How NOT to win Friends and Influence People

by Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram

After four years of Trump’s ‘America first’ isolationism, US President Joe Biden announced “America is back”. His White House has since tried to find allies against China and Russia.

But it has not found many, especially in the Global South. His summit with Southeast Asian leaders was well attended, but promised little. Worse, his Summit of the Americas revealed fading US influence in its long-time backyard.

Africa not aligned
The latest U.S. Strategy Towards Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) was expected to do better on the continent of Trump’s “shithole countries”. But it delivered little more than rhetoric. As with its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, it is seen as “a hamburger without the beef”.

Biden’s strategy explicitly seeks to “counter harmful activities” by China and Russia, and “to expose and highlight the risks of negative PRC and Russian activities in Africa”. But it offers no evidence of such threats.

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