The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was created last February to coordinate U.S. military activities on the continent; Africa had previously been the shared responsibility of the European, Central, and Pacific commands. Last December 21, AFRICOM added a blog to its website to better communicate its mission. According to the initial blog post from General William Kip Ward, AFRICOM's commander:
As we build U.S. Africa Command, we want to talk to people about what the U.S. military is doing in Africa. Just as importantly, I want everyone on the staff to also listen and learn. So we have launched a new forum called AFRICOM Dialogue as a way for members of the Africa Command staff to describe what we're doing.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for transparency and dialogue. But it struck me... aside from the Nigerian scammers who relentlessly pound away at my inbox, how many Africans actually have Internet access? Turns out, not that many—about 4 percent.
So, I wish AFRICOM all the best with its blog, but I suspect that most of its earnest declarations of "mutual trust, respect, and confidence" in its African partners will go unnoticed by ... well, almost everyone that counts.
At least one African, though, has already chimed in: "With all due respect, AFRICOM is not needed whatsoever in Nigeria or anywhere else in the West African Sub-sahara," wrote "Olaopin in Unspecified." Good luck, AFRICOM.