The United States of America has deployed troops to Gabon in anticipation of violent protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo. France, on the other hand, already has violent protests but no similar action has been taken.
Trump once said, “We more and more are not wanting to be the policemen of the world. We’re spending tremendous amounts of money for decades policing the world, and that shouldn’t be the priority.” It was especially symbolic for the continent of Africa because Trump spoke during a joint press conference with Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari. In a complete 180 degrees, however, America has deployed an eighty-strong military contingent to Gabon in expectation of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a letter to Congress, Trump said 80 military personnel and “appropriate combat equipment” had been deployed to Gabon “to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and diplomatic facilities in Kinshasa”. More troops will be deployed in the region if necessary. Trump says they “will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed.” The letter also says the move was taken to protect the United States citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of the United States’ national security and foreign policy interests.
What are America’s foreign policy interests in the Democratic Republic of Congo? An even bigger question is: doesn’t America have interests in France and if it does, just how many soldiers have been deployed to France? The world deserves to know if this is just American standard procedure or it is a plan made especially for an African country. In France, mere tweets earned Trump a stern warning, “Leave our nation be.” If tweets were such disrespect to a nation’s sovereignty, why should army deployment be tolerated? The double standards in foreign relations with African countries are palpable. The anticipation of violence earns an African country troop deployment yet burning France is untouchable even on social media.
There is, however, a possibility that the issue is not even political but economic. After all, the Business Standard recently ran a headline – Mining world keeps keen eye as Congo counts votes for next leader. The true American intentions are buried under Congolese soil! With an untapped mineral wealth of over US$ 24 trillion, the DRC will always attract unwanted attention. This is not, however, to say there are no problems in the country because tensions are indeed rising. It is just the intentions of the friendly Americans that ought to be tested.