Blindspot #040 -> Cold War 2.0 -> USA adopts a ‘Countering Russian Influence in Africa’ Law…

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Cold War 2.0 is not a figment of overworked geopolitical imaginations any longer! See why...

Blindspot #040 – Cold War 2.0: The USA adopts a ‘Countering Russian Influence in Africa’ law

Buiteboer // From Bunker 42

1 – Welcome to Cold War 2.0’s African Chess board

2 – The Russian bogeyman a convenient pretext for US interference in Africa

3 – What does ‘countering Russia in Africa’ mean? 


1 – Welcome to Cold War 2.0’s African Chess board

Cold War 2.0, instigated by unilateralist NATO members is evidently not just a figment of  overworked geopolitical imaginations. During September 2021, in Blindspot #011, we covered the headline – Why did the EU tell Russia, “Stay out – Africa is ours”. 

Now really, do the whitewashed Europeans still think Africa is their Exclusive Economic Extraction Zone? 

Nevertheless, since the advent of Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine (24 February, 2022), the world has not only plummeted into Cold War 2.0, but, the global system has been torn in two: The West versus Eurasia (and the rest, who still dare to deal with Russia). 

While the world’s attention is focused (rightfully so) on the Ukraine war and its global impact, it is clear that Africa is still seen, and treated, like a massive chess board on which major powers move and manoeuvre their pawns and weaponised policies. The latter is, of course, all with the ‘interests’ of poor Africans in mind, nudge nudge, wink wink. 

In Blindspot #011 we warned: “Beware of EU big chief foreign policy boys & girls crying wolf, and more importantly, watch out for more geopolitical bullying tactics and foreign military antics on the lucrative, and strategically critical African chess board!

Like in the era of European colonialism, and in any period of intensified major power rivalry, we have to watch African battle spaces carefully! 

2 – The Russian bogeyman a convenient pretext for US interference in Africa

Richard S Dunn writes in the Covert Action Magazine, June 14 2022, that, “During the Cold War, the U.S. government invoked the pretext of Russian interference to justify a range of crimes, including the assassination of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, the overthrow of Pan-Africanist hero Kwame Nkruma…” 

This, of course, does not even begin to tickle or scratch the surface of the collective horrors European powers, and the USA have unleashed on, or in, African nations in the course of the past century alone. 

The reason why this is important is due to the fact that the US House of Representatives, on April 27, passed the “Countering Malign Russian Influence Activities in Africa” Act. 

According to Dunn, the main sponsor of the bill, Gregory Meeks (D-NY), is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. After the bill was passed he voiced his pride in the “exceptional show of bipartisan support,” which he said “demonstrated how Putin’s war in Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s corrupt and illicit activities in Africa to fund war and other exploits have worked to unify Congress and the international community.”

From this Dunn draws the conclusion that, “…many African countries have had long-standing positive ties to Russia and benefitted from its support for African liberation movements during the Cold War—in contrast to the U.S.—including in South Africa. Meeks’s comments mostly offer a form of projection in that they accuse Russia of trying to exploit Africa’s resources when this is clearly something that the U.S. has done far more extensively and for a much longer period than Russia.”

3 – What does ‘countering Russia in Africa’ mean? 

Peter Fabricius, in Daily Maverick argues that, “…it seems Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a new Cold War psychosis — and that all other considerations will henceforth be subordinated to the imperatives of that conflict.” 

Once again we see that Cold War 2.0 is alive, well, and kicking up a number of new challenges for African policy makers. Some of the implications of this law, outline by Fabricius include: 

  • The Secretary of State would have to monitor the actions of Russia’s government and its ‘proxies’ — including private military companies (clearly Wagner is in the sights) and oligarchs. 
  • The US government has to counter such activities, including through its foreign aid programmes. 
  • The US will need to “hold accountable the Russian Federation and African governments and their officials who are complicit in aiding such malign (Russian) influence and activities.”
  • The bill also targets Russian efforts to “manipulate African governments and their policies, as well as the public opinions and voting preferences of African populations.”

In an age of information war the last point of action is of course also one of the most dangerous dimensions. Some speculate that the one of the reasons for the US adopting this law is due to lacklustre African support for UN votes, aimed at condemning and isolating Russia. 

Fabricius draws attention to another dimension of the bill, that potentially opens the door to punitive actions taken against African states that maintain active economic and trade, as well as diplomatic/political relations with Russia. He argues: 

“But what about the bill’s intention to thwart Russian efforts to “invest in, engage, or otherwise control strategic sectors in Africa, such as mining and other forms of natural resource extraction and exploitation, military basing and other security cooperation agreements, and information and communications technology”? Does that mean any African country where a Russian company invests will fall foul of this legislation? Or will it only apply to investments that advance Putin’s supposedly nefarious ambitions?”

Here he refers to two South African examples: 

  1. The United Manganese of Kalahari mine in South Africa, owned by Viktor Vekselberg — but with 22% held by the ruling African National Congress’s (ANC) own corporation, Chancellor House;
  2. A JV between African Rainbow Minerals — owned by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s brother-in-law Patrice Motsepe — with Russia’s Norilsk Nickel in the potentially lucrative Nkomati nickel mine.


Peter Fabricius. 2022. US bill to counter ‘malign’ Russian activities in Africa could see continent caught in crossfire. 20 May, 2022. 

Africa Intelligence. 2022. Egypt and CAR send delegations to Saint Petersburg economic forum. Africa Intelligence. 16 March, 2022.,109792657-art 

Richard S Dunn. 2022. New Bill That Passed House Reinvokes Old Russian Bogeyman as Pretext For More U.S. Intervention in Africa. 14 June, 2022.

Chevon Booysen. 2022. SCA sends government’s tobacco ban up in smoke. IOL. 

Anastasi Mokgobu. 2022. Government’s cigarette ban was unconstitutional, rules SCA. Jacaranda FM.