How should Europe deal with instability and growing Russian influence in the Sahel region? Russia and China are also active in the region and have economic interests and investments. “But the Russians and the Chinese are going to disappoint very quickly,” says Han ten Brucke, director of political affairs at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies. There, in that hole, we West must jump convincingly.
Ten Broeke says the impact of the coup in Niger is enormous. Niger is in a kind of domino, which we’ve seen happen in Africa in recent years. It is the end of France’s African strategy.
The military junta that staged a coup in Niger last week ended military cooperation with France on Thursday. A representative of the military council read out the decision to withdraw military agreements with France on national television late Thursday. France has between 1,000 and 1,500 troops in Niger to help fight an insurgency by groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that has spread across the region.
Niger plays a crucial role in French and Western strategies to combat the jihadist insurgency that has plagued the Sahel since 2012. Anti-French sentiment in the region appears to be on the rise, fueled by Russia, which has become increasingly prominent in recent years through its Wagner mercenary group.
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Russia is seen, whether through Wagner or not, as security providerThe Chinese will achieve economic prosperity and toxic loans. ‘But they both don’t deliver on their promises,’ says Ten Broeke on the BNR Boekestijn en De Wijk podcast. “This provides opportunities.”
In 2019, there was a summit between Africa and Russia, one of which was held last week. According to Ten Broeck, many African heads of state are happy to come to Moscow. “They’re less than they were at the time, but they still come.”
He will disappoint the Russians and the Chinese
At that summit, the African countries and Russia agreed that there would be massive trade, but according to Ten Broek, this ‘half’ has yet to be achieved. In addition, you can see that the Chinese are still present and have arrived in large numbers. But it’s particularly noticeable locally that the Chinese always come with their own people, and that you see very little investment locally. If Europe will use the operating system tool more rationally now, we will lose our influence and influence impactBecause that’s what foreign policy is all about, says Ten Broeck.
Although the Russians had a plan, Ten Broeck believes they would “disappoint them very quickly”. Just like the Chinese. We have to jump more convincingly into that gap.
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Ten Broki cites an article from Foreign Affairs written by Matias Spector, professor of international relations in São Paulo. This article is interesting, says Ten Broeke. “Brazil has a different view of what is happening in the world and he is in fact defending this part of the world. He is defending the interests of what he calls the ‘fence-sitters’, countries like Indonesia, India, Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria and South Africa.
According to Ten Broeke, these countries are striving to protect themselves from the dangers of new competition between the United States and China. He stresses that it is important to strengthen these alliances by increasing our defense spending, conducting more active diplomacy, being able to manage immigration policy and using trade and economic tools to create more of a “fortress Europe” on our external borders. It really does get in the dribbles and splashes, but there’s room for improvement. It begins with understanding “the people sitting on the fence.” It means that in this world we have to get things done again in the hands of all these countries, who always have an alternative for you, there is always someone who knows how to make it more attractive in the short term.
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