One of the first things I wrote, an undergrad student and activist at the (stormy) time.
Lucien van der Walt, 1992, “New World Order in Africa,” Revolt, number 2.
The New World Order is on our doorstep with the US imperialists setting themselves up in Botswana and Zambia. Washington, following the end of the Cold War, is placing renewed emphasis on projecting itself into Third World “flashpoints.”
Recent reports in left wing journal Work in Progress * show just how close to home the US “new world order” really is: Botswana is being groomed as a forward staging base for the US in the region whilst Zambia’s “democrat” President Chiluba has recently signed a military agreement with the US for the training of military personnel in technical fields.
Earlier this year the Botswana state announced plans to build a R 1,000 million air-base development at 3 sites – the main one is in Molopolole, 300 kms from Johannesburg, as the (imperial) eagle flies – whilst another is near the Caprivi strip.
While Washington has fervently denied involvement, fears are clearly justified: Botswana has an army of 7000 personnel and a minimal airforce so what could it want with a massive state-of-the-art air base?
Furthermore, 45 officers of the Botswana Defence Force are currently In the US. “Voice of America’ has installed its new transmitter in the country and in January 200 elite US airborne troops staged joint exercises – codenamed Operation Silver Eagle – with Botswana’s armed forces. In the meantime Zambia’s armed forces have been allocated a massive 9% of the GNP at a time when Zambia faces no threat of war and is in a precarious position.
Zambia’s new “democratic” state has recently embarked on restructuring measures aimed at making the troops more professional and self-sufficient. Following Chiluba’s visit to the US in February, a military training agreement with the state has been signed heralding a new phase in military relations with the west.
According to one of the journal’s contributors “… these links are underpinned by a strategic vision in Washington, where the end of the cold war has seen a renewed emphasis on projecting US strategic power into Third World trouble spots.”
Last year NATO bosses advised that its forces be readied to respond to “destabilising” situations created by “nationalist” (ie. revolutionary) forces in the south. Shortly after New Year 1992, a Pentagon planning document recommended that a third of the US nukes be retargeted on third world “flash-spots”.
These developments are extremely ominous for peoples of the south striving to pursue independent paths. The US has a long record of upholding brutal regimes -like that of the President Hastings Banda in Malawi – in destabilisation campaigns eg. alongside South Africa in Angola, and in other operations in Africa. US willingness to use force is clearly demonstrated in the Gulf war in which hundreds of thousands died in a few days.
This underscores the importance of worldwide revolution, especially in the US.
* Work in Progress, 83 Jul/Aug 1992