Even if Beijing deepens its material interests on the continent, it can still be prevented from expanding its political clout. And it must move its coveted supplies of energy and other resources from Africa through waters currently controlled by the U.S. and Indian navies, reinforced by other allies being pulled into a global alignment to contain China’s ambitions. An asymmetrical strategy that supports local opposition to Beijing’s imperialism and authoritarianism while controlling the commercial/logistical sea routes that link China and Africa is a cost-effective approach to protecting American security interests in line with African development interests.
William R. Hawkins is a former economics professor who served on the staff of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee
Brenda J. Ponsford is a former marketing professor and business school dean who has worked in China.