Eleanor Goldfield hosts this week’s Project Censored Show. As US-China relations worsen, independent journalist Danny Haiphong says what lies at the root is the desperation of a US ruling class that sees its world dominance ebbing away. He adds that the US sanctions against China actually hurt the US more than China, and says the recent visits of high-ranking US officials are in fact “fake diplomacy.” Then in the second half of the program, what is behind the recent acts of resistance against foreign control in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso? Dr. Gnaka Lagoke looks at conditions in these West African nations, and sees a resurgence of Pan-Africanism.
Danny Haiphong is an independent international journalist. He’s the co-author of “American Exceptionalism and American Innocence.” His work can be found at dannyhaiphong.com.
Dr. Gnaka Lagoke is Assistant Professor of History and Pan-Africana Studies at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, and author of the book, “Laurent Gbagbo’s Trial and the Indictment of the International Criminal Court: A Pan-African Victory.”
Video of Interview with Danny Haiphong
Video of Interview with Dr. Gnaka Lagoke
Below is a Rough Transcript of the Interview with Danny Haiphong
Eleanor: Thank you, everyone, for joining us at the Project Censored radio show. We’re very glad to be joined right now by Danny Haiphong who is an independent journalist and analyst who hosts a YouTube show under his own name, and he is also co editor of Friends of Socialist China.
Danny, thanks so much for joining us.
Danny: Thanks so much for having me, Eleanor.
Eleanor: So I want to start with something that I feel like a lot of listeners might feel confused about because U. S. propaganda, um, but I was, I was perusing the State Department’s website, which I do in my free time,, and there’s a page called U. S. relations with Taiwan. And on that page, it says, quote, we do not support Taiwan independence, but it also recognizes them as quote, a leading democracy , and I’m wondering how you can square that circle. And also the recent upgrade of that relationship in late July: the Biden administration announced a 345 million weapons package for Taiwan.
And it marks the first time the U S has used new authority from Congress to transfer military equipment directly from Pentagon Inventory to Taiwan. It’s done under the Presidential drawdown authority, which is the same mechanism Washington uses to send weapons to Ukraine. So, Danny, starting with this , the, the, this, uh, odd relationship that the US has with Taiwan, can you tell us what exactly is going on there and what is this recent upgrade seemingly in, in aggression via the US?
Danny: Sure. So the United States, and if anyone, and I’m sure some of your listeners have been following, the United States has held a long standing contradictory relationship vis a vis Taiwan. On the one hand, if people were following kind of the flurry of so called diplomatic visits by the United States from Antony Blinken earlier in the summer to Janet Yellen to even William Burns, a CIA director who also announced that the CIA would be revamping its spy program, hoping to get better intelligence on China, ironically or unironically announcing this while in Beijing.
The policy that the United States has held with Taiwan has been one of, on the one hand, acknowledging the one China principle whenever it is necessary, meaning that whenever the United States has to actually meet face to face with Chinese officials, but on the other hand, in terms of policy and actions, doing the exact opposite.
The United States is signatory of three joint communiques beginning after Richard Nixon’s so called secret visit, Henry Kissinger’s meeting with, uh, Zhou Enlai and other Chinese officials at the time in the early 1970s. And one of them, the third joint communique, which was signed in the 1980s, actually states explicitly that the United States would eventually cease arms sales and arms deals to the island of Taiwan as part of upholding the one China principle.
Of course, the United States never did that. The United States has continued to supply arms to Taiwan, and China still recognizes this as a complete and utter violation of the one China principle, seeing such arming and such militarization as a clear indication that the United States actually supports the separation of Taiwan from China, meaning that the one China principle has effectively been null and void from the U. S. side.
And so this has continued. It’s only gotten worse. Each successive presidential administration from Obama to Trump, uh, and now Joe Biden has continued this policy. And at the same time, rhetorically has attempted to maintain some kind of neutral stance, but the fact of the matter is, is that each and every time these arms sales and arms deals occur, it is also coupled with equally contradictory rhetoric stating, as you said, Eleanor, that Taiwan is a leading democracy.
Of course, during Trump, you had huge pushes to get Taiwan’s recognition in the World Health Organization and other international bodies. There is a concerted effort to recognize Taiwan as a separate entity from China, which is in fact a declaration of war and the militarization certainly doesn’t help that because Taiwan is internationally recognized by the United Nations as a part of China, and most of the world recognizes Taiwan as part of China, and the United States supposedly recognizes Taiwan as part of China, and this means that the United States is even more aggressively pursuing what is maybe the most dangerous policy that exists in the world today.
Because a war between the U. S. and China. would lead to absolutely grave consequences for humanity.
Eleanor: Yeah, absolutely. And I, I want to get into that contradictory relationship because it does seem like the U. S. is trying to do all the things at once. And, and many analysts have pointed out that the U. S. has tried to backpedal, uh, their aggressive stance towards China in some like, you know, throwing the likes of Kissinger on a plane, which I mean, I hate Kissinger, but that seems like elder abuse, you know, Janet Yellen, sending Blinken in what North Korea’s KCNA news agencies, Jang Young Hak called a begging trip to avoid a fatal blow to the U. S. economy. , Jang Young Hak said, quote, it is the height of the double dealing with impudence peculiar to the U. S. to provoke first and then talk about the so called responsible control over divergence of opinion, end quote.
So I’m curious, what is your read on these recent diplomatic, so called trips to China? Do you think that in some ways the U. S. Empire is like, oh, wait, that was really, we went too far. What, what, what’s going on with that?
Danny: I think it’s a combination of things, but in the final analysis, in my opinion, it is fake diplomacy, because the United States, all throughout this time, regardless of whether it was Janet Yellen coming and bringing a message of what we want economic cooperation to continue, or there’s Antony Blinken saying that the United States indeed supports the one China principle, all of these diplomatic visits.
And then, of course, you mentioned Henry Kissinger, but it’s unclear with Henry Kissinger. I think that the United States probably had some hand or at least some ear to the ground on why Kissinger was going, perhaps was actually speaking to Kissinger about how this was an important visit to thaw ties to some degree, but at the same time, the way that that Kissinger visit transpired really did send a message that in fact, the United States, the current administration, the current ruling order has absolutely no grasp or control over its own diplomatic mission, meaning that the current administration actually can’t get anything done because they offer nothing.
And that’s what has happened over the course of the last several months. I call it fake diplomacy because nothing has changed policy wise. The United States has continued the trade war. Janet Yellen made absolutely no ground in eliminating this absolutely counterintuitive and counterproductive trade war, which mainly affects the United States.
There has been no let up of sanctions on China, on its high tech industry, on 5G, on Huawei or anything else, and in fact, the Biden administration has just leveled a partial investment ban on China, which is also going to hurt the United States economy in fact, probably more than it’s going to hurt China, despite all the media hype.
When I was in China, a lot of the talk about the economic slowdown globally was spoken more about as inconveniences, rather than something that was going to cause devastation. But at the same time, the United States has actually suffered more from its sanctions, not just on China, but also on Russia. All of this has escalated inflation.
It has also dragged the United States economy into backwardness. Much of the United States doesn’t have access to a lot of this technology, and most of it is too costly when it is produced by the United States. So, The diplomacy between the U. S. and China has been mainly fake from the U. S. side because it comes without what diplomacy really does involve, which is compromise, which is trying to meet parties halfway, trying to give something while also getting something. That is the definition of diplomacy. And the United States has given nothing to China, making it so that China has had to become more self reliant. And I think this is both positive, but also it is negative in the sense that, that self reliance comes with the need to defend yourself from possible aggression.
And that aggression is the dangerous part here. It is the United States continuing the military encirclement, the sanctions, all of these policies. And, of course, we know that the United States has invested more than half of its military assets into militarizing this part of the world in order to contain China.
So that’s where the danger lies. And that’s what is not changing despite all of these so called talks. I have suspicions that these talks are more about getting them out of the way, getting out, getting out of the way this kind of global facade, trying to send a message to the world that the U. S. is somewhat serious about diplomacy so that when the 2024 election actually heats up in the United States, the Biden administration and whoever his opponent may be can get back to the business of being so called tough on China and ramp up these escalatory and aggressive policies toward it.
Eleanor: Yeah, all in the name of our so called democratic convictions. I want to talk about your trip to China in a moment, but you mentioned Huawei and the semiconductor export ban, and I want to discuss that for a minute because I feel like it’s important.
At the core of this, it’s about U. S. hegemony and the struggle of a dying empire to try and kick other nations down the ladder as it inevitably falls down itself. And so the TikTok hearings, the semiconductor export ban, it seems like trying to keep China down economically to make sure that China remains a workhorse for the sake of U. S. imperialism, but does not rise above that.
Do you feel like that’s a correct analysis, first of all? And secondly, do you feel that the U. S. would actually be willing to wage a hot war in order to try and ensure that China stays below it on this ladder?
Danny: Well, the latter question may appear difficult to answer, but in fact, we have had many indications from the U. S. national security state itself uh, through leaked memos, for example, Mike Minahan’s, leaked memo, the top Air Force general. Not only was one of his memos leaked where he said, aim for the head when preparing for war with China by 2025, but also he went on NBC News not so long ago, I believe it’s within the last month, and he said that he does not take anything back from what he, uh, said in that memo.
And in fact, the only thing he said in regret to those comments was, oh, he wasn’t trying to scare anybody, but we have to be ready. And, of course, NBC News, in typical war mongering stenographer style, uh, all the reporter had to say was, well, are we ready? And that’s the mentality, right? That’s the mentality that the U. S. foreign policy establishment, and really the entirety of the U. S. elite , save for perhaps the, unspoken grumblings of certain aspects of the, capitalist class, the business class have, it’s, it’s, it’s really a majority opinion: that war with China is becoming more and more necessary.
So will a hot war occur?
It’s hard to say. It’s hard to say when but indeed, we have major forces within the U. S. national security state preparing for it.
And in terms of the policy that the U. S. is pursuing with China, all of it, you are correct, all of it is to try to weaken China to arrest its development and ensure that China remains second class to the United States.
That ship has really already sailed. So it actually is an effort that is futile. China already leads, you can read the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, where they mentioned that China does, out of two thirds of all of the high tech sector, the most advanced technologies in the world, China leads them.
And that’s not even to mention all the other areas that China leads from poverty, alleviation to renewable energy and environmental preservation to technology as stated, and of course, to high to high class and first class infrastructure. So China is already the world leader in many different areas. Its living standards are rising, people are living longer in China, and the exact opposite is happening in the United States.
And what is ironic about the policy that the United States is pursuing, and perhaps this is by design, is that as the United States becomes more and more aggressive toward China, the conditions in the United States actually become worse and worse. And I do think that there is a relationship there. It’s not just that the trade war actually is taking hundreds of billions of dollars worth of business and potential investment, in, in the United States that would benefit people, that would give people jobs, that would help people, uh, live better, but it’s also the fact that the United States is investing trillions in its war machine, trillions of unspoken dollars and undocumented dollars. But of course, we know that the military budget is openly and publicly near a trillion dollars, and much of that is going toward this effort to contain China.
And with that bloated military budget also comes an investment climate which relies upon military contractors, Wall Street speculation. None of these things, weapons production, uh, financial speculation, none of it lends itself to actually bettering the conditions of people in the United States.
And that’s why there is a deep relationship between this effort to contain China and the decline of the American empire internally.
And that is going to continue. And that is really where I think the huge contradiction lies and where people can actually start to wake up and see that this isn’t working for them. But at the same time, yes, all of the policies, while they’re supposed to arrest China’s development, actually are having the exact opposite effect.
Eleanor: So, and I want to, I want to talk to you about your trip to China because there is obviously so much, and that alone could be a book, much less a question in a, in an interview.
But, uh, I’m curious what, what your trip to China was about and, ,what you can bring back in terms of breaking down the propagandization that happens to people who are just looking at China through the lens of U. S. empire.
Danny: Sure. So the trip was organized by the Chinese Association for International Understanding, which is an NGO in China that operates under the auspices of the International Department of the Communist Party of China.
Surprise, surprise, many people may not know this, but there aren’t really private NGOs or these private tour groups that are taking people around China just to frolic and, you know, have fun and see the tourist sites. China, actually, most of its tourism is for Chinese people and it’s for the people there. And of course, with COVID and the economic slowdown, there’s been a lot of, uh, not even intentional decoupling, but for the fact that China had a very strict COVID policy and the fact that there are higher tensions around the world, specifically coming from the West. There is a lot less of that going on, a lot less, just people traveling to China, but it doesn’t really have the reputation for being a tourism center. And that’s because China does focus a lot on stimulating its own domestic economy.
And so when I was there, the trip was actually on the Global Civilization Initiative, which is one of three initiatives that Xi Jinping and the current Chinese government has put forth. There’s a global security initiative, there’s a global development initiative, and there’s a global civilization initiative.
And these three initiatives cover various areas in which China is trying to put forth a vision for how its modernization and how its growth and development as a world leader in many areas can be projected in a manner that’s respectful to other countries and adheres to the principles that the Communist Party of China and Chinese leadership have set forth.
And with Global Civilization Initiative, it’s a lot of we are working together with win win cooperation and non interference and ensuring that our relations with other peoples and nations are peaceful, but also taking a look at how does culture come into play? How do we ensure that the more we become integrated as , a planet and as a world that we begin to assert the fact that China is not just a country, but a civilization: 56 ethnic groups, thousands of years of history, and look at much of the global south in the same way, given that the history of the African continent of Asia, of Latin America, of all across the world, there’s these robust civilizations everywhere that China wants to learn more about. And also China wants to project a vision where people can learn from its culture.
And so that was the purpose of the visit was to focus on this global civilization initiative. I was part of one delegation, people from all around the world, there were politicians, there were diplomats, former diplomats, there were academics and experts and these kinds of people.
And it was a couple of days in Beijing for that conference and then the rest of the trip I spent with a delegation going from Beijing. To Lanzhou, which is in western China, Gansu province. We also went to Dunhuang, which is also in Gansu province, a westernmost province that actually borders Xinjiang province. And then we ended in Shanghai.
For this trip, there was a lot of talk about the Global Civilization Initiative, looking at the cultural development, the preservation of culture, understanding how Chinese culture is integrated with the world, how China is attempting to use its modernization, not as a force for hegemony and overtaking other people’s culture, but how it’s trying to understand people better, nations better, in order to ensure that all of these areas, development, security, et cetera, are integrated and don’t interfere with the livelihoods of other people. And so we did a lot of meeting. We met with some officials, with some folks, we visited, for example, the Shanghai Institutes for , International studies, we visited, the Dunhuang Academy and spoke with them, we saw a beautiful play at the Grand Theater at Dunhuang, so we did things like that.
It was a very interesting experience. I think it was, it was, it was very tiring because traveling around China is a huge country. But at the same time, what you learn when you go to China to, when you actually speak to people, and I spoke to many party members, young party members, there is a sense of both confidence, but also, there’s definitely a foreboding.
There is an understanding that the United States is on a reckless path. The amount of questions I got about that were very numerous. And there’s a sense that China and Chinese people are prepared for this.
People in China are very aware of the circumstances and situations that it faces, and that it really is our job to make people aware, not just of that, but also of the fact that we are not in that particular position, that we have a lot more work to do to ensure that this kind of conflict does not occur, and that people in the United States, people in the West are more informed, and not just more informed, but also more educated about the fact that all of the ideological, you mentioned American exceptionalism, all these ideological underpinnings and baggage that the United States and the West carries with it has to be countered and has to be rejected altogether because it does, it is not conducive toward reversing this absolutely reckless course that the US is on and that it’s trying to drag its so called partners along with it.
Eleanor: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for that, rundown. So finally, wrapping up here, Danny, I want to, there’s a BRICS meeting happening soon, and, I wanted to hear what your thoughts are, there’s a lot of talk of, oh, these countries will be admitted, oh, Xi Jinping is going to be there, and so that means that these big decisions are going to be made, and new countries are going to go in, and what is the U. S. going to do, and it’s the end of, it’s the end of the world as we know it. What is your feeling about this upcoming, , BRICS summit?
Danny: Well, if the end of the world is the continuing decline of unipolarity and U. S. hegemony, then yes, this latest BRICS meeting will be another kind of rubber stamp on that development.
It will continue to, it will be part of, the facilitation of that process, but at the same time, a lot of what BRICS is going to discuss from a potential new currency to adding new members to other financial security and other kind of mechanisms for closer cooperation, all of it is going to take time.
So, the panic, really, on the side of the United States, and of course the West and the Western mainstream media, is really about the fact that just the existence of BRICS itself as a cohesive and growing block, the fact that the BRICS country’s share of GDP surpasses that of the G7 at this moment, and purchasing power parity terms, it’s just off the charts in terms of how much it has surpassed the G7 countries, the biggest Western countries in the world.
And the fact that we have gone from a multilateral institution that at one point was just BRIC before 20 10, and then, and then South Africa was admitted. And now it is BRICS, but even over that, you know, five to seven, eight, nine year period, BRICS was not really as coordinated as it has become in the last three or so years, not just because of the world economic slowdown and shakeup, but also because of something like the conflict in Ukraine, where that proxy war led by the U. S. and NATO and all the European vassals of the United States. That conflict has accelerated this process of de dollarization because countries are recognizing more and more that it’s not just small countries that are due to be sanctioned into starvation. Russia right now is the most sanctioned country in the world, and yet has been able to overcome that by facilitating and catalyzing a process like de dollarization and using its own resources for its domestic economy and other countries have, while maybe already doing that, in some respect have seen that this process has to be accelerated. And that’s what BRICS has been doing. That’s what the BRICS countries have been doing bilaterally. And now multilaterally, this summit will represent another stage of that process.
So BRICS, in effect, might be, while it is, perhaps the most dangerous for Western hegemony and unipolarity because it brings together these huge countries that are operating together to facilitate this kind of process, we also have institutions like Shanghai Cooperation Organization led by China, but it is a security framework that has several global South countries with recently admitted Iran in it. And then you also have the Russia and China led multilateral institutions like Belt and Road Initiative, the China side, the Eurasian Economic Union. These are actually bigger and perhaps even more effective in the sense that they have pursued integration economically with the global south in such a rapid manner that it only stands to reason that these countries are going to be, and arguably already are, looked at more favorably by much of the world in terms of investment and trade than the United States and the West at this point.
BRICS coming together and working through these divisions to come up with frameworks that can accelerate economic cooperation and potentially a new currency and a whole new mechanism and several mechanisms to drop the U. S. dollar is really a proverbial nail in the coffin that regardless of how long it takes to get that nail into the fabric of the world economy, it’s happening and it’s not going to stop.
There is no arresting this process and that’s why you see these desperate attempts by the United States. You had Modi visit recently this past summer, uh, last month, late July, you have had attempts by the Western mainstream media to plant these kind of misinformation stories from anonymous officials about Brazil not wanting expanded membership, about Modi maybe not attending the BRICS Summit. All of this is to try to sow discord within BRICS and it really is desperate. It really is more a public relations campaign, trying to not just minimize BRICS significance but delegitimize it in world public opinion, and it’s just not going to work.
Below is a Rough Transcript of the Interview with Dr. Gnaka Lagoke
Eleanor: Thank you so much for joining us at the Project Censored Radio Show. We’re very glad right now to be joined by Dr. Gnaka Lagoke, who’s Assistant Professor of History and Pan Africana Studies at Lincoln University and author of the book Laurent Gbagbo’s Trial and the Indictment of the International Criminal Court: a Pan African Victory.
Dr. Lagoke, thank you so much for joining us.
Dr. Lagoke: Thank you very much, Eleanor, for having me.
Eleanor: So, Dr. Lagoke I wanted to start with some context here for listeners, so I apologize if this feels a bit long winded, but I want to get this out of the way so that we can dive into your expertise and not have to go through basic, ideas.
The recent news for folks who have not heard, from Niger that came on August 6th, that all uranium and gold exports to France would be suspended. And this came just, , days after General Abdourahamane Tchiani, head of the Presidential Guard, was proclaimed the new leader of Niger, and assumed the presidency of the National Council for the Protection of the Homeland, after having ousted the Western backed President Mohamed Bazoum.
And according to a recent article in Orinoco Tribune, excuse me, quote, Niger is in fact the main supplier of uranium to the EU, covering 24% of its needs. And yet in comparison, the World Bank data from 2021, only 18. 6% of the 27 million people living in Niger have access to electricity. And following the coup, the West announced and imposed sanctions on Niger and, just some, some quick backstory on Niger.
All former French colonies in Africa, including Niger, much like what France did with Haiti with the demand for reparations, yes, they demanded reparations for the loss of slave labor following the 1804 independence of Haiti , France forced former colonies in Africa to sign quote unquote cooperation agreements, which gave France rights to national resources, military presence, and essentially total economic control that benefited France and continued to exploit these nations as colonies in all but name.
And this was done primarily through the creation of the Franc of the Financial Community of Africa, or CFA Franc as it’s known. Now, as I understand it, Niger still does use the CFA franc, which essentially acts as a pipeline funneling wealth to France. And so, Dr. Lagoke, with all of that , with Niger announcing that they were going to stop these exports, is there a way for them to funnel these resources back into their own economy or work with nations that don’t care about, uh, sanctions from the U. S. or, or, or European nations?
Dr. Lagoke: Oh, yeah. , thanks very much, you know, for the background that you gave. It is marvelous. So if anyone did not know what was happening in Francophone Africa, listening to your introduction, you know, people have a clear understanding.
The Francophone African countries, they are in the process of what I call a second golden age of Pan Africanism. And then, uh, so there are several people’s power movements, we don’t have time, you know, to go into details, but we can talk quickly about, the trial of the former president Laurent Gbagbo from Ivory Coast. And then how he was taken to the Hague, bombed by the French and the United Nations soldiers, and then believed to have lost the election, defeated militarily, and he was taken to the Hague. This revolted many Africans. Even though the mobilization around this trial is not as great as you what we see with Niger today, but already there were already a great number of Africans who thought that this was not possible and that they needed to fight against it.
And we saw the People’s Power Movement later on in Senegal, 2012, Boko Haram, 2014. And then today, like start after, in the aftermath of, of, of Covid 19, we saw another series of people’s power movement that let now the officers to take over. And then now the question is not about democracy. It is about the sovereignty and the, and the conquest or the reconquest of African economic wealth. Now, and then also because African countries want to, they have the right you know, to diversify their partners. And then usually people think that, you know, the Russians, you know, the bad guys, no, we should not, we should not do trade with Russians or Chinese or that we have to be exclusively with the West, but it is not functioning. And now, Mali showed it, and then Niger is going to do it, and then they’re going to multiply their economic partners, and for us it is an opportunity for Africa, you know, to be a little bit freer. So this is what, this is what we think about that. Yeah.
Eleanor: Absolutely, and you mentioned some other, some other, countries in that same area, and it really does seem like it’s, it’s regional. For instance, uh, Mali in June called for the UN to exit Mali citing human rights abuses, , and expanding their ire to NATO for bolstering NATO’s destruction of Libya.
And in July, Mali voted on a new constitution that includes removing French as the official language. , Burkina Faso demanded all troops leave in 2022. And ECOWAS, the economic community of West African states, initially drew up a plan for invading Niger. And ECOWAS is what, uh, Ajamu Baraka in a recent article called the Blackface for Western Colonial Powers, but then on August 5th, the Nigerian Senate voted to not support a military invention, despite Nigeria’s President Tinubu being the chair of ECOWAS.
So Algeria has also said that it would not sit on the sidelines if Western powers attacked Niger, and Guinea has said similarly. So I’m curious, what, what do we see happening here? Is this, I mean, you mentioned a new revival for Pan Africanism, but do you think that this is going to spread even further to countries beyond Western Africa? Or how do you see this multiplying after what’s been going on in that region already?
Dr. Lagoke: Yeah. Thank you very much again, you know, for that question. Uh, there is a real revival of Pan Africanism and it is a, there is a consolidation of the Pan African consciousness.
There are many people who do not want a military intervention in Niger. And then at the same time, they think that it is a historical opportunity to say to the West: enough is enough. You cannot continue to plunder our resources for 600 years, and then we’re going to be in each African country, each Francophone African country you have at least 50% of the people who are living like, like in serious poverty. So, uh, the reason why ECOWAS wanting to do a military intervention for their own interest, even though they were deleted, even though they were activated, manipulated and pushed by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, is because they were afraid to be taken out of power by those officers.
But, we are in a revolutionary process. If a leader wants to side with the French, like Bazoum did, you have many chances to be ousted, you know, by your officers or by the street. So, I think they seem to understand now, that’s why many of them, contrary to what people say, do not want to do, to oppose, you know, the people and the will of the people.
So it is going to spread, because, they don’t want to lose face. I’m talking about the ECOWAS leaders, particularly Tinubu, or the president of Senegal. But we know that there are some serious internal problems in Senegal. Nobody knows how it’s going to end. Mr. Outtara in Ivory Coast has been there supported by the West, by France, the United States, and then even though he has the feeling that there is a kind of peace in Ivory Coast, people are waiting for the opportunity to do the same thing that is that the people have been doing like in the, in the region. So it is going to spread. And then it is a very important moment, and it can go beyond West Africa.
Uh, so, we have to watch the elections in Gabon. We don’t know how it’s going to play out over there, but, you know, it’s the, it’s the, it’s the moment when Africans think that, you know, they have to take their destiny into their hands. So this is what we are seeing.
Eleanor: Yeah, absolutely. And I, and I wanted to ask, I mean, the, there’s been a, an ousting of French power, but I’m also curious about the US because in, in Niger well, it was the U. S. Air Force called it the largest base building effort ever undertaken by troops in the history of the Air Force. And this is the military base called Agadez, , and it cost over a hundred million dollars to build and serves as a launching pad for drone strikes in West Africa.
And I’m curious are there calls in Niger from the people to say, get rid of this base, get rid of our land being a base for U. S. imperialism in this region? Is that, is that part of it or is, or is it really directed right now predominantly to France?
Dr. Lagoke: That’s a beautiful question. Again, there were when people were taken to the streets like last year or like two years ago in Mali, Burkina, even in Niger, people were saying that all the military bases needed to leave the African continent, you know, so you can see that they said that all of them, but right now, I think the focus is on the French because of the, the history of France in Africa and then also because, the United States in that particular conflict, they seem to be playing a different game that the French did not understand.
They have not antagonized, you know, the military leaders , but, eventually, if it is not now, uh, soon, we will see that, people are going to ask the United States, to respond to its presence in those African countries, because, they cannot say that they are there to fight against terrorism.
So if they are there and people are being killed, so what is the, what is the purpose of your presence? But, the process has started and it is now in France, it seems to be the target and France is like the enemy, if I can use that, or the adversary, if I can say that, but beyond France, it is the Western neocolonial power that Africans do not want, uh, to be under any more.
Right. And I
Eleanor: wanted to ask about that too, because in the decision by the Nigerian Senate to, to not agree with a plan for invading Niger, the Senate statement said that quote, our military is highly ill equipped and not prepared to fight any war. And the federal government should focus on solving the Boko Haram, banditry and ESN IPOB menaces instead of contemplating going to war in a foreign country, end quote.
And I was like, oh, well, the United States says that they’re hard at work trying to fight the likes of Boko Haram and terrorism, but obviously, as, as you noted, that’s not happening. So what is the perception of folks in that region of what the U. S. ‘s presence is all about?
Dr. Lagoke: No, no, it’s the same thing. No, no one can be fooled anymore.
The United States, uh, France, Germany, I even, like heard that there are 400 Germans, military in, in Niger. So there are multiple forces, in Mali, there were even many more over there. Like we’ve got all those missions of under the United Nations, in Mali, and then the Malians say, you know what? You guys are here, you are not helping us. We’re being killed, civilians and soldiers, and then we know now that you are here for your geostrategic interest or for your national interest. You are not here, you know to support Niger. So that’s the conversation that people are having.
The time has come for Africans, you know, to also hope and aspire to be free and aspire to enjoy their resources and those resources should not be used and to be in the hands of the Westerners.
So that’s the conversation.
Eleanor: absolutely. And I, I have to say when I was reading, the statements about, ending uranium and gold exports, , by Abdourahamane Tiani, I thought about, what had happened not so long ago in 1961 in the Congo when Patrice Lumumba was elected and promised to take control of the country’s resources only to then be assassinated.
And the United States fingerprints were, of course, all over that, and I’m curious, what should we expect to see? I mean, the United States right now seems to be, as you said, not, uh, taking such an antagonistic role as France, but the U. S. has such a long history of murdering democratically elected or leftist leaning leaders in African nations.
What do you think that we should expect to see from the United States if Niger continues on this path?
Dr. Lagoke: Yeah. So, this conversation is a beautiful one. Uh, uh, Eleanor. It’s a beautiful conversation. Because one of the things that many people do not remember, when they talk about Africa, it is what I call the tragedy of the African leadership.
You know, you mentioned President Lamumba in 1961, but the Europeans or America, they have used different type of methods and strategies and then the French to, to undermine, to politically eliminate, nationalist leaders across the globe, particularly in Africa, and then to even kill, many of them. In 1958 when Sekou Toure said no to, to, you know, to France, to the French, the French African community, he was ostracized, and we know the story.
’59 Boganda in the Central African Republic was going to be assassinated, ’61 Patrice Lamumba. ’63, the first president of Togo who wanted to leave the CFA Franc Zone to create his own currency on the eve of his trip to France as he was invited to go and signed the document, there was a bloody coup d’etat, he was assassinated.
’64 Nelson Mandela was going to be in prison for 27 years. And then, Malcolm X here was killed in 1965, and February 24, 1966, Kwame Nkrumah was going to be overthrown. He was the greatest champion of Pan Africanism, of African sovereignty, and African unity, overthrown. And then, ’68, Dr. King was going to be assassinated.
So, can you see, like, in 10 years, the greatest that Africa or the people of African descent can produce, they have been liquid, they’ve been eliminated, or they’ve been killed, they’ve been imprisoned. That’s the fate and the tragedy of Africa. People need to understand that. The same thing that we see today with Burkina Faso, with Mali, with Niger, it happened in Africa, and then even though those we see today, they’re doing great things, we even have greater leaders than the one we’re seeing today. And then they were destroyed.
There was a lady called Dr. Susan Williams. She wrote a book called White Malice: the CIA, the CIA undercover role to recolonize Africa. So she talks about all those things.
But so we don’t think that America is going to change, you know, we don’t think America is going to change overnight. China is rising and Russia is back. And then then there are other powers that are claiming the right to become also superpowers. I don’t see how America is going to adjust. And I don’t see how France is going to adjust.
But, so what I tell African is that they need to master the art of winning a war against the Westerners without having to fight the war.
So, and this can only be possible through raising the awareness, through mobilization and then sharing the right information, building alliances, uh, with, , Africans, the people of African descent, particularly, in the name of internationalism, white people, Indian who believe in freedom and justice, and it has always been like that, uh, it is only that, that can prevent the assassination of leaders.
Because, you know, they have all the power, the intelligence power, everything that you can imagine. But guess what? We are here, and we’re not going anywhere, and then we’re doing our mission, and then we will be talking, we’ll be fighting, and then we are winning some victories.
And the book that I wrote, Laurent Gbagbo that’s why I put that title, Pan African Victory, because they thought they were so powerful. That they can go bomb a country, take a leader, put him in prison, and then they thought that, you know, it was over. But Africans said, no. We, people mobilized.
We did it. And Gbagbo was freed. That was already a major Pan African victory. And since what Mali is doing, Burkina, there are so many Pan African victories.
Africans or people of African descent, we cannot continue to be seen as slaves for 600 years. That is the only thing that we are talking about. We don’t have the power to go and kill white people. There are many beautiful white people like you who are supporting freedom and justice in the world. And then there are many in South Africa who fought, you know, fought to end apartheid. But we have to make people understand you cannot exploit the resources of African countries or take the uranium of, of, of Niger. And then 70% of the country does not have electricity. That is the basic conversation we try to have with those who are leading those Western powers.
So that, but they care about the geostrategic interest, putting military bases here, listening to people, scaring people, it cannot always work. So our generation want to make a point.
And if yesterday it was Pan Africanism of the leaders, today it is Pan Africanism of the masses. In the age of the new information technology revolution.
That’s why it is a little bit difficult for them to go and destroy the leader, if not they would have done it.
Eleanor: Yeah, and that’s beautiful. Thank you for putting it that way, because I think, you know, just like you mentioned with what happened here in the United States with regards to Malcolm X and Dr. King, that drew, it was such a huge blow to those movements because it was easy for the United States to pick a leader. But if it’s all of the masses of people that have, they’re on the same page fighting that revolution, it’s a lot more difficult to, to, to kill it.
And I’m also curious about Russia because of course, you know, Russia’s evil as, as the U. S. likes to say, , but Russia also has a role in Africa. And I’m curious how that, how that’s perceived because Russia’s also talked about, you know, removing debt with regards to African nations. And, uh, there were images from Niger where people were flying the Russian flag.
What, how, how is Russia seen in, in this, in this image? Is it considered a Western colonial power? Or is it considered, oh, you could be a partner in helping Get us away from, these colonialist, , forces.
Dr. Lagoke: Yeah, so thank you, you know, Eleanor, thank you so much. I was on, when I was on Voice of America, last week, you know, they asked me the same question. Because one thing people do not want to see is that everything that we see today, it happened already. Russia was at the Berlin Conference like the United States, but they did not, uh, you know, decide, you know, to be part of those European countries that partition Africa or to take some territories.
So Russia does not have the history of a colony or of a colonizers in Africa. This, the European cannot, they cannot change that. So they cannot make African believe that Russians are evil or the Russians are exploiters, colonizers, Russians are enslavers.
They cannot say that to the Africans. It is impossible. Because the history of Africa, when African countries were fighting against colonialism, there were three major countries that fought on the side of Africa. Three major. The first country to support the revolution or the right for Africans to be free was Russia. After the Bolshevik revolution, that’s, this is history.
They cannot change that. That’s the reason why leaders like Modibo Keïta of Mali, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, of leader like Kwame Nkrumah, that’s why those leaders were claiming socialism because of the success, because of the, of, of the, of the success of, of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, because Lenin was on the side of those who were fighting, you know, to be free from colonialism.
This is history. Uh, not to go too far. When Cuba, this second country, when Cuba decided how to fight, you know, for the independence of those Portuguese colonies, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, Cuba sent troops. Thousands of soldiers in Angola are to fight for the independence of Angola and the battle in Angola somehow led to the independence of Namibia, which was like Southwest Africa, which was like a German colony. And then, which also eventually led, to, you know, the liberation of Nelson Mandela.
These are historical facts. No one can change that. China also, to a lesser extent, was also involved in the struggle for the independence of some countries in Africa. So, many Africans forgot that. And then, they were, because of, you know, the beautiful image of the West, uh, because of what the West offers to the world. And which I have to acknowledge, uh, are very charming and seducing. So many people would, do not want to remember that history of Africa.
Today, what Vladimir Putin is doing, and then I talk about that everywhere I go, uh, he decided to support the right for people to claim their respective sovereignties and that speech or that discord as narrative, it resonates very well so much in Africa that it does not even have to spend the money that France is spending in Africa or America to try and charm and seduce and scare people when people know that there’s someone, somebody, and also the war in Ukraine gave, like, destroyed the myth of the West.
So people know that, you know, if there is someone who can support us, same way yesterday his ancestor supported us to be free. So that’s why when they go and they take to the street, that’s why they have the Russian flags. No Russian is there to say, you know what, oh take this flag and show it everywhere.
So from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and then in all those countries, these people, this is what people are doing. There was a time, the French president Macron was saying that it’s the Russian propaganda, but now he’s not saying that anymore. He used to say that we were manipulated. How somebody of my generation, my age, everything that we learned, we’re going to be manipulated.
Millions of people in the streets are being manipulated by the Russian. That was so, anyway, like you said, we cannot use some words here, so I’m not going, I’m going to stop there.
Eleanor: I mean, it also speaks to the way that people like Macron perceive Africans, if he’s saying, Oh, you’re so easily manipulated, you can be, you can be charmed by Russia.
Well, that suggests that you think we’re all stupid. But then also, what if we just, like you said, what if we just read our history, and we know that this is what happened in the past, and these are the things that Russia has said today. And, yeah, so, , Dr. Lagoke thank you so much for this conversation and kind of wrapping up here , I’m curious, what would you, what would you say for people in the United States in terms of understanding better the, the relationship that the United States has with Africa and what would you suggest needs to happen for the people in the United States for that relationship to change?
Dr. Lagoke: It is only through internationalism that we need to build like a, like a greater coalition to be for reparation, for Africa to enjoy its resources, for the consolidation of African, African debt, uh, for reparation in the United States of, for any other battle. People have to transcend like races, uh, colors, like people have done that. It happened several, several, we saw that with the civil rights movement in the United States, the Black Lives Matter movement, we saw that here, the fight against apartheid when Mandela was in prison.
So we appreciate this interview, the work that you’re doing, and people like you, who are Americans, who are not Africans, who are not black people, but who understand that we need to come together to fight for freedom and justice. That’s a good thing. The second thing, uh, any information that you can share about it, because many in the world, I see many, they don’t know how Africa is exploited.
With all those corporations that exist in Africa, in the world in general, but I’m talking about Africa here, people need to know how they’re exploiting the people and how the people are suffering because of that exploitation. Some people did that, but we need to investigate and shed light on that particular exploitation on the continent of Africa.
Number three, we need to continue raising the awareness. And then, let’s watch and support people who are sincere in the struggle, so that, you know, this becomes not only, not just an African struggle, but a human rights, a human rights struggle, a struggle of the human race, because what we are living in Africa, like Thomas Sankara said, the people who are exploiting Africa are the people who are exploiting their own people, so we can see the power of corporations here in America, how they’ve been exploiting people here and there. So it is the same thing. So we have a common struggle. So let’s join hands.
Yes, it is good to ask the military bases to leave Africa, but it is not just about that. It is the primary reason why the military bases are there, it is because of the colonialist exploitation.
And I think that by focusing on that we will be advancing the cause of justice and freedom in Africa and in the world.
So that would be my last word.