U.S. diplomat Victoria Neuland and Niger's coup leader General Abdourahmane Tchiani. Source: - Photo: 2023

Cold War Hawk Takes Over US Response to Expanding Niger Crisis

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK. 14 August 2023 (IDN) — Less than a year ago, U.S. Ambassador Johnnie Carson was the object of fulsome praises on his appointment as special representative to the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit.

“There is no better qualified person to serve in this important, new role,” declared Ambassador George Moose of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). “Having worked side-by-side with Johnnie for decades, I know the commitments made during the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit will not fade under his watch.”

“Johnnie’s tremendous skill and reputation are well-known both here and in Africa,” added Vice Chair Judy Ansley.

USIP president and CEO Lise Grande piled on: “His passion, diplomatic know-how, well-established network of leaders and civil society members and the unwavering dedication that he’s used so effectively both in government and at USIP make him a perfect choice that should inspire confidence in Washington and in African capitals.”

Carson, a former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs has been Ambassador to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and served in Botswana, Mozambique, and Nigeria. He was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania.

In December, a press release from the White House seemed to ensure his future as diplomat for Africa: “We are looking forward to bringing him on board,” it said.

But now, as four African nations turn away from U.S. partnership and saber-rattling can be heard across the Sahel region some may be asking “Where’s Johnnie?”

It’s a question that can be put at the feet of President Joe Biden who, at the Leaders’ Summit in December, promised “to deepen and expand our partnership with African countries to better meet the shared challenges and opportunities of our era.”

But his appointment of Ambassador Carson as Africa expert was overshadowed by the naming of Victoria Nuland as Acting Deputy Secretary of State, who, according to Syracuse University professor Horace Campbell, “wants to militarize the planet Earth, a rabid militarist who is now flying between Nigeria, Niger and South Africa carrying out U.S. policies.”

A Cold War true believer who sabotaged Obama’s foreign policy, Nuland is a huge risk at the State Department, according to a recent article in Salon by Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J.S. Davies and Marcy Winograd.

From 2003 to 2005, Nuland served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, exercising an influential role during the Iraq War. From 2005 to 2008, during President George W. Bush’s second term, Nuland served as U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, where she concentrated on mobilizing European support for the NATO intervention in Afghanistan.

At a recent meeting with senior leaders of the military junta in Niger, Nuland met for more than two hours with the military chiefs but reported no headway a day after an ultimatum from the West African bloc was ignored.

The United States and France are gung-ho about reversing a military coup in Niger, Campbell predicted. But “what about the military coup in Sudan that has been supported by the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates?”

“What about the destruction by the Sudanese military against the peoples of Sudan (who are) calling for the restoration of democratic relations? We cannot be selective in our opposition to militarism? We must oppose militarism of all sorts in Africa.

Ibrahim Traoré, Burkina Faso’s interim leader, recently shared his views in Moscow during the recent Russia-African Summit. “The questions my generation is asking are the following if I can summarize. It is that we do not understand how Africa, with so much wealth on our soil, with generous nature, water, sunshine and abundance, how Africa is today the poorest continent. Africa is a hungry continent. And how come there are heads of state all over the world begging?

“We now have the opportunity to forge new relationships, and I hope that these relationships can be the best ones to give our people a better future.” [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: U.S. diplomat Victoria Neuland and Niger’s coup leader General Abdourahmane Tchiani. Source:

IDN is the flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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