Stabilization of Africa seen as major goal for EUCOM
Stars and Stripes December 19, 2004
STUTTGART, Germany — Africa has so many time bombs waiting to go off that stabilizing the continent is a major goal of the U.S. European Command.
The new style of intervention that EUCOM is pioneering, called “effect-based” warfare, aims to defuse the bombs before they blow.
“The shame of Africa is that most of the problems there are solvable,” said Rear Adm. Hamlin Tallent, director of the European Plans and Operations Center.
The problems, Tallent added, are not going to be solved by using military might. EUCOM has instead hired experts from the departments of State, Treasury and Commerce, among others, to brainstorm solutions.
Their jobs are to help prepare pre-emptive strikes using intelligence, diplomacy and economics.
“We spend a lot of time determining what exactly you want to have an effect on,” Tallent said. “It takes a lot of interagency input to do it right.”
Despite its huge mineral and agricultural resources, the African continent seems to brew trouble. Some of the current crises include:
In the Darfur region of Sudan, an estimated 70,000 people have been killed and 1.6 million displaced by the violence between black Africans and pro-government Arab militias, according to U.N. figures.Along the Rwanda-Congo border, factions are reportedly ready to renew a border war.In sub-Saharan Africa, about 1.9 million children ages 15 and under have HIV or AIDS.There are locust problems in Morocco and Mali, and drought in Ethiopia and Kenya.“Africa is a victim — not of unwilling people — but of not having a detailed and funded strategy,” Tallent said. “The complexities are so tremendous, and it takes so much energy to move the ball just an inch, that it’s easy to fall away from it.”
Military officials say Africa’s instability and vast, ungoverned spaces make it susceptible to anti-U.S. extremism. If more African nations become stable, cooperate with one another and become self-sufficient, Tallent said, the whole world would benefit.
“How do you get to the people?” Tallent said. “What are you willing to do to have some kind of positive effect, given what you have to wade through to get there? That is the challenge.”