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Friday, April 12, 2024

3D Headsets for Our Phones.

 A major transition in Russian operations in Africa appears to have been completed without any adverse impact on Russian interests on the continent.  Yevgeny Prigozhin was assassinated and his Wagner Group has apparently been successfully taken over by the Russian establishment.  Today’s leader is thought to be General Andrey Averyanov,  If true, this is an extremely important net gain for Putin, because it will presumably make it much easier to coordinate the group’s activities with line military and diplomatic activities.  According to BBC, Averyenov has recently spent time in Africa shoring up the group’s relationships with a number of West African nations where it is active, including Niger, where the new leaders of that country have kicked out the last American military anywhere in West Africa, and are replacing it with Wagner 2.0.  Interestingly, the newly arrived Russian para-military group has brought with it state-of-the-art anti-aircraft capabilities.  In as much as the Islamist rebels that are so active in West Africa do not presently have aircraft, the speculation is that the first order of business for Wagner 2.0 is to protect the coup from European, American and West African military action rather than from Islamist terrorists.

Why is Russia so interested in West Africa?  Those that know more about the region than do I, tell us that it is all about access to natural resources.  Gold is the most dramatic, but uranium might be the most important.  France, for instance, is heavily dependent on West African uranium for its nuclear power.  Russian defacto control of West African uranium might well play an important part in relations between Paris and Moscow at some point in the future.  I do not pretend to be very smart about Africa, but it would appear to me that Russian influence in the region has grown and ours shrunk.  Niger was the last of the countries in that region that was cooperating with us in international affairs and we are now bereft of even that paltry symbol of support.  Meanwhile, Islamist paramilitary groups are continuing to destroy traditional societies throughout the region.

If we stand back a bit and look at the region as a whole from the point of view of the inhabitants, it is in extremely bad shape.  The relationship between Africa and Europe is not unlike the relationship between South America and North America.  We tend to be mesmerized by the details, making it easier for our small minds to ignore the big picture.  Today, a few of us are worried about Niger while most of us have never heard of the place, and care less about Putin’s successful capture of the Wagner Group.  Yet, we are being asked to select our next president who will have to deal with a world that is being shaped by forces that are contrary to our best interests.  We intend to select our next president based on what the candidates tell us they plan to do about the minutia surrounding our daily lives.  Moscow will mine West African gold while we continue to try to get the price of gas at the pump down by building more windmills.  We consider ourselves to be the most enlightened society ever to grace the earth and honestly believe that we are a world leader.  I am optimistic!  I am absolutely certain that we will undoubtably succeed in developing 3D headsets for our phones in the not too distant future so that we can better enjoy our make-believe world.

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