BY | January 21, 2013

By Soroor Ahmed (NVONews.Com)

As Barack Husain Obama Jr and Joseph Robinette Biden Jr take oath for the second term on January 20, 2013 the focus of United States’ foreign policy shifted west and east of Iraq and Afghanistan––the two countries, which were in turmoil when he took over four years back.

West of Iraq not only means Syria, but Africa too. East to Afghanistan just does not mean Pakistan but East Asia, where China is increasingly flexing its muscle.

Iran, however, continues to remain in the spotlight ever since the Feb 11, 1979 Islamic Revolution and may continue to be so in years to come.

It is not that Iraq and Afghanistan do not attract American attention now. But what would be watched more carefully is the future role of the United States in the continent to which Obama’s father belonged. Incidentally, his Muslim father was a politician of Kenya, where Muslim form more than one-tenth of the population. His second oath taking coincided with the news that his half-brother is likely to join the politics in Kenya.

When Obama took over it was the eastern part of Africa, which was in the news for all the wrong reasons. Kenya’s neighbour, Somalia, was in turmoil. Further north Sudan was about to be divided.

But exactly four years later Maghreb, that is western and northern Africa, is witnessing upheaval. Tunisia saw an overthrow of a brutal dictator two years back and Egypt witnessed a revolution. The western alliance systematically destroyed Libya and gets its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, killed.

In Nigeria the Christian-Muslim tussle turned more bloody. Now it is the turn of Mali, where a close US ally, France, has intervened directly and is seeking support from others in the West.

So in the years to come Obama may get sucked into the politics of the continent of his forefathers. He is a different type of Afro-American––not the progeny of those taken as slave from the west African countries centuries back, but the son of a relatively well off east African, who went to the United States and married a White lady.

Though actually he has very little to do with his father as his parents got separated very early in his life, yet development in Africa may keep him pre-occupied in near future, at least.

The tragedy with Africa is that it is too far away from any big power, for example China or even Russia.

It is very close to Europe and has historical links with the United States––the entire Blacks population are from there.

So if there is balance of power in East and South-East Asia because of the presence of China in the vicinity, the western monopoly over Africa goes unchallenged. Even the Soviet Union during the high time of Communism could not do much to check the exploitation of Africa by the former imperialist masters.

True China has now much at stake in some of the African countries. It has invested a lot in that continent, but then it is far away a country. Chinese have not understood Africa in the way the West has. In the last couple of centuries the West has developed a close religious, linguistic and cultural affinity with Africa.

China has hardly any military and political say in Africa. It can not challenge the military intervention by even a small European country, say Belgium, in any central or western African country.

Africa is in that way the most unprotected continent which the imperialists have been prowling since 19th century.

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