Friday, November 10, 2023

Chinese and Russian Relations with Africa

 The Foreign Policy Research Institute published in November 2023 a paper titled "The Dragon and the Bear in Africa: Stress-Testing Chinese-Russian Relations" by Robert E. Hamilton, U.S. Army War College.  

This report analyzes Chinese and Russian diplomatic, military, and economic activity in Africa, the interests each activity is designed to advance, and how Beijing and Moscow interact in each of these areas.  The report is based on a chapter in an upcoming book.

The report concludes that diplomatically and economically, China dwarfs Russia in Africa.  Militarily Russia still retains a significant, if unconventional and unacknowledged, presence.  While they share the goal of undermining Western influence, for Russia this goal overrides all others.  Where China seeks to promote its model of governance, Russia seeks to undermine that of Western countries.  

Chinese-Russian interaction in Africa is a mixture of cooperative, complementary, compartmented, and competitive behavior.  Rather than coordinate their activities so that they are independent but mutually supporting, the two often simply stay out each other's way, both functionally and geographically.  While China and Russia do not overtly compete in Africa, some of their objectives are misaligned which could cause problems moving forward.