As Chinese companies creep ever further into the fabric of the African continent, making handshake deals for oil and other resources, the overall U.S. commander for the region is blase about the encroaching dragon’s guns.
During a breakfast meeting with reporters in Washington today, Gen. Carter Ham, commander of Africa Command, said he doesn’t have a problem with China’s arms sales to the Dark Continent’s buyers.
It’s very clear that the Chinese, like us and like many others, are involved with supporting African militaries with equipment. I don’t see that as a military competition between us and China.
Ham cited the recent purchase of Chinese riverine craft by the Democratic Republic of Congo as an example of where he thought an African nation had made a good buy.
I actually think that was really helpful. That’s a capability they need. That’s not a capability that we posses. There are a number of African countries that fly Chinese aircraft, that use Chinese maritime patrol vessels. I don’t see that as military competition, but rather as African nations making decisions on where they can best find a supply of the material and equipment they need to accomplish their objectives.
Carter admitted he’d like African nations to buy USA — since it would be easier to do mil-to-mil training and operations with like gear, but he recognizes that that might not be in the best interest of African countries.
He seemed to be saying: “Hey, it doesn’t matter where they buy their guns. As long as it’s us who are training them how to use them…”