The West’s useful idiots

Francis Fukuyama was right. And so was Kenneth Kaunda.
At the start of the last decade of the past millennium, Fukuyama gave the world his “End of History” thesis.
In a nutshell, he foresaw a steady and unimpeded march towards the creation of a unipolar world governed by the belief in capitalist free marketism as dictated by Western “democracy”.
Communism had fallen, the Soviet Union was crumbling, and the Washington Consensus was turning the screws on an Africa that was slowly realising that independence was not so independent after all.
Yes, there would be some voices of resistance here and there, bombs would have to be dropped to convince recalcitrant peoples to believe in “democracy”, and assassinations of stubborn Third World leaders would have to be conducted once in a while.
But on the whole, the steady march towards a homogenous world would continue.
So yes, Francis Fukuyama was right.
Down in the Dark Continent, an apoplectic Kenneth Kaunda – just before Fukuyama’s thesis was published – was fuming at what he called “stupid Zambians, stupid Africans!”
He could not understand why the peoples of Africa were so beguiled by the wiles of neo-colonialism. It did not make sense to him why we were content with flag-and-anthem independence and nothing more. He fulminated, more than once I understand, about “stupid Africans”. Yes, here and there a Mugabe would take back land and talk of economic empowerment. Yes, once in a while a Sata would rise and try to revive a dying nationalism and Pan-Africanism.
But on the whole, the Sankaras would continue to be murdered, the Johnson-Sirleafs would continue to be flown in from the West to lead our Liberias, and the Tsvangirais would continue to call for sanctions to be imposed on their own countries.
So yes, Kenneth Kaunda was right. Stupid Africans!
As George Monbiot wrote for the Guardian in the UK recently, “The West, as usual, is able to find leaders in Africa who have more in common with the global elite than with their own people.”
I have read somewhere of such people being referred to as “useful idiots”.
Stupid African leaders are the West’s useful idiots, and they are employed full-time to achieve the Fukuyama thesis. That is why we already have six countries that have signed up to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Cote d’Ivoire have agreed to “systematically cease distribution of free and unimproved seeds” and should promote “promote private sector investment” in agriculture.
It matters not how this impacts on Africa’s farmers who are already struggling to compete with their well-subsidised Western counterparts.
Stupid Africans will continue to sign up to such deals and thus mortgage the futures of their long-suffering peoples.
Stupid Africans will continue to play midwife to the realisation of Fukuyama’s thesis, feeling good about themselves because the West calls them good leaders. They are not good leaders, they are stupid Africans. Stupid Africans will say don’t talk of economic empowerment because this will scare away Western capital. They are not good economists, they are stupid Africans.
Stupid Africans will foment coups such as the one we saw in Egypt and think that they are building democracy.
They are not good democrats, they are stupid Africans. Stupid Africans will say we should open up our markets so that Trojan Horses like the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition can bring in their GMOs and hold our agriculture captive.
They will tell us that it is in our best interests to do as the West desires so that Obama’s drones are kept in check and donor money keeps flowing.
But they will not tell you that Africa is losing US$50 billion yearly to illicit financial flows – a figure far outstripping what comes back as “aid” for stupid Africans. Instead, they will lecture us on how free marketism is the best thing for us while they are totally ignorant to the fact that the West developed on a cocktail of protectionist measures.
And like the stupid Africans we are, we shall listen to these stupid leaders as they herd us headlong into fulfillment of Fukuyama’s thesis. Some will put up a fight, will try and resist. But they will ironically be called the stupid Africans.
It’s sad but it’s true: Fukuyama was right, and so was Kaunda.

July 2013
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