or the formation of a military alliance. Otherwise, a military balance of power that secures stability in every corner must be maintained. But an unbalanced axis of evil cannot be tolerated.
What are the current security concerns of NATO? Is it policing and maintaining international order for the benefit of its members? Unless we are really naive, it is not in humanity’s best interest for a military alliance to maintain peace and stability. Then why is NATO worried about the annexation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine if it is not in NATO territory? Exactly what does NATO’s worry about terrorist strikes in the Middle East entail? In what possible way can the influx of African people into Europe cause NATO concern? That indicates, quite simply, that its ultimate goal is not only to defend its member states but also to assure global dominance.
The people of Africa no longer have the luxury of debating the danger posed by NATO or any other military force that has the capacity to impose its supremacy over Africa. As a result, it is of the utmost importance for Africa to establish a collective defense force that can safeguard its population and the territorial integrity of its landmass and all of its shores. The appropriate African institutions, such as the African Union and the Peace and Security Council (PSC), should discuss the how, when, and other modalities.
A military alliance with Africa: Is it a distinct possibility or a challenge?
In the decades following the Cold War and throughout the 21st century, Africa, a continent fraught with crises, has faced substantial threats to its national security. As projected or expected, the end of the cold war did not lead to a reduction in warfare in Africa; instead, it exacerbated the situation, suggesting both internal armed conflicts and foreign interventions. Threats to internal security are posed by external forces in the form of ethnocentrism, religious prejudice, political instability, and orchestrated regime change.
Consequently, Africa’s internal and external security issues necessitate the continent relying on its military capability to address specific behaviors and possible crises.
Any military alliance with other parties should be founded on the capabilities and strength of African nations as a whole rather than from the standpoint of providing assistance with security gadgets. Security is beefed up not only to protect its population and the integrity of its territory but also to progress technological development and utilize science and technology for the benefit of Africa’s collective goods.
The security architecture in Africa needs to consider forming a military alliance with China, India, and Brazil. Essentially, the concept is a transatlantic version of the NATO alliance between Europe and the US. Before entering into any coalition, Africa should strengthen its security apparatus to the point where it can manufacture any technologically advanced equipment it needs for its military. Then an alliance would be formed out of practical considerations rather than altruism.
Is World War I and II an overstatement of geographical representation?
There must be data to support the claims made in the critical analysis. Can we consider the areas that make up Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia a part of the world, or should we call them a jungle? Simply put, the majority of nations did not participate in either of the World Wars. Why is it then referred to as a “world war”? Because those who participated are “civilized nations,” and their wealth makes them the world in the absence of others?
Please permit me to emphasize the fact that World Wars I and II did not occur. It is not a denial. There was no such occurrence, and there will never be one in the future unless everyone around the globe starts one. The two conflicts should be referred to together as the “transatlantic war.”
The first world war, sometimes referred to as “world war I,” was a significant conflict that started on July 28, 1914, and lasted until November 11, 1918. The countries that participated in the war were primarily Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey; the countries that were fighting on the side of the allies mainly were France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and the United States, starting in 1917.
In the same way, the Second World War began on September 1, 1939, and ended on September 2, 1945. The war that took place from 1939 to 1945 affected almost every part of the world. Germany, Italy, and Japan were part of the Axis, while France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China were part of the Allies.
We had been indoctrinated to believe that the globe ought to revolve around what are known as “civilized nations,” specifically Europe and the US. According to a recent statement made by a top European diplomat named Josep Borrell, who compared Europe to a “garden” and the rest of the world to a “jungle,” the rest of the world is irrelevant or not worth counting in many respects. As a direct consequence of this, we were taught about the World Wars from elementary school through college. That does not cover the continents of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America.
As part of the decolonization project of the African education system, we should change the way the so-called first and second world wars are written in history books. The fact that these claims were never chronicled in the history of Africa means that the conflict that took place between 1914 and 1945 should be referred to as a “transatlantic war” for the simple reason that the current and future generations of Africans must know that Africa has never fought a war against another nation. Thus, why do we teach our children falsehoods about the African states having never taken part in these wars?
Why do African nations spend excessively on military armaments?
One important distinction to keep in mind is the dissimilarity between national-level military expansion and the creation of a continental defense force. The goal of the continental security organization is to prevent harm to and safeguard African interests. So since the purpose of its military preparation is not to attack or oppose its neighboring countries, it begs the question: why are they spending the wealth of the nation with such callousness?
In the interest of clarity and argument, why do countries like Algeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Egypt, and South Africa need to have such enormous military forces? Why do most African countries allocate a significant portion of their resources to the military? Considering that most African nations are not arms producers, they must obtain their supply from other nations or pool their resources. At the same time, it is projected that they will raise expenditures on education and healthcare. Therefore, this does not imply that security is unimportant but instead serves to highlight the fact that Africa has superior possibilities to approach the security issue in novel ways.
Suppose Africa is able to construct a continental defense force. In that case, it will be able to spend money more wisely and produce a formidable military force that can prepare for and protect the continent from any danger. The advantages of a continental defense force are considerable, including reducing excessive military expenditures, preventing illegal military coups d’état, controlling foreign interventions, silencing the gun, and combating terrorist elements on the continent.
The theories go through revisions at regular intervals. From Charles Darwin’s concept of “survival of the fittest” to “survival of the adapted,” Africa needs to adapt to the living conditions of the 21st century to make progress. The notion emphasizes the significant security challenges that threaten to derail African progress and continental unification. In short, postcolonial Africa must derive its legitimacy from post-nationalism, with advocates redirecting their efforts toward a people-centered, bottom-up unity that includes non-state actors and the business sector.
In conclusion, the need for a collective African defense force is not only to deter military invasion but also to guarantee our internal development and restore human dignity. This is because these goals are incompatible with the current state of affairs. The unequal economic exploitation that has occurred in Africa for the past two centuries can only be undone by a rise in internal power.
(Seife Tadelle Kidane (PhD) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Pan African Thought and Conversation (IPATC); Department of Politics & International Relations, University of Johannesburg.)