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Zimbabwe’s Military Just Took Control of the Capital

Zimbabwe’s Military Just Took Control of the Capital | Upsetment | Scoop.it

 Here's what you need to know about the political crisis in Zimbabwe.The photo of Mugabe is two years old. 

Kenneth Weene's insight:
If lives were not involved, this would have operatic or perhaps bawdville (as opposed to vaudeville) tones. Post-colonial Africa has had more than its share of dictators and greed, but no country has had a more stable form of corruption than Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe has been running things since 1980. 

Will there someday be a broadway show titled "Grace" to commemorate this nonagenarian's wife? Not likely since she has no interest in the poor and downtrodden of her country only in her status and shoes, oh yes expensive shoes. 

However, my best guess is that the military will not remove him but allow Mugabe to serve as a figurehead. As for the economic disarray that his policies have caused, those will continue. It is unlikely that the next leader will have such widespread political and military respect and support and I feat that Zimbabwe will soon be in chaos. 

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'China has conquered Kenya': Inside Beijing's new strategy to win African hearts and minds

'China has conquered Kenya': Inside Beijing's new strategy to win African hearts and minds | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Beijing has invested billions in “soft power” campaigns aimed at convincing the world that China is a cultural and political success story. NowC it's backing it with digital infrastructure in Africa

Kenneth Weene's insight:
The British learned that rail roads were a key to empire. Both the Brits and the Americans relied on radio to build a sense of connection. Now, with The Voice of America basically starved and the BBC losing traction to a growing television orientation in Africa, China is offering the most modern television service possible. And, with China building the major railroad that will connect much of the central area of that continent with a reliable port city on The Indian Ocean, we may see a drifting away of Africa towards Beijing even as the "Dark Continent's" vast resources are being unearthed and as its people develop modern economies with real consumers. 

Yes, China is definitely working to build its role in Africa. One of the major effects of this television is greater awareness of Chinese language. In a part of the world where Swahili, English, and Arabic compete to become the lingua franca, just getting people to know a little Chinese becomes a powerful tool in bringing a new orientation to African trade. 

So, where is the US and its allies in this battle for the growing African consciousness? Well, we're selling guns and supplying planes. Not so much of that economic or social development stuff. Long gone is the vision of JFK that created the Peace Corps. Long gone is the economic assistance for development that gave us Food For Peace. Now, we have become the purveyors of war while the Chinese are offering their version of economic development. That model is a combination of state and private initiative, but the private has little to do with most of the people on the ground and the government has little to do with respect for the countries'' great beauty or national pride. This is Chinese colonialism at its best and the long goal of the entire Silk Road approach. 

What to do? First and foremost we need a task force including both state and private investment with clear goals and access to the best economic planners and geologists and with anthropologists to assist in the thinking. In other words, we need to follow the Chinese model but with a little better quality. Then we need to be willing to invest for the very long term and not worry about creating debt to us any more than we worried about creating debt when we gave away huge tracts of land to create rail roads in the west. 

While we're at it, we had best look to South America in the same way. 

So who are our natural allies in countering Chinese economic growth? Sure India, but that country is limited. Sure, Europe, but they are mired in the Balkans and Greece and many European countries aren't trusted in Africa and South America and for good reasons. So, let me suggest two allies: Russia and Iran. Can anybody besides me see that American foreign policy has to do a 180 degree pivot? 
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China pumps cash into African floating LNG projects in strategic push

China pumps cash into African floating LNG projects in strategic push | Upsetment | Scoop.it
China plans to pour almost $7 billion into floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) projects in Africa, betting on a largely untested technology in the hope that energy markets will recover by the time they start production in the early 2020s.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Of course, the big thing for China isn't just access to the natural gas reserves of Africa but also establishing Beijing's role as the premier great power in that continent. While America waits on big business profits and tries to play international policeman, Europe waits on Washington, and Russia tries to reclaim the treasures of central Asia, China works to become the next leader of the world. Hey, world, wake up. Warning. Either get into the race or learn to speak Chinese. Not that China's dominance would necessarily be bad. So far the Brits, Germans, Americans, French, Spanish, Moors, etc. haven't really done that well running the world. 
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China is building its first military base in Africa. America should be very nervous.

China is building its first military base in Africa. America should be very nervous. | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Africa is likely to become one of the biggest stories of 2016, and not because of some horrific new disease or harrowing new war. Instead, an unprecedented new dynamic is about to shape the continent. The U.S. and China, major powers with a minor footprint, are both poised for much deeper and more direct involvement in African affairs.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
One thing I agree with Mr. Trump on, at least as I hear him saying it: Russia is not necessarily our enemy and China is definitely our competitor. The latter is especially true in Africa and potentially in South America. While the US has allowed itself to be bogged down in the Middle East and preoccupied with oil and Israel, the Middle Kingdom is looking to the future and to the rare metals to be found in underdeveloped nations. And, they are looking to the trade that will bring those rare metals to Beijing rather than to the rustbelt of America, where new technologies are often viewed with fear about jobs lost rather than possibilities opening. 

Where I disagree with Mr. Trump is that bluster, braggadocio, and the insulting of old friends is not the way to combat the threat of China or to change the direction of events with Russia. We need to have our allies join us in reaching out to the underdeveloped world. As for Russia, Putin would not have risen to such dictatorial powers had America recognized the Bear's legitimate spheres of influence. Syria, The Ukraine, and the oil rich areas of the Stans are all historically part of the Russian ambit. Certainly, we had no business in Afghanistan after the fall of Soviet Communism. 

Much work to do in the world, and I honestly doubt that Mr. T. (or his Secretary of State) is up to the task. Of course, Obama went with Hillary at State and (IMHO) she was one of the worst SoSs in history. No vision and no execution. Kerry was a bit better. However, it is time for a major reset of American foreign policy. Where better to start than in Djibouti. Located at the entry to the Red Sea and right across the Bab-el-Mandeb strait from Yemen and essential to the security of the African Horn. 
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TomT 8A's curator insight, March 2, 10:19 PM
The article, 'China is building its first military base in Africa. America should be very nervous, by James Poulos is about China placing its military troops in Africa. The sudden involvement of China in Africa. Since China is placing more emphasis on Africa, it is most likely that African nations will supply China with more supplies than America. This can cause a big deal as Africa supplies much of America's supplies and natural resources. After China has agreed to build a military base between Somalia and Eritrea. Currently US and most of Europe is actively involved in the situation of ISIS in Syria. This year could cause a big deal as there could also be conflicts in Africa.

This article relates to our class because this is similar to the Cold War we discussed for a while. Since China has placed some military troops in Africa where America is currently supporting could cause a bit of military tension. This could lead to another Cold War if the issue isn't brought up to discuss. I found this article really interesting as many people are worried about when another nation's military troop are in a territory you are allied with. I would like to see how they would handle these situations and if this could be settled without any major conflicts or damage to one's economy.
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Fall armyworm 'threatens African farmers' livelihoods' - BBC News

Fall armyworm 'threatens African farmers' livelihoods' - BBC News | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Scientists say a pest that destroys maize is spreading rapidly across Africa and could reach Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Just what Africa doesn't need, another threat to its food production. Maize is a basic part of the diets of Africa and that crop is under threat. Will the developed world come to the aid of our brothers and sisters in the third-world or will we let loose the havoc of hunger? And in what manner will that assistance come. Will we help them fight this new plague or will we see this as an opportunity to force greater dependence on our charity and demand their resources and fealty in return? As China and America in particular wrestle for the advantage in much of Africa, it will be interesting to see if the planners in Washington can find a way to turn this potential disaster into something positive. 
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UN calls for urgent action to protect young women from HIV/Aids in Africa

UN calls for urgent action to protect young women from HIV/Aids in Africa | Upsetment | Scoop.it
UNAids chief says thousands of girls and young women are still being infected with HIV every week
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Sex is at once one of biology's greatest gifts to humans and one of her greatest curses. In the end, how token ourselves under control while still giving ourselves freedom and pleasure is the ultimate challenge. No simple solutions, but then what about humanity is ever simple? One thing I do know, religion isn't going to solve the problem of sexuality. I don't care what god you worship, that god is always going to center on the phallus and the vagina. That was what Freud knew and it hasn't changed since he said, "Hey, humans, recognize your preoccupation." 
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11 awe-inspiring African cities that are changing the face of urban living in the future.

11 awe-inspiring African cities that are changing the face of urban living in the future. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
These gleaming silver spires probably aren't the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Africa. But they should be.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There is so much poverty, warfare, and suffering in Africa that we sometimes lose sight of that continent's promise and possibilities. Hopefully, these great examples of architecture and urban planning will be reflected in maturing societies and political systems that will make the lives of ordinary Africans better. 
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The Other Reason Africa’s Elephants Are Dying

The Other Reason Africa’s Elephants Are Dying | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Other Reason Africa’s Elephants Are Dying « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Since it is unlikely that wild animals will learn to live with humans, it behooves us to learn how to live with them. Otherwise, we will kill off the beasts that fascinate us, that often bring tourism, and that deserve a place in our world. There must be a balance between human habitation and conservation. Of course, strangely, sometimes the problem is getting conservationists to realize that they have exceeded their goals. While Africa needs to protect its great animals, we in North America have to recognize that the grizzly population no longer requires protection. At least good news about one magnificent creature. 
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Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen

Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Africa’s $700 Billion Problem Waiting to Happen « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is an incredibly important and mostly ignored area of concern in the world. And let us not forget that in this same region are vast resources of petroleum and valuable minerals. It is time for the developed countries to work together to insure African development and peace or there will surely be chaos in the region and that may well spread to the world. 
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Drought-stricken Zimbabwe declares state of disaster

Drought-stricken Zimbabwe declares state of disaster | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The drought, which is hitting much of southern Africa, has devastated crops and sharply reduced rainfall
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Water, fresh water for drinking, bathing, and farming, is essential to life. The only water the people of Southern Africa can count on is their tears.
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Genocide Under Our Watch

Genocide Under Our Watch | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Newly declassified White House documents place Richard Clarke and Susan Rice at the forefront of U.S. efforts to limit a robust U.N. peacekeeping operation before and during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. (This was during the Clinton administration)

Kenneth Weene's insight:

If you ever saw the movie, Hotel Rwanda, you have some idea of the horror of those times. The failure of the United States administration to see the need for meaningful intervention then was, IMHO, a clear message to the world that for us Black lives do not matter, not in Africa and so by implication not in America. That our congress is willing to go to war over oil and lies in Iraq and to spend billions on that madness but is unwilling to help pay for United Nations' peacekeeping efforts throughout the world, especially in Africa, shows clearly that it is time for an overhaul of how congress functions. I do not suggest that we must police the world, far from that; but we must be part of the UN's meaningful efforts to keep the people of the world from destroying one another. 

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France's migrant 'cemetery' in Africa - BBC News

France's migrant 'cemetery' in Africa - BBC News | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Europe has been so transfixed by tragedies in the Mediterranean in recent years that a similar crisis in the Indian Ocean has gone almost unnoticed.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This is one of those stories that just makes me sad.

I'm not sure why this is France's responsibility rather than that of the rest of the Comoros Islands. This highlights one of the issues that remains from colonialism. When colonial powers were driven out or (as in this case) left at the request of the people, what obligation remained? France offered all the islands the choice; is she now responsible for those who said go? On the other hand, the overall culture and way of life had been disrupted under French rule. Sure, if you break it, you bought it; but exactly who broke this one? No simple answers, but perhaps the real goal should be to help the other islands develop economically, educationally, and medically and allow visitor visas for short stays based on less documentation.

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The Elephant Watcher

The Elephant Watcher | Upsetment | Scoop.it
As poachers grow bolder, Andrea Turkalo studies the behavior of a vanishing species.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

If we are going to save elephants and other animals of Africa, China will be a central player. The rich of China are the major consumers of animal parts, such as elephant tusks, that fuel the poaching. Ultimately, rational economic development and responsible government throughout Africa can only occur if the rest of the world supports those changes. The Iranian bullets found among poachers, the Russian and U.S. made weapons: all of that indicts the rest of the world in the destruction not only of animal life but also of African societies.

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America's shadow war in Africa

America's shadow war in Africa | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The U.S. has deployed at least 1,500 troops to the Sahel and sub-Saharan regions, with little public debate and what experts call an unclear strategy.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
We have become more and more involved in a never-ending war in Africa as Islamic militants push to convert and take over the countries in the arid Sahel and sub-Saharan regions. Sadly, not all the military operations in the world can end the ages-old belief of the Arab and other Muslim communities that theirs is a responsibility to force the Quran on others. Of course, the years of colonial rule followed by the chaos and for many the poverty of the post-independence years haven't helped. Sadly, the Euro-American response to this Islamic threat is military, which will surely backfire, but there is almost no growth of government, economy, or freedom in the countries involved so we are clearly going to lose the battle for hearts and minds. 

What would I be doing? Try to influence a change in the governments of the region by supporting those leaders who believed in democracy, education, freedom, and who were prepared to work for real economic growth, not simply getting wealth for themselves and their followers. While that kind of human-oriented policy might cost more, it might actually make a real difference. 

Of course, we are today seeing a growth in religiously dominated madness all over the world. Whether we are talking about the far-right Christians of America or the jihadists of the Middle East, or the Buddhists of Myanmar, all I see coming from such hyper-religiosity is pain, suffering, and hate. If there is a god, I cannot imagine that being sees much to like in the world of that being's creation. 

More and more, I think about Max, the defrocked priest in Widow's Walk. Haven't read it? You really should. https://www.amazon.com/Widows-Walk-Kenneth-Weene-ebook/dp/B004FN1VMO/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 
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Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Get Rid of African Refugees

Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Get Rid of African Refugees | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Get Rid of African Refugees « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Do not weep for the dead, they at least are at long last at peace. 

Let us not weep for those who still live, being pushed and prodded through the world, forced to seek shelter wherever they might and watching, always watching over their shoulders for the authorities who will harry them next. No, let us not weep for them, for are they not less than people? Do we not value them less than livestock that we treat them so mercilessly?

No, let us weep for ourselves, for the loss of our own humanity that we can allow such things to happen. For the loss of our own souls that we can become so indifferent to the tears of others.

This story is about the hypocrisy and dishonesty of Israel, but at another level it is the story of our world. Where are refugees welcome? Who will give them a place for their heads, even in a stable? 

When, if ever, we face our creator, what will be our defense—not as individuals but as a species? Forget a cleansing flood, forget global warming that will wipe us out, forget nature's revenge. Hell, we have one another and that's the worst condemnation of all. 
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In Senegal, Iran and Saudi Arabia vie for religious influence

In Senegal, Iran and Saudi Arabia vie for religious influence | Upsetment | Scoop.it

An exterior view of a branch of Iran's Al-Mustafa University which teaches Senegalese students Shi'ite Muslim theology in Dakar, Senegal, May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Edward McAllister

Kenneth Weene's insight:
As the influence of Islam grows in West Africa, which branch of that faith will become dominant and how will theology affect the countries in which Islam predominates? Enter the rivalry between Sunni dominated by our erstwhile friend Saudi Arabia and Shia dominated by our perceived enemy Iran. But, let's not forget that the extreme Sunni views of the Salafists. So which side should we be supporting? Is there a moderate but energizing form of Sunni Islam to which people in countries like Senegal might turn? For some time, I have been pointing out that the United States and the West in general (and even Russia) have failed to take part in the process by which Islam is entering the modern world. Where are the great Islamic thinkers who might oppose the destructiveness of Sharia and support the changes of modernity? Why are the great universities of the Euro-American world not helping to guide the development of the Muslim faith as places like Wittenberg helped to frame Christianity. Perhaps, and I say this with some thought, the problem in American universities is that we cannot see non-Judeao-Christian faiths as equal to our own but rather as esoteric topics. Big mistake. 
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Can crunchy caterpillars help tackle malnutrition in Burkina Faso?

Can crunchy caterpillars help tackle malnutrition in Burkina Faso? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
With acute malnutrition affecting more than 10% of people in Burkina Faso, an innovative startup is mass-producing dried shea caterpillars high in protein
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I wonder if they are coming out with chocolate covered caterpillars for us spoiled westerners. I also wonder how the birds of Burkina Faso feel about this. With just about 17 million people, this landlocked country has been suffering drought which has affected both nutrition and export earnings. Over 10% of the populations suffers from serious malnutrition. At least these caterpillars are a small step towards feeding them. 
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Report: U.N. gave arms to South Sudan rebels later implicated in massacre

Report: U.N. gave arms to South Sudan rebels later implicated in massacre | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The United Nations was slow to realize how the country’s conflict would explode, researchers say.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is easy to talk about peace, but to actually be an agent for peace is another, more difficult task. Sadly, when dealing with real situations, the United Nations is often a force for the negative. On the other hand, there isn't anybody doing better. Meanwhile, humans are killing one another in numbers reminiscent of lemmings. A little lower than angels? I think not. 
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People Share Messages Of Hope And Loss From The World’s Newest Country

People Share Messages Of Hope And Loss From The World’s Newest Country | Upsetment | Scoop.it
South Sudan marks its fifth year as an independent nation this week. For half that time, the country has been embroiled in civil war.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If we do not care for the refugee and the displaced persons, then we have lost that which makes us human, our capacity to care and to empathize. Nowhere is the need for help greater than in South Sudan. Yet, before that assistance can be given, the people of that new and troubled country must make peace with one another. Tribal differences and dissension will not allow South Sudan to prosper. Neither will the greed and concern for keeping control over the nation's wealth among those in power allow their country's people to find their voices or their opportunities. 
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Joseph Kony’s Former Bodyguards Are Now Helping U.S. Troops Hunt Him

Joseph Kony’s Former Bodyguards Are Now Helping U.S. Troops Hunt Him | Upsetment | Scoop.it
They were abducted as children and forced to protect a monster. Then one day, they turned on their master.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Working as I have been with a survivor of the war for South Sudanese independence who is wiring his memoir, I find stories like this really affect me. Personally, I am learning a great deal from my friend Deng, not simply about the details of these perilous times in Africa but also about the human spirit and the capacity to grow in the face of adversity. We are about 1/5th of the way through the book. Soon we will be looking for a publisher, one who can help get this story of strength and courage to the world. 
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Rebel Leader Riek Machar Returns to South Sudan—and Brings Hopes for Peace With Him

Rebel Leader Riek Machar Returns to South Sudan—and Brings Hopes for Peace With Him | Upsetment | Scoop.it
After a two-year exile, the former vice-president of South Sudan returns to the capital and, hopefully, brings peace with him
Kenneth Weene's insight:
One man who grew up the midst of this volatile and tribally riven country, who was part of the war for independence and who then came to the US is writing a memoir, and I am helping him. You can sample a chapter from that story at The Write Room Blog. http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=3728 
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Nigeria Is Coming Apart at the Seams

Nigeria Is Coming Apart at the Seams | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Nigeria Is Coming Apart at the Seams « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I recall the disaster that was Biafra independence and see in this story not only a reprise of that horror but a central problem of Africa. Tribal identity must give way to national unity for countries to prosper. 

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Inside The Tiny Police State With Seven Armies

Inside The Tiny Police State With Seven Armies | Upsetment | Scoop.it

A country with few people, few resources, very few freedoms, but great strategic value attracts many armies.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

Djibouti, where only mad dogs and Englishmen would go out in the noonday sun were it not for the endless opportunities to engage in nefarious activities.

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Another 22 elephants poisoned with cyanide in Zimbabwe reserve

Another 22 elephants poisoned with cyanide in Zimbabwe reserve | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Latest killings in Hwange national park make 62 elephants that have been poisoned by poachers for their ivory tusks in the African country in October
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Poaching elephants. Using poison. So disgusting that one can only marvel at the evil. I'm not a believer in the death penalty, but for these sub-humans I'd make an exception.

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The Iranian-Saudi Proxy Wars Come to Mali

The Iranian-Saudi Proxy Wars Come to Mali | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In schools, mosques, and cultural centers, Shiites and Sunnis are battling for African hearts and minds.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Allah forbid that the two main branches of Islam cooperate on educating the young. When the blood bath comes in this peaceful country, will anyone deserve the blessings of their god? Have you listened to my short story In My Father's House? https://soundcloud.com/kenneth-weene/in-my-fathers-house

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