Africa is making its way into headlines again, but not for a specific conflict. 

United States President Donald Trump did not reference the conflict within South Sudan at the NATO summit press conference, nor did he mention Boko Haram in Nigeria. Instead, he painted an image in the audience’s minds that the entire continent of Africa, made up of 54 nations, is in turmoil. More importantly, he stated that Africa needs the West’s help to ‘guide’ them into ‘salvation.’

Western leaders and politicians have been pushing this overplayed, false narrative for centuries.

Imperialism was built on the ideology of supremacy; the idea that “The West” knows exactly what is wrong with ‘developing nations’ and knows, even better, how to fix them.

“Africa right now has got problems like few people would even understand. It is so sad, it is so vicious and violent,” Trump said, emphasizing the words vicious and violent.

Trump’s comments followed a question from a Tunisian journalist, who inquired if the United States could help end terrorism in North Africa. Trump took the question as an opportunity to speak about the continent of Africa as a whole.

The United States is, however, highly active in North Africa’s counter-terrorism operations and is training troops in the Sahara to fight jihadists.

In response to the Tunisian reporter, Trump said:

We are looking for peace. Africa, as you know, is on our very strong list. But we are looking for peace. We want peace all over. We want to solve problems. We’re looking for peace. Africa right now has got problems that few people would understand. They have things going on there that nobody could believe in this room. If you see, some of the things I see through intelligence, what’s going on in Africa, it is so sad and so vicious and violent. And we want peace. We want peace for Africa. We want peace all over the world. That’s my number one goal, peace all over the world.

 

How Will We Achieve International Peace?

 

According to Trump, peace can be achieved through military strength. He stated:

We’re building up a tremendous military because I really believe through strength you get peace. But, we’re going to have a military like we have never had before. We have given out orders for, you know, the best fighter jets in the world. The best ships, the best everything. But, hopefully we will never have to use them. That would be a dream. To buy the best stuff, to have the best stuff, to have the best equipment in the world, and to never have to use it would be a really great part of my dream.

Trump’s remarks at the NATO summit were met with backlash. Twitter users believe that the president’s rhetoric reinforces negative, imperialist stereotypes.

Similarly, Trump was heavily criticized in December for allegedly calling Haiti and African countries “shithole nations,” prompting many to call him a racist. He has since denied being a racist.

 

Here Are Some Great Things Happening in Africa:

 

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons.