The Dark Continent

Johann Hari writes about France’s destructive interventions in the Central African Republic and other parts of Africa. Andrew, apparently trying to shore-up his conservative credentials, observes that “If the US did anything like this, you wouldn’t hear the last of it. But this is the first report I’ve read.” Well, obviously US policy gets more coverage in the United States than does French policy, but it’s really not as if we’re inundated with coverage of American involvement in sub-Saharan Africa either.

Walter Pincus, for example, did an interesting May 28 Washington Post article about some potential problems with the idea of creating a new Africa Command but it ran on page A13 and I haven’t seen whatever’s happening there been the subject of intense journalist interest anymore than Ethiopia’s US-backed invasion of Somalia has been. The truth is simply that things that happen in Africa that don’t involve westerners getting killed (if French or American personnel started dying in large numbers as part of these intervention, we’d hear about that) don’t get covered very much and a huge proportion of the coverage is dedicated to the situation in Darfur.