Honor and Loyalty : Power struggles: Africa programmed for the guillotine???

Hundreds of cruise missiles, armoured vehicles, artillery pieces, thousands of anti-tank weapons, tens of thousands of troops; with its massive ground engagements, its dizzying aerobatic displaystogain air supremacy, its minefields and naval blockades, the civilised world has finally got its high-intensity war, one that will probably go on for a long time.

It was about time! The atmosphere of relative world peace was becoming stiflingly monotonous. The low-intensity conflicts scattered across Africa and part of Asia clearly failed to give enough food for thought to the military-industrial conglomerates, which were forced to reduce their rate of production.

Maintaining over stocked arsenals was becoming expensive and tedious. State-of-the-art weapons were being threatened with extinction without having been tested in reality. Comparative theories about the primacy of powers and the benefits of war as an economic engine were becoming obsolete for lack of experimental tests. The economic and nervous depression was at hand.

It is therefore well and truly behind us, that lengthy period of rambling only interspersed by all types of drills and in all possible configurations. This is the long-awaited moment to justify so much effort of imagination and preparation.

And while the self-proclaimed masters of the world bicker over the patent for the invention of hot water, for the uneducated peoples of the planet, there is always the bone of terrorism to pick at. At least on this point, the big boys are unanimous on the need to make us spend thelimited energies that we could have availed ourselves of. Thereason is simple; prevent us from achieving autonomy in any area. It has long been known that restoring balance is detrimental to maintaining unidirectional flows in favour of the North.

But if that were all it took, Africa, with its resistance developed through centuries of predation and humiliation, would have got away with it, probably with so much ease, it must be admitted. Unfortunately, we are far from the end of the story.For, with demobilising communication on the warlike and hegemonic intentions of some, and the balanced, even pacifist enthusiasm of others, which compels us to choose between the hammer and the anvil, our fate seems to have been sealed. If we are to believe the liturgy of the preachers of the military-intellectual complexobsessed with supremacy, Africa would be the next battleground between superpowers and associates.

This plethora of threats does, however, carry with it some truths that should be carefully examined; for example, the deliberate undermining of food security in many countries, a situation that will affect millions of people around the world. Then, there is a real risk that at the end of hostilities, what will be left of the huge quantities of military equipment currently stockpiled will fall into the hands of mercenaries and other warmongers from the international legions, as a reward for services rendered to one or other of the opposing camps. This is not new.

Therefore, we should already be preparing for the next outbreak of tensions here in Africa. Let us expect to see a resurgence of demands for the ex-nihilo constitution of republics whose coats of arms will bear a striking resemblance to those of foreign states. We have been warned!

Navy Captain

ATONFACK GUEMO,

Head of Communication Division - MINDEF