Friday, May 7, 2021

Africa and the decaying new world order, by Prof. Abubakar Liman


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
tiamin rice

It is no longer news that the so-called new world order is after all nothing new to the peripheral and marginal nations of Africa, Asia and Americas. Historically, the world order has all alone been in existence for centuries in its different guises and nomenclatures. The order has been with us since that point of contact with Africa when the West and the East mastered the art and craft of forceful and subtle control of other societies in their orbits, dominions and spheres of influence. The name of the game is imperialism, and it is as old as history itself. The world renowned empires, right from ancient times to present moment, have been exercising control over other nations and societies throughout the eons. And upon all those long centuries Africa has always been at the receiving end of the machinations of the other, whether that other is an Arab, Indo-European or Caucasian. We must not forget an established historical fact that Africa was the primeval continent, which contributed culture, civilization and humanity to the rest of the world. This is a debt that the non-African races repaid serially through chains of inhumanity, violence, slavery and destruction. Our collective soul and body, indeed our vanquished being, could not recover from the callousness of the non-African other.

The new world order declared recently by George Bush Sr on the occasion of his declaration of the Iraq war, immediately after the cold war victory by allied powers, had clumsily inaugurated the triumph of a liberal order that had privileged the logic of capitalism in its economic, financial, political, cultural, scientific and technological ramifications on a global scale. As the west luxuriate in the glory of its global dominance, it did not for a minute anticipate fissures in the global system or any form of threat like the one posed by the unipolar impulses of United States of America, the leader of the pack, or even the unilateralism of President Donald Trump, which is elsewhere threatening to upset the applecart. As things are, President Trump is threatening to destroy the United Nations (UN), a global institution set up after the WWII to promote international order, cooperation, and to guarantee the peace and security of member nations. The UN is the entity that regulates the activities of its member nations through treaties, conventions and resolutions of General Assembly, and especially those of the most important agency of the UN system, the Security Council.

In the resolve of the U.S. to bend the UN body to its will, and the most significant functions enshrined in its Charter, including operations in the area of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child and Statute of the International Court of Justice, are not allowed to operate without interference of the leading nations in the U.N. Today, the system is hamstrung by the overbearing attitude of United States in its bid to defend its sole interests, such as the indefensible excesses of the State of Israel in its brutal and inhuman occupation of Palestinian lands and its ill-advised unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) entered into between P5+1 and Iran, specifically over the nuclear program of Islamic Republic of Iran. Trump’s more recent act of destabilizing the global system is in his trade war with key U.S. trading partners of China, Canada, Mexico, and its traditional European Union allies. Mr. Trump is insisting on having new trade policies that will ensure fairer trade deals for the U.S. Through such insistence, he appears to be either ignorant or completely indifferent to consequences, and of course the privileges and advantages enjoyed by the U.S. as the main driver of the global system.

The current trade war has exposed the weaknesses of declining European powers that have gradually surrendered their political and economic independence to the United States since the WWII. As a result, European businesses have become tied up to major American conglomerates, cartels and corporations through transnational mergers and takeovers. The biggest headache of the U.S. is China, the second biggest economy in the world, with its potentials to stand in the way of American hegemony. While China is today the industrial powerhouse of the world, the U.S. has become a mere shadow of its former glory. Globalization and the cost of labor have apparently created a situation in which industries were forced to migrate production machinery from developed nations of the West where labor is costlier in comparison to the developing nations where the same labor is less costly. This process has only accelerated the astronomical economic growth and industrialization of China and other emergent economies of Asia. In the midst of all this, the industrial powerhouse of Detroit and other industrial hubs of the U.S. were closing shop, workers were being laid off in droves, and unemployment rates in Europe and America were shooting through the roof.

The vital areas in which the West is still leading is High-Tech, Digital Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Nuclear Technology, Nano Technology, Armament Industry and Finance Capitalism via corporate organizations, capital market, stock trading, and the supremacy of American dollar, which has remained the main means of exchange in global trades. Even here, other emerging economies of Asia, Latin America and BRICS are contesting the spaces of the current global economic system. As a result, a number of countries are now dumping the dollar as international currency and means of exchange rates. The inevitable collapse of U.S. global hegemony portends serious implications for its superpower status in a situation where other contenders like Russia and China are resisting U.S. global hegemony. It is in this context that radical European thinkers Slavoj Zizek and Yanis Varoufakis are calling on European Union (EU) to avoid going down along by creating another new world order because the current one spearheaded by the U.S. has already outlived its usefulness, otherwise they will pay a heavy price for not checkmating the fascistic inclinations of a Donald Trump.

Amidst the ensuing global turbulence, Africa does not appear to understand the existential implications of the precariousness of the global system that President Trump is doing everything possible to dislodge. From all indications, Africa is not planning to secure its own future in the light of grim prospects of a collapsing global order. Most African countries have already lost their hard-earned sovereignty to globalization processes. Independent economic, social, political, cultural, scientific and technological initiatives have since given way to the diktats of western powers. The neocolonial elites are proving to be the clones that they were meant to be. They are completely tied to the apron strings of western masters, as such they do not see beyond the horizon of the West in perception, values and ideals. So if a system foisted by the west is sinking it is certainly going to sink with neocolonial elites and colonially instituted structures in Africa. There are ample evidence that in Africa a new form of decolonization (unlike the type engineered by African nationalists before independence) is taking place in which postmodernism seems to be the driving force of change. Nations are increasingly discarding the logic and rational proclivities of modernity for postmodern subjectivity in which politics of identity (ethnicity and religion) is reining supreme, with each sub-nationality aspiring for its own autonomy or independence from the inherited postcolonial African nation-state

By virtue of its geography and history, Nigeria is strategically positioned to play a crucial role of providing leadership in Africa. But its neocolonial hang-ups are impeding its vision and mission as the leader of Africa. African countries are in bad shape because of their incapacity to provide effective leadership to the people by charting a realistic development trajectory that is independent of the stranglehold of western powers. If Nigeria the so-called giant of Africa is perpetually taking dictation from imperialist powers there is then no hope for the rest of Africa. Africa is caught up in the geostrategic calculations and manipulations of the leading western powers of Great Britain, France, Germany and United States. The worst form of colonial control is the one being suffered by postcolonial francophone countries in which every aspect of their socio-political life is directly under the control of France. And it was these West African francophone countries that surrounded the big brother Nigeria. However, Nigeria could not establish any meaningful relationship with them, the type that would lead to genuine integration, because of French control.

Africa has to wake up from its slumber in order to survive the upheaval that is unfolding in the new world order engineered by the West.


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