In an essay at the U. S. Naval Institute Lieutenant Commander Stuart J. Ambrose urges the use of the U. S. Coast Guard in guarding the coasts of African countries:
Perhaps more than any other region, African nations eagerly await partners with whom they can begin to realize their vast potential. The United States should not miss this opportunity to shape this incredible continent for generations to come, and the Coast Guard can play an outsized role in engagement efforts with countries hungry to grow their littoral maritime forces. Africa’s 54 countries will engage with someone—and the United States should work hard to be the partner of choice in the region.
The essay is far too dewy-eyed and general for me. For example:
The United States shines at engagement. Its melting pot values of inclusion and acceptance often make it the partner of choice against the frequently heavy-handed Chinese or even Europeans, who—deservedly or not—still carry today the baggage of past colonialism. But this is true only so long as the United States chooses to show up.
Is that true? Or is the U. S. tarred as a racist, overbearing colonial power, lumped with the British and French?
I have no problem with the U. S. Coast Guard or, better yet, the Navy taking part in joint activities with European, South American, or Asian countries in anti-piracy activities around the Horn of Africa. Such activities might even be managed as a method of encouraging countries who are otherwise spending too little on defense (Netherlands—1.1% of GDP, Germany—1.2% of GDP, Italy—1.3% of GDP, Brazil—1.5% of GDP). But I’m concerned about “mission creep” for the Coast Guard.
Has it really been so successful in eliminating smuggling (its original purpose) that it must look abroad for new objectives?