This category contains 61 posts

Why Not Back the Houthi in Yemen?

  Let the Houthis slug it out with al-Qaeda. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Why does the United States want to be fighting both the Houthis and al-Qaeda when the Houthis, now a major force in Yemen, are strongly opposed to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula? With help from us (or at … Continue reading


  People do prevail against autocrats. That is exactly what happened in Sri Lanka last week when voters unexpectedly but decisively voted to replace the hard-fisted regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa with a new coalition led by Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickramasinghe. It was a potent victory for democracy and good governance in a country that … Continue reading

Africa’s Growing Dependence on China

  Africa’s survival depends on China . At the very least, sub-Saharan Africa’s rapid GDP growth rates — an estimated 6 .3 percent this year and 5 .1 percent last — rely on continued strong demand from China (growing this year at about 7 .6 percent) for the vast commodity resources of the continent . … Continue reading

Greed and Corruption Kill Elephants

  Chinese merchants and diplomats, and the African officials whom they easily manage to corrupt, are helping to destroy sub-Saharan Africa’s remaining elephants. Already, Africa’s once massive herds of savannah elephants have been reduced from several million to 400,000, with 30,000 being poached annually – for their tusks. In Tanzania alone, where elephants were once … Continue reading

Zimbabwe’s Grasping Grace

      Orwell’s Animal Farm provides the perfidious template for today’s Zimbabwe, with its manipulations, betrayals, doublespeak, and pretensions of grandeur.  As President Robert G. Mugabe, the country’s 90-year old autocrat, continues to pretend to govern, so his much younger second wife has usurped her elders and gained political position and public notoriety, presumably … Continue reading

Drugs, Crime, and Terror in Africa

The wars of Africa are fueled by narcotics. That is an exaggerated over-simplification, but what is less well known than it should be is that many of the internal conflicts of today’s Africa are driven in part, sometimes  a substantial part, by profits being made from the trafficking of hard drugs and precursor chemicals. The … Continue reading

Good Governance: Even Africa’s Best are Nothing to Brag About

    Africa’s development chances and social possibilities remain heavily hindered by its overall mediocre governance. Despite the talk of Africa rising and growth rates that now exceed other parts of the globe, too many of the continent’s peoples are subject to the kinds of governments that favour ruling elites rather than ordinary villagers and … Continue reading

Is Boko Haram Emboldened by ISIS Victories?

Al-Qaeda-affiliated Boko Haram is poised to overwhelm Borno state, the home in northeastern Nigeria to five million Kanuri and many other peoples, nearly all Muslims. Boko Haram threatens to establish an Islamic caliphate on the ferocious model of the Islamic State (IS) extremists active in Iraq and Syria. Last week, Boko Haram militants, possibly emboldened … Continue reading

Mugabe Goes to China

China has agreed to help Zimbabwe avoid a total economic meltdown. Without the promise of assistance from Beijing, Zimbabwe could not even begin to pay its civil servants, police, and soldiers their monthly wages.  Nor, without China’s support, could Zimbabwe continue to import oil and gas, and crucial foodstuffs with which to feed its people. … Continue reading

Fixing Nigeria’s Leadership and Governance Problems

  Nigeria’s battle against Boko Haram can only be won if Nigerians begin to fix their massive leadership and governance problems.               Nigeria is as close to being a failed state as it has ever been. The key components and definitions of state failure are: The state’s loss of its Weberian monopoly of violence. … Continue reading