Former French military officials sign threatening letter to the federal government
On the 21st of April, twenty former generals and over 1,500 members of the military, police, and gendarmerie signed an open letter asking France’s leaders to eradicate threats and safeguard the nation/ In the letter,they added that failure to do so may call for a military uprising and civil war.
Security has always been a major geopolitical issue and one that affects the supply chain globally. Civil unrest or a full-blown military takeover can practically slow down or affect the movement of goods and services along straits and global road networks.
In response to this letter President Emmanuel Macron’s government, through Defense Minister Florence Parly, called the letter irresponsible. She also condemned the politicization of the armed forces. This situation is one we must critically monitor because France has a history of military intervention. If the situation escalates with active members of the military taking over. There are many repercussions for the country’s economy and the global supply chain.
The economy of France is highly developed and free-market-oriented. It is the world’s seventh-largest economy by 2020 nominal figures and the tenth-largest economy by PPP. As of September 30, 2020, it is the 3rd largest economy of Europe, after the economy of Germany and the United Kingdom. France is also a major exporter of electrical equipment, the largest producer of sugar beets, and the second-largest producer of cheese and wine in the world.
A disruption in its economy is sure to affect many manufacturers and global supply chains around the world. Instead of waiting till disruptions come, procurement managers who rely on produce from France and supply chain professionals must begin to seek alternative ways to get their raw materials in the case of any eventuality.
Supply chain professionals must be able to predict and reduce the effect of disruptions on our organization’s productivity and profitability.
China is gaining military ground in Africa.
I have spoken about how China is gaining economic ground in several African countries but offering loans, building infrastructure, and offering debt. As if that is not enough, it is also attempting to gain military ground in many African countries.
Currently, China is putting the finishing touches on a dock in the East African nation of Djibouti that is large enough to host its nuclear submarines and aircraft carrier. It’s not the only location in Africa where China is trying to gain a military advantage, it just happens to be the one down the road from an American base.
In response to this, the US Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Mark Kelly, an Arizona Democrat, said that “Depending on what forces and what systems they’re putting in place, it puts our assets, including merchant fleet and shipping lanes and the ability for us to move our naval forces across the globe, it puts those at risk,” the 25-year Navy veteran explained.
China’s latest big military move in Africa is a goal to gain a military port on Africa’s Atlantic coast. Such a naval base would not be for “gas and groceries,” Townsend said, but for Chinese warships to rearm with munitions and repair naval vessels.
“They have placed bets from Mauritania in the north to Namibia in the south and many countries in between,” Townsend told Kelly in Thursday’s open session. “This is the most significant threat, I think, from China, would be to gain a militarily useful naval facility on the Atlantic coast of Africa.” It may not be immediately possible for the US to gain ground in Africa. However, America can use its influence to begin to build back. Many of the economic investments China has provided in Africa have a lot of strings attached. From devaluing the currency to owning ports if they fail to pay, and hijacking the country’s economy in the name of trying to provide intercontinental trade, the list is endless.
The best way America can win back Africa’s trust is by winning their hearts and minds. Partnering provides an alternative that cannot because China is exploitative. However, America can continue with what it did in Namibia and Botswana. Aids will not help Africa but partnering with them and creating opportunities to help Africa develop is how the US. can gain grounds. China has sucked up many resources in Africa and done several illegal mining and controlling rare metals, and America has a lot to do to cover ground. America can also push the ideals of freedom and democracy in Africa.
Is America doing all it takes to remain the world’s superpower?
Joe Biden’s defense budget proposal lists stopping China as a top priority. While this is great, I believe that there needs to be more than an increase in the military-approved budget to stop China’s aggressive efforts to unseat the U.S at the head of global power.
Presently, China’s military growth has outpaced that of the U.S. nearly every year for the past decade. While this year’s increase is less than 2 percent over this year’s allocation, which already is spread too thinly over multiple strategic priorities. China’s military buildup reflects an increasingly aggressive military posture. The PRC’s hawkish conduct was recently confirmed by Adm. Philip Davidson, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, in testimony before members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Regarding China’s expanding military footprint in Asia, Davidson said, “I worry that they’re accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules-based international order, which they’ve long said that they want to do by 2050. I’m worried about them moving that target closer.”
This is an urgent issue; the economic and military gaps between China and the United States are narrowing. China already outproduces the United States and is on track to become the world’s largest economy within the next few years. Tossing a few more dollars into the Defense Department budget won’t be enough to meet that challenge.
When you are about to steer a great nation’s army in a different direction, several things happen, and it does not happen overnight. America is now in a power competition between China, Russia, and the rest of the world. Because we have been so focused on South West Asia and the Middle East where the fight there is over, China has taken a great foothold in this power competition.
Although the metrics state that China is closing in on America’s greatness, I will say not so fast. Both economically and in military capabilities. People believe that expansion of the fleet will make China better, but it is not automatic. The great nation competition is an example.
Still, America has to do better. First, we cannot ignore the obvious of increasing the military budget to improve the military infrastructure both at a strategic level, operational and tactical level. We also have to go back to the basics of what made us great in the first place. This will include a lot of training and restructuring. The pentagon in itself has to reshuffle. The way we assess also has to change. We have to incorporate new military occupational specialties, such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, and the Internet of things. These people will now become combat enablers.
I am not worried about our ability to make equipment but our ability to move and restructure the force to align with what is going on. The military supply chain also has to be wire tight, and they have set the ball rolling by looking into our reliance on foreign support. If it is addressed, we will be in shape to continue to lead the world in military and security assistance.
The US, Namibia, and Botswana Advance a Clean Energy Future through “Mega Solar”
The US has signed a memorandum of intent to build a solar complex of up to 5GW in Botswana and Namibia. This happened during the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate to catalyze global ambition to address the climate crisis.
According to the US embassy in Namibia, Mega Solar is a partnership between the Governments of Namibia and Botswana, and others, which is expected to generate up to five gigawatts of solar power and to avoid an estimated 6.5 million tons of CO2 annually – the equivalent of taking almost 1.5 million cars off the road.
If the “Mega Solar” project is realized, it could be one of the largest in the world. The initial goal is to provide additional power using both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies to cater to local demand.
I agree with Lisa Johnson, US. Ambassador to Namibia who said that “this could transform Namibia and Botswana into two of the globe’s most significant producers of solar power, enough to begin exporting renewable energy to the southern Africa region.”’