The Genuine Nature of Chinese Intentions in Sub-Saharan Africa – Peaceful Coexistence or New World Order?

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The Genuine Nature of Chinese Intentions in Sub-Saharan Africa – Peaceful Coexistence or New World Order?

by Jeff Dwiggins

(C) Kapok Tree Diplomacy. May 2010. All rights reserved.

This research paper will explore Chinese intentions in sub-Saharan Africa.  It will analyze the following topics in context to China’s involvement with Africa: the ideological foundation of the Beijing Consensus; China’s trade and mercantilist development policies; the military and national security aspects of China’s activities; its strategic use of soft power and diplomacy; China’s push for a reconfigured, multipolar world order, and the implications of this order and policies for Western nations, especially the United States.

By carefully substituting national economic rights for individual human rights and non-interference over ethics and transparency, China imposes its own brand of neomercantilism and no-strings-attached foreign aid, making sure it obtains substantially more relative gains than Africa despite its constant ‘win-win’ rhetoric and assertions of equal partnership.  The main thesis of this paper is that while China simultaneously and deftly pursues an aggressive geoeconomic and geopolitical strategy that seeks to counter Western global influence by cultivating an attractive, scalable model of strategic partnership in sub-Saharan Africa based on Eastern values of peaceful coexistence and non-interference, the inherent contradictions and values within this strategy actually undermine democracy, human rights, governmental stability, state sovereignty and long-term economic viability in Africa.

The thread of China’s geoeconomic goals of securing important supplies of natural resources to feed its growing economy and enhance its global economic sphere of influence and its geopolitical goals of strengthening its leverage, interests and security within the international order will be explored throughout the paper. The first section will trace the roots of the China-Africa partnership through modern times. The second section will cover the components of China’s complex strategy: state capitalism, a mercantilist export strategy, the Beijing Consensus and foreign policy, soft power, security implications and China’s expressed desire for a new world order. The third section will cover inherent contradictions within China’s strategy as well as African resistance to it. This paper will conclude with the assertion that genuine Chinese intentions are not completely benign, but instead primarily serve national interests and mask realist aspirations for greater power and leadership on a dramatically redefined world stage. {5,920 words, 20 pages double-spaced, 29 references}

* The views and opinions expressed in this paper are completely my own and do not represent the views or opinions of the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of the Navy (DON) or any of the Armed Forces *




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