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U.S. and China relations going through a rough patch – There definitely have been “bumps” lately, as documented on this site. Once, a few years ago, a Bush Administration official said that China is both a strategic partner and a competitor. I have rarely heard this administration speak so practically in relation to foreign policy. It seems the realities of America’s interests have weighed on the Bush Admin, just as it did on Clinton. An entrenched power such as America and a rising power such as China, with radically different cultural norms; economies; geo-political realities; and political frameworks are not going to always share the same interests. My worry is that both sides, due to these inevitable frictions, will stop focusing on pragmatic mutual benefit and polarize their positions in an adversarial way. This can happen if we allow ignorance and populist pressure to run rampant in Congress over the latest and biased over-hyped sex media story about “bad China”. For China’s part, I think, many at the senior level in the CCP still do not understand how to deal with the West, especially the United States, due to an experience gap and cultural distance.

Nigeria: Yar’Adua in White House, Ready to Partner U.S. On Africom – There have been some results from the recent visit of Yar’Adua. This could be a positive thing for security on the continent, but as with most things of this nature, America is not doing it out of a sense of altruism; so the issue is the extent of mutual benefit. There appears to already be backlash in Nigeria, which s not surprising. African nations, since independence and especially since the Cold War, are fiercely protective of their sovereignty. I wonder how much of this is America trying to keep stability in a region where a good percentage of future oil supplies will come from, as well as intimidate China on the continent.

South Africa: Troops to Reinforce UN in Congo – This is a good sign. Yesterday, I was calling for more action in the Congo. I will be keeping watch of the progress made against the rebel insurgency.

Sierra Leone: Whose Quota, Exactly? – I am not sure how I feel about this. I know some Scandinavian countries have quotas for women in government, but unequal outcomes in every sphere of life is not always evidence of a problem. I’m not saying women are not discriminated against in Sierra Leone, but even in the most liberal nonsexist country does the average women really have as much interest in running for office or even politics as the average man?

Sudan: U.S. Senate Targets Asian, European Firms – This is a great move, too bad it is several years TOO LATE. After Rwanda, the world said never again, the United States said never again and we have watched it happen again for 6 years, and the biggest thing we have done is send in a rag tag team of underfunded African Peace Keepers who have a pathetically weak mandate , which causes them to run from and take notes on the Janjaweed while civilians get slaughtered in front of them. We continually allow China and Russia to block us at the UN. This is definitely not the first time this administration has failed pathetically in its diplomacy. How many years has it been since Colin Powell, as Secretary of State, declared the Darfur situation genocide? Apparently genocide is not important to the U.S. government if there is no one important to demonize with the charge.