Djibouti, home to the only US permanent military presence in Africa, has recently notified the American military that they have to vacate Obock, a small secondary base which will see the installation of some 10,000 Chinese troops in their place.The author of this article concludes with the thought that China is going to be left "holding the short end of the stick" with this move.
The announcement, made the day after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Djibouti last May is deeply worrying for Pax Americana for it comes on top of a major package of economic investments by China that has Djiboutian President Guelleh openly talking about the importance of his new friends from Asia.
China is about to complete a $3 billion railroad from the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Africa’s second largest country to Djibouti, Ethiopia’s only outlet to the sea. China is also investing $400 million in modernizing Djibouti’s notoriously undersized port, where for the past 17 years (since the Ethiopians tried and failed to take Eritrea’s port of Assab during Ethiopia’s war against Eritrea from 1998-2000) Ethiopia has been forced to import 90% of its fuel and food from.
The US military pays Djibouti $63 million a year for the use of Camp Lemonnier, home to 4,000 US troops and one of the worlds largest drone bases used to terrorize the populations of Yemen and Somalia. This is a pittance really, when compared to the hundred$ of million$ a year that the Chinese investments will bring into Djiboutian government coffers.
From the Pacific to Africa we're involved in either territorial disputes that are a threat to our credibility or more nuanced competition to gain influence in places like Africa. Lets not forget the inroads that the Chinese are making in Central and South America while we're at it.
China is drinking our milkshake.