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The Top Commander for U.S. Forces in Africa Tries to Make the Case For Why Americans Should Care About the Continent (Hint: It Has Something to do With China)

U.S. Army General Stephen J. Townsend. Image via Sgt. 1st Class Maurice Smith Credit: 50th Public Affairs Detachment

Army General Stephen J. Townsend (photo), the top commander for U.S. forces in Africa (AFRICOM), really wants Americans to pay more attention to what’s going on in Africa. “China and Russia don’t ignore Africa, and that alone should say something,” he said.

The general said it’s critical that the U.S. present an alternative in Africa on everything from poverty alleviation to security. Townsend, though, apparently isn’t up-to-date with the current messaging strategy in Washington that no longer emphasizes China’s “debt-trap diplomacy” — a once widely-held yet now-debunked theory that China intentionally burdens poor developing countries with excessive loans in order to seize strategic assets and resources.

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